Showers started out with simple spray heads elevated over bathtubs. They evolved into stand-alone units referred to as shower stalls.
Custom showers with tiled walls and floors that have center drains are also popular in new construction and remodeling projects.
The problem of keeping water in the shower area used to involve a physical barrier at the entrance of the shower that users had to step over. That has all changed with roll-in drains.[margin10]
Roll-in shower drains have changed the way showers are built. They are also incorrectly known as “trench drains.” These specialized drains make the transition from regular bathroom floors into shower areas of the same height. There is no longer any need for even a slight step up or step down into shower areas.
Once the overall floor plan is settle on, the roll-in shower design begins with precast shower pans or vinyl and thin-set mortar bases overlaid with tile. A special drain channel is constructed at one edge of showers that spans their entire width. Shower bases are solidly constructed, becoming integral parts of the structural components of the building. In other words, these shower floors feel completely solid underfoot unlike weaker shower stalls and inferior fiberglass bathtubs.
How The Drain Works
Roll-in drains have their water channels covered with decorative metal drain covers that are fabricated to match any design or decor. They can be stepped on without any problems, and shower chairs and wheelchairs easily roll over them. Plus, they continue to look good and function perfectly year after year. The narrow channel captures all of the water from showers, which prevents water from migrating out onto the rest of the bathroom floor surface.
Transition from shower floors to bathroom floors is even. There are no bumps or barriers that a person must step up on or that a wheelchair must roll over. The transitions are visually and functionally smooth from one surface to the next. These specialized shower drain channels do not require any special maintenance. Unlike standard round or square shower drains that can inadvertently be blocked by a person’s feet or discarded washcloths, roll-in drains cannot. This assures no floor flooding even though shower floors are even with bathroom floor surfaces.
More Design Options with Roll-In Drains
Spacious open roll-in showers can now be custom built into bathrooms that are even with the level of the surrounding floor surface. They are fully handicap accessible, yet they are perfectly suitable for non-handicap use as well. The channel drains can be installed at the opening, back or side walls of showers, depending on the owner’s preference or need. All that is involved in changing the location of the drain is the initial slope of the shower floor when it is built.
Roll-in drains have a greater surface area to capture water flow than standard round or square shower drains. No water backs up or puddles in shower areas, even if high-flow shower heads are installed. The roll-in drain channels are narrow and aesthetically pleasant. However, they are long, which makes them capable of draining larger volumes of water more quickly and efficiently than standard bathroom shower drains.
Better Looking Too
Roll-in drains do not look like their unsightly commercial equivalents. The main differences are the size of the channel and the decorative covers that are available in many different finishes and colors. They are as durable and long lasting as standard shower drains, and they do not require any additional maintenance over standard shower drains. They keep shower water from reaching bathroom floors, and they also negate the need for barriers or sunken shower floors, which makes continuous uninterrupted floor surface in bathrooms for universal design and designing a mother in-law suite for in-home care, now possible.
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