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Unread 06-08-2021, 07:37 PM   #1
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Shower drain placement

Usually the tiling that I do is shower walls and bathroom floors. The home renovators I work with usually want plastic pans. One of my next projects is for a house my wife and I will be living in. I want to do a mud pan in a 34 x 60" space with Schluter Kerdi membrane on the pan and 1/2" Kerdi board on the walls. My question is where to put the drain. I can't put it right in the center as some duct work is right there under the floor. I would rather not be standing on it while in the shower, so is there an optimal placement? It seems to me if I have it about 12" from the showerhead wall it will have enough space for the correct pitch and I wouldn't be stepping on it.
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Unread 06-09-2021, 12:16 PM   #2
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Welcome, Tom,

One of the often touted advantages of a mud pan is being able to accommodate pretty much any drain location you might want. Aesthetically speaking most folks like the drain to be centered but sometimes that just isn't going to happen.

Given the size of the shower, inability to center the drain, and the desire to avoid having the drain under foot while showering I'd consider moving it away from the showerhead wall, and by as little as possible.

You'll want the perimeter of your mud bed to be level so that the bottom edge of the bottom row of wall tile is also level. You'll also want your mud bed sloped 1/4" (min) per foot to the drain from the farthest corner. When the drain is centered, and maintaining a level mud bed perimeter, the slope is the same left and right, fore and aft (kinda, anyway because the shower pan is really shaped like a shallow bowl).

Once you move the drain away from center the slope on the shorter end will increase if you maintain the level perimeter. IOW; given your 5' long shower, if you place your drain 1 foot from the showerhead wall, you'll need approximately 1" of slope (1/4" X 4') to the drain. If you maintain the pan's level perimeter you have to slope the 1 foot of length at the showerhead end an entire inch - making for a very steep slope on that end.

So it seems to me that moving it to the other side of the offending joist would be the way to go.
If I recall correctly my memory is excellent, but my ability to access it is intermittent.
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Unread 06-09-2021, 06:16 PM   #3
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Thanks Dan. I have only done one mud pan so your reply is very helpful. I can't move one joist over or the shower would be too wide. I could think about centering it lengthwise in the available space, or put it at the front but a little farther than a foot, maybe 16 inches. The mud pan I did at our current home has the drain in the center of the 5 feet length and even though I'm stepping on it it's not too noticeable.
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