Can You Use a Basement Floor Drain for a Shower?

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When adding a new shower in a basement area sometime people wonder if they should use a basement floor drain for a shower? Do basement floor drains work for showers?

Key Takeaways
  • It is most often not suitable to use a basement floor drain for a shower. Drains are typically used intermittently in basements. As a result, they cannot handle even a moderate flow of water and will overflow.
  • The drain can possibly be made to work as a shower drain if it is connected to an existing sewer line, with a P-Trap, and all the waterproofing and tiling is done in the correct manner for a shower.
  • You should check with your local building code to see if you are allowed to do this.

Do Basement Floor Drains Work for Showers?

If you have a traditional drain, installed with a P-trap, attached to an existing sewer line, there are ways you can make the basement floor drain work for a shower. 

Some experts do not recommend this as the basement floor drain is often not designed to handle a high-water flow. Flowing more quality water in the basement floor drain may result in overflowing and water damage issues.

Consideration While Installing a Shower Drain in a Basement

Before you even begin to investigate what is required of you, it may seem like a challenging task to construct a shower drain in the basement. Shower drain installation is important to get right.

It is important to remember a few things when installing plumbing fixtures in what may be the lowest part of your house:


Gravity is responsible for sending water down your main sewer line from upstairs drain pipes. Basement drain pipes are related to your main sewer lines. To ensure proper drainage, you need to have graded your drain pipes properly.


If you want to install a new shower drain in your basement, you must break up and move the concrete floor around the main sewer pipes. Making way for a new pipe to attached to the existing system.

Digging trenches is not easy. If you damage the existing pipes or the concrete foundation it will be a big job to repair.

The Trap

To set up a P-trap, you will need an adequate amount of space. It is the shorter pipe beneath sinks and showers that has a U-shape. 

In this way, an array of fragile materials, such as hair, sediment, and other valuables, will not get into the drain so far as to form inaccessible clogs.

Similarly, traps protect against sewer gas emissions as well. Digging deeper is necessary to accommodate this pipe.


Your plumbing system will also have vents, as it makes sense. If you plan to install a plumbing system in your basement, you will have to consider the ventilation requirements. 

Even if you are planning to install a new shower, you will need to check plumbing fixtures, basement toilets, sinks, etc.


It is often a question of careful planning that allows us to accomplish this task. A plumber may also be able to help. There are typically two-inch drains in showers, but if you run into a three-inch drain, you’ll need to get the right fixtures.

In large shower drains, there is less likelihood of overflowing.

Drain bodies fit over 2-inch drain pipes; 3-inch drains fit inside them. If you have three-inch drains in your house, you’ll benefit from having on hand a box of size-adjustable drains.

As you’re trying to fit the connected drain body over the floor pipe, you have extra room to maneuver after removing the gasket before setting up the shower base. So, proper planning is also required before installing a shower drain. 

In many locations local planning permission will be required for installing a new shower, legally. Check with your local town planners if this is a concern for you.