What Do I Do if My Shower Doesn't Have a Trap on It?


A shower drain, just like any household drain, needs a trap to prevent sewer gas from backing up into the house. If your shower does not have a trap, one will need to be installed to meet plumbing code and prevent odor problems. The installation process varies depending on the accessibility of your shower drain.

Gaining Access Without a Basement

  • If your home does not have a basement that would provide easy access to your shower drain, you will have to find an alternative way to gain access. If your bathroom shower shares a wall with a closet or pantry in an adjoining room, consider making a few small drill holes to see if the drain might be accessible through the wall. Start with a small hole and peer in using a flashlight before removing too much drywall or plaster.

Gaining Access With a Basement

  • If your home has a basement and the shower in which you need to install a drain trap is on the first floor, you are in luck. Access to the drain should be comparatively easy. Trace the household drain line from where it attaches to the sewer pipe to your shower drain. The drain pipe will likely be a straight pipe down from the shower, an elbow and a line running to the household drain. The pipe coming straight down from the drain will need to be cut and the trap installed there, with the installation varying based on pipe material.

PVC Pipe

  • If your drain pipe and drain line is PVC, you will need to cut your existing drain line above the elbow that ties into the horizontal drain line. Use a hacksaw or PVC saw to make as clean a cut as you can, and sand off any burrs using sandpaper. PVC drain traps can be purchased at any home improvement store, and you will need PVC cement to bond the trap to the vertical and horizontal drain lines. Ensure the trap is oriented properly and dry fit the trap before cementing, as the two pieces will quickly bond.

Metal Pipe

  • If your drain line is metal, copper or steel, you will need to cut the line and either solder in a metal drain trap or tie on a PVC trap and drain line using a rubber coupler. The latter solution is easier, and will begin the process of switching over your drain lines to PVC, which is typically more durable and has a longer lifespan than metal. Rubber couplers join PVC to copper, steel, or iron pipe by using a round rubber tube that slips over each piece of pipe and two hose clamps that hold the rubber firm against the PVC and metal.

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