How to Install a Shower Drain & Waste Pipe

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Shower drains carry dirty water away from the shower pan and into the waste pipe.
Shower drains carry dirty water away from the shower pan and into the waste pipe. (Image: Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Installling a shower drain and waste pipe is a crucial part of constructing a new bathroom shower: The shower drain and waste pipe carry waste water away from the shower pan, helping to prevent unwanted odors in the home. There are several types of shower drains available; PVC solvent-weld shower drains and drainage piping are popular choices for many home-building and plumbing contractors. Homeowners with little to no plumbing or building experience may find that installing a shower drain and waste piping can be very challenging and may be best left to a licensed professional plumber to install.

Things You'll Need

  • 2-inch PVC shower drain
  • Flat-head screwdriver
  • Silicone sealant
  • Slip-nut wrench
  • PVC wye (Y) fitting
  • Marker
  • PVC handsaw or reciprocating saw
  • PVC primer
  • PVC cement
  • Torpedo level
  • Tape measure
  • 2-inch PVC pipe
  • 2-inch PVC all-glue P-trap
  • Offset PVC fittings as needed

Pry the shower strainer off the shower drain body with a flat-head screwdriver or similar tool.

Squeeze a bead of silicone sealant onto the underside lip of the shower drain body.

Insert the shower drain body into the shower pan drain hole while applying slight downward pressure so the silicone bonds to the drain hole.

Slide the shower drain rubber gasket onto the shower drain body, followed by the cardboard/paper gasket.

Screw the locking nut onto the shower drain body threads and tighten with a slip-nut wrench.

Locate horizontal drainage waste piping in close proximity to the shower drain. Hold a PVC wye fitting (it's Y-shaped) up to the horizontal piping and mark where the wye hubs end on the piping with a marker.

Cut the section of marked waste piping out on both marks with a PVC handsaw or a reciprocating saw.

Prime both ends of the waste piping and the inside of the wye hubs with purple PVC primer, also called cleaner. Apply PVC cement to both ends of the waste piping and the inside of the wye hubs.

Push the wye onto one end of the waste piping, pull the other end of the waste piping rearward and slide the piping into the other end of the PVC wye fitting. Grade the wye away from the shower pan base with a torpedo level so wastewater is encouraged to flow away.

Measure from the PVC wye to the center of the shower drain with a tape measure. You may need offset PVC fittings, such as 90 degree or 45 degree elbow fittings, to clear obstacles in the piping's path; include the curves of these fittings in your measurement, if included.

Transfer the measurement from the previous step to a length of 2-inch PVC pipe and cut the length of piping with a PVC handsaw.

Support the 2-inch waste piping with plumber's PVC J-hook support hangers driven into the joists above with a hammer every 4 feet. The J-hook support hangers come from the manufacturer with the nails already embedded into the J-hooks.

Measure from the PVC shower drain hub to the center of the 2-inch drain waste piping, then measure and cut this length of 2-inch PVC pipe. Apply PVC prime and PVC cement to one end of the piping and the inside of the shower drain hub, then push the piping into the shower drain hub.

Fit a 2-inch PVC all-glue P-trap to the shower drain piping without any primer or glue; rotate the P-trap until the street 90-degree elbow lines up with the 2-inch drain waste piping. The P-trap is two pieces: A U-shaped piece fitted to a shorter, 90 degree bend called a street elbow, or a street 90. For this step you want the pieces temporarily fitted together fully with no glue.

Mark the drain waste piping where the hub of the street 90 degree elbow meets the waste piping, then cut the waste drain piping with the PVC handsaw. Prime the end of the shower drain piping, the waste drain piping, the male end of the street 90 elbow and the inside hubs of the U-bend.

Apply PVC cement to the end of the 2-inch drain waste piping and the inside hub of the street 90 elbow; slide the street 90 onto the drain waste piping and level the street 90 with a torpedo level. Apply PVC cement to the inside hubs of the U-bend, the male end of the street 90 and the end of the shower drain piping.

Push the U-bend up onto the street 90 and the shower drain piping simultaneously; wrap each solvent joint with PVC cement for a leak-proof shower drain and waste piping installation.

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