Story at a glance:
- Infinity Drain solutions offer a truly barrier-free bathroom design.
- A linear drain is built into the floor of the shower and can be anywhere along the channel length.
- These solutions allow architects to use materials that may not otherwise fit into a center drain shower enclosure.
Since 2007 Infinity Drain has been designing decorative shower drains for barrier-free bathrooms.
“The barrier-free shower—also referred to as the walk-in shower, zero-threshold shower, or curbless shower—is a growing trend in bathroom design,” says Barbara Kratus-Stark, sales and marketing director for Infinity Drain.
What distinguishes this type of shower from another is it has no obstacle at the threshold to step or roll over. Kratus-Stark says barrier-free bathroom design is often achieved with a linear drain system and single-slope floor pitch. A linear drain is a channel or trench built into the floor of the shower. It collects the water and delivers it to the drain outlet, which can be anywhere along the channel length.
“With the floor sloped in one direction, the water is aided by gravity and rushes to the far edge of the space, where it is then easily processed,” she says.
We talked to the Infinity Drain team about some of the reasons why designers should consider linear drains for their next projects.
1. Truly Barrier-Free
With no curb or barrier obstructing the entrance to the shower, you make for a more accessible bathroom for people of all ages and capabilities while removing the trip hazard. Solutions like the Site Sizable Low Profile Linear Drain have a lower profile that helps minimize the floor height needed to achieve a curbless entry.
“When the shower flooring material must accommodate a drain and four-way pitch, architects will often specify smaller tile or cut large-format tile on a diagonal and then pie-piece it together around the drain,” Kratus-Stark says. “When the shower floor slopes uniformly in one direction, as it does in a barrier-free application, the limitations on tile size and slab material are eliminated. Large-format tiles, stone slabs, or any solid-surface material can be used without being compromised or broken down into smaller pieces.”
2. More Material Options
Kratus-Stark says barrier-free bathrooms enable architects to use materials that didn’t fit into a conventional center drain shower enclosure. The removal of physical boundaries at the shower eliminates the compartmentalization that before made the bathroom space feel smaller and broken up.
“The move from a shower compartment with a standard center drain to a barrier-free shower with a linear drain affects the type of flooring that can be specified in the bathroom. The barrier-free solution offers architects the opportunity to use higher-end materials often found in ultra-modern interiors and five-star spas,” she says.
3. Make the Bathroom Look Bigger
And instead of having a bathroom broken up into distinct areas, the barrier-free shower creates a seamless transition between the shower space and the rest of the bathroom.
This makes the entire bathroom feel larger, even though the total square footage of the space has not changed.
4. Prolong Your Bathroom’s Life
Linear drains are a long-term solution because you can make the entire bathroom waterproof and more durable. Plus, the barrier-free aspect means owners can age in place.
Kratus-Stark says it’s a no-brainer when you compare it to using cheaper materials that aren’t waterproof, aren’t long-lasting, and may require more maintenance later on.
5. Made Sustainably
Infinity Drain uses locally sourced and manufactured products with 91.2% recycled content and emphasizes energy-efficient improvements to their New York-based factory, including a new PVC roof and LED lighting. Their CLEARCLAD e-coating process creates a closed loop, which reclaims nearly 100% of the water used in its low-VOC finishes.
“Infinity Drain’s priority is to be a sustainable provider of decorative drains,” says Infinity Drain President Jonathan Brill. “We have committed to reduce our impact on the environment as well as to enhance the overall wellness of our clients, employees, and trade professionals.”
6. Easy to Clean and Maintain
Linear drains are as easy to maintain, Kratus-Stark says.
The drains come with a hair basket and tool to pull out the grate for easy access, and water drains more efficiently—leading to less mishaps in the bath and less mildew to clean, she says. You can also switch out the linear drain decorative grate to a different style or a tile insert frame to update the look of your shower.