DIY Network

Shower Drain Rough-In

Host Amy Matthews demonstrates how to turn a pipe in a gravel bed into a usable shower drain.

More in Plumbing

  • Time

    Under Half Day

  • Price Range

    $100 - $250

  • Difficulty

    Moderate to Hard


Step 1: Remove the Rock Fill

Note: Building codes vary regarding shower drain requirements. Make sure to check local codes before getting started.

Remove the fill rock from the hole and use a PVC saw to cut the cap from the PVC stub installed by the plumber.

The rough-in already included a P-trap, so Amy just needed to create a simple drain. Use a PVC saw to cut the appropriate lengths of PVC pipe and dry-fit the parts; the final assembly should bring the drain line to the center of the floor opening, with the bottom of the drain flange level with the existing concrete floor.

Step 2: Assemble PVC Joints

Use a marker to draw lines across the PVC joints; these marks will make it easier to line up the parts quickly and easily during gluing.

Take apart the assembly and apply PVC cleaner to the appropriate pipe surfaces.

Apply PVC cement to the joints and assemble, lining up the reference marks. Work on one joint at a time, holding the pieces together for several moments after gluing to keep the chemical reaction from forcing them apart.

Step 3: Refill the Hole

Refill the hole with rock to support the new plumbing. Check to make sure the drain stays level.

Use a drill with a paddle bit to mix a bucket of quick-setting concrete to fill the remainder of the space.

Step 4: Spread the Concrete

Cover the drain with painter's tape to protect it, then pour concrete into the hole (Image 1). Use a trowel to spread the concrete, tamping it and smoothing it over the surface (Image 2).

Allow the concrete to dry according to the manufacturer's instructions before creating the concrete shower base. Amy and Andy used a concrete mix that dries in 30 minutes.

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