The Origin of Linear Drains

Linear drains are continuing to become more and more popular in elevated bathroom and shower designs, but ever wonder where the idea of linear drains came from in the first place? Linear shower drains originated from the trench drain. You know those long drains you see running along pavement – maybe at the airport, a fire station, a parking lot, or a pool deck? Yes, that is a trench drain.                                                                                                            

Source: Google Images

So what exactly are trench drains? The technical explanation – A trench drain (also channel drain, line drain, slot drain, linear drain or strip drain) is a specific type of floor drain containing a dominant trough- or channel-shaped body. It is used for the rapid evacuation of surface water or for the containment of utility lines or chemical spills. In layman’s terms – the channel design of a trench drain allows for the drain to be installed flush with adjoining surfaces. The seamless surface allows for vehicles to travel over the drains without interruption (think bump in the road from a storm drain). The design also effectively and efficiently processes the maximum amount of water [or other liquids] from surrounding surfaces. 

In the images above you will see trench drains used in outdoor applications – including a railroad platform, a shipping yard,  and a utility field – as well as indoor applications in two different types of factories. The durability of trench drains is also important to note. They offer much higher loading capacities purposely designed to replace traditional drainage options that may collapse under heavy vehicles such as military convoys, airplanes, firetrucks, construction vehicles and other large trucks. 

After a few tweaks and refined finishes, trench drains were brought inside in residential and commercial settings alike. Australia and Europe were certainly ahead of the curve with refining this design technology for residential settings. Linear shower drains have been available in the markets overseas for some time now. However, it was not until 2007 that we really saw linear shower drains available here, in the US market.

Southern Living Idea House Abercorn Place, GA – 2010

Often linear drains are selected solely for aesthetics. Linear drains compliment shower designs with all different tile and flooring options – especially large format tiles – replacing an unsightly round strainer drain. Linear drains also provide other benefits such as maximizing shower safety with better drainage capabilities and the ability to create curbless showers. Just as with trench drains on roadways, linear drains in showers allow for higher loading capacities which is important for providing a safe and effective solution for wheelchair-bound customers and/or patients in residential, hospitality and healthcare settings. Other benefits of evolving the design technology of trench drains include the ability to create universal design bathrooms & wet rooms as well as bathrooms designed for aging in place. For more information on aging in place gracefully, check out our blog post here. For more information on the benefits of linear drains, stay tuned for next week’s blog post!

Pretty cool to see the evolution of design and the creation of the linear drain, don’t you think? For more information on LUXE Linear Drains visit our website –