QuickDrain enters center point-drain market with trending finish options.
As an extension of the QuickDrain USA total shower solution, aimed to reimagine how drains should look and perform, the company recently launched its new SquareDrain point drain. Plumbing & Mechanical attended the virtual product launch event in April. Following the event, we interviewed Oatey Co.’s Katherine Lehtinen, president of brand and digital marketing, and Matt Valore, technical applications manager, to discuss the new products applications and how it fills a need in this booming market. The conversation can also be found on BNP Media’s Plumbing Group’s And So it Flows podcast.
PM: How do QuickDrain’s new finish options fill a need in the market?
KL: The brushed and polished stainless steel are no longer major trends in the bath and kitchen. We see consumer demand transitioning to different finishes options — polished gold, rose gold or matte black for example — and in this competitive space, we took this opportunity to secure more jobs by creating a larger variety in our finished offerings. We can now compete and win over jobs where the customer wants a specific design aesthetic.
PM: What is the SquareDrain point drain and what applications is it best for?
MV: The U.S. market is really accustomed to the center point shower drains, while the linear drains are becoming extremely popular in the European market. We have the linear drain market — we have the wall-to-wall drains and linear shower drains already — so in order to be competitive and listen to the market, we created the SquareDrain. Much of the time when we’re going into large-scale projects, or even homeowners’ projects, the customers are mainly focused on center point drains.
From an installation standpoint, the SquareDrain is very contractor-friendly. The reason we designed the SquareDrain this way is that it allows the plumber to come on the job and do his work, and then the tile person can put the SquareDrain in himself without having to overlap subcontractors. Every other drain on the market requires the plumber to be there when the shower system is installed. Well, he doesn’t want to be there — he needs to be onto the next job — and this ends up costing the customer more money.
KL: Additionally, with the SquareDrain’s four-, five- and six-inch offerings, it allows for use with larger format tiles, which is a huge design trend we’re seeing right now in the bathroom.
PM: Is the SquareDrain best for new construction, retrofit or both? Why?
MV: We have kits for everything. Retrofit kits work if someone was to pull out an old mortar baton and have that two-piece glamp collar drain base in the space, they can go ahead and use this new system in that case. It also works great for new construction because plumbers can come in at the rough to mount the drain base to the floor and they don’t have to come back and make the joint until it’s time to trim out the shower, saw the toilets and finish the job. Therefore, it’s ideal for both retrofit and new construction.
KL: One of the things that sets us apart from competition is our pre-sloped PET pan. The fact that the plumber doesn’t have to wait for the mortar bed to dry for a day or two makes our system quicker to install. Contractors can go from already pre-installing that four-way compound slope, which is kind of a tricky thing to do anyway, to using a two-piece PET pan that you just lay down.
PM: How do these products help with the growing demand for hygienic spaces?
MV: The drain bodies themselves are made of three or four stainless steel, so they will not grow bacteria. The fact that everything is pre-pitched means you won’t have water trapped underneath tile. In addition, the drain flange allows the water to evacuate the shower system through the weep-hole features that are in the middle of the drain. SquareDrain can definitely be used in healthcare, hospitality and residential, and it’s going to be sanitary.
Another important thing to note is these pan systems are made of 100% recycled water bottles, which is awesome for LEED certifications on projects. One shower saves about 350 water bottles from going into a landfill.
PM: What key aspects of the SquareDrain are most beneficial for the contractor?
MV: As we mentioned earlier, the plumbing contractor often doesn’t play well with the tile contractor. If plumbers push their GCs to use this product, they are going to install the drain base and then hand the GC a box that has everything that they’ll need — waterproofing, the flange, an adapter, etc. The job will save money by not having to have that plumber come back for a second trip and the plumber saves time as well.
PM: How has QuickDrain been adapting to the supply chain disruption caused by COVID-19?
KL: A large portion of our business is more in the commercial space — hospitality and health care, which by nature have longer lead times. So we’re not necessarily under the pressure to ship within three days. However, with the introduction of SquareDrain, branching more into the residential side, we’ve had to prepare the business to adapt quicker to changing market needs.
PM: What growth opportunity do you see in this space?
KL: We definitely expect the opportunity to secure more jobs within the commercial space. There were times where we would lose an opportunity because we didn’t have that center point drain that many bigger hotels still like to use. Now we can offer the SquareDrain in those cases as well as turn some of their tub to shower conversions over.
This launch gives us the ability to have the right offering for any job. With the addition of all the new finishes, now we can match some of the design trends that are happening in both the commercial and residential markets. In short, we’re able to become more competitive in our space, and that’s a really big win for us.