What Are Shower Trays?

The floor of the shower is referred to in the bathroom industry as a shower tray, and is also sometimes known as a shower base, shower pan and even a shower receptor.  Shower trays come in two basic types – hand tiled shower trays, and what are known as prefabricated shower trays. 

Hand tiled shower trays are, as is implied by their name, shower trays which are tiled literally by hand.  Prefabricated shower trays, on the other hand, are constructed from hard acrylic polymer, which is one of the most durable polymers and is thus ideal for being used in shower cubicles.  Another factor which makes this hard acrylic polymer particularly good for making prefabricated shower trays is that it can be effectively moulded into any size or shape a shower cubicle requires, and will also come in most any colour the homeowner could require.  Thus whatever style or design of bathroom the homeowner wishes to have, a prefabricated shower tray will most likely be able to accommodate it.  

Prefabricated shower trays are by far the most used and popular, both in the United Kingdom and abroad, being available in almost every country throughout the entire world.  Another key aspect which makes prefabricated shower trays so popular among consumers is the sheer ease with which they can be installed; they come complete with drainage holes which can be easily rearranged to suit almost any bathroom or shower design, and are in most cases far more cost effective than hand tiled shower trays that a craftsperson needs to create by hand. 


Choosing a Shower Tray

The shower tray is an important component of a standing shower enclosure since it prevents water from escaping and damaging the other items in your bathroom.  It is important that the shower tray you select and install fits well with your choice of shower cubicle. Poor fitting shower trays can lead to leakage and water damage.

Fortunately, shower trays are available in a variety of sizes, shapes, materials, and dimensions.  This shower accessory can also be customized to fit oddly shaped shower enclosures. Many plumbing experts recommend choosing a unit made of acrylic with a heavy weight stone-cast resin for the best performance.

To be sure your shower tray properly fits, and is properly installed, it is recommended that you consult a trained contractor or plumbing professional before installing it yourself.  For this reason, always fit the shower tray before purchasing the shower enclosure.  This might save you money and grief later down the road.

Don’t cut monetary corners in your purchase of a shower tray; quality is an important factor in such a key buying decision.  There are ways to lessen expenses while doing your next bathroom renovation, but purchasing a poor quality shower tray can cause more financial problems down the road. 

Once you’ve made your choice, a proper sealant is needed to secure the shower tray properly.  It should be watertight and extend all around the shower tray.  An improper installation can lead to water damage in the flooring and underneath tiles and other fixtures in your bathroom.


Fitting a shower in a restricted space

It might seem like a simple thing to select a shower tray and enclosure for your bathroom, but when you actually get down to it you will find that there are a number of factors to be taken into consideration before making that choice.

The main restriction that you face when it comes to making a choice is that you will want to maximise the space you have in your bathroom. Your actual choice of shower enclosure and tray will depend on how much room you have available.

The simplest way to fit a shower enclosure and save space is to use a shower door to change an alcove into a shower enclosure. This can be done to cover a two, or even three sided space. All you need then is a suitable shower tray of the correct size and the job is complete. There are other shapes available if you prefer curved, rectangular, or angled designs, but it is always advisable to ensure that there is a suitable shower tray of the correct dimensions and shape available before deciding.

Before attempting to fit the shower enclosure, the shower tray needs to be fitted in place and the whole area should be tiled and sealed to the shower tray to avoid leaks. Before the final decision on which shower enclosure to purchase is made, check the measurements of the door and ensure that there is ample room to open and close the door and get in and out easily.  The last thing that you want is to open the door of your new shower enclosure and find that it hits other bathroom fittings and causes damage.


Shower Trays

The choice of shower tray may not seem a difficult choice, but make no mistake, the type of shower tray you choose is vital if your bathroom is to look both well designed and smart.

Obviously the tray has to fit the shower it is serving, so if you have a corner fitted shower, then you will need a corner tray.  However, once this has been decided, you will really have a wide range of trays from which to choose.  This is where the practical issues come into play.

If you spend a long time in the shower, (or someone else in your household does) then a deep shower tray may be a good idea.  If hobbies or activities mean that someone is very muddy then a deeper shower tray will also be useful, since they will help keep the mud off the panel or shower door.  Some are also promoted as being less prone to leakages.

If you do choose a deep shower tray, make sure that you buy one which looks very slim line, since they can sometimes look quite chunky.  This can look out of place in a very small bathroom, where the size will appear even bigger.

A flatter shower tray is probably more suitable for a small shower area or where you do not have a problem with having to worry about excess mud. 

Whichever type of tray you choose, make sure that the tray complements the shower and that it is well matched, otherwise the tray will simply look out of place and not in keeping with the rest of the bathroom.