Types Of Shower Trays – A Complete Guide
Looking to upgrade your bathroom with a new shower tray? With so many options available, it can be overwhelming to decide which one is best for you. That’s why I’ve put together a complete guide to the different types of shower trays on the market.
From sleek and modern acrylic trays to traditional and durable stone options, I’ll explore the pros and cons of each type to help you make an informed decision.
So, whether you’re renovating your bathroom or just looking to replace an old shower tray, read on for my comprehensive guide to the types of shower trays available.
Let’s dive in!
What To Consider When Choosing A Shower Tray
There are a few things to keep in mind when wandering the aisles at the plumbing supply store or scrolling the internet for a new shower tray. You should always think twice before grabbing up a bargain without first checking off all your boxes.
Before you decide that you want a spacious 1000 X 1000 mm shower tray and snap it up at the DIY store, make sure that it will actually fit in your bathroom.
There needs to be room for the shower door to open, a place for a towel rack, leg room in front of the toilet and the ability to open and close the bathroom door. Use an online design tool or a measured floor plan to place all your sanitaryware before you start buying.
Where is the existing waste pipe under the current bathtub or shower? If you want to move it, can you easily access the space under the floor or will moving the waste result in a more expansive renovation?
Replacing your current shower with one that is the same size and has the same pipe placements means you are looking at a job that costs £1,000 or less. If you start knocking down walls and pulling up floors, you can spend £8,000 to £20,000 on a new shower.
It can be so tempting to purchase a shower tray in a trending colour popping up on all the TikTok channels. But trends change and this year’s eye-popping colour may be next year’s eye-sore.
Traditional off-white or white trays work well with most decor choices–even the ones yet to arrive in your neighbourhood. Natural stone is also a good neutral choice, as its colour palette tends to blend with changing styles.
If you are adding a shower that will be used by a person that struggles with stairs, you may want to look at a low-profile or walk-in style shower tray. Even if you are building your dream spa for the primary bedroom, if you are planning on retiring here, you may want to opt for that walk-in shower to reduce the need for later renovations.
When planning your budget, the shower tray itself will generally cost between £150 and £800 depending on its size and material. But don’t forget to put aside about £500 for the labour and between £200 and £2,000 for the materials and tools for the rest of the enclosure.
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Types Of Shower Trays
There are most commonly four types of shower trays that you can order or pick up at a local store.
A raised shower tray often comes in a kit with adjustable legs, so you can set it to the perfect height. They are designed to leave room under the tray floor for the shower waste pipes without the need for cutting into the floor. This is a great option when building a shower on a slab foundation or in a home where cutting into the floor poses structural and expensive challenges.
The gap between the floor of the tray and the existing floor of the bathroom is hidden by panels which usually come in the kit.
It is possible to make a DIY raised shower tray by using concrete or wood blocks instead of adjustable legs, but you must still level the tray for proper drainage.
The low-profile shower tray may be the most popular design choice on the market. While it isn’t completely flat with the floor of the bathroom, the lip of the tray is usually less than 8 cm high. The waste will drain down through the floor and the bottom edge of the tray will sit on the floor for a seamless installation.
This creates a nearly invisible glass wall surrounding the shower and reduces the trip hazard when you enter the shower.
They received the low-profile designation as shower trays built in the late 20th century often stood as high as 20 cm tall, creating a more imposing step to get into the shower.
The walk-in shower tray is gaining popularity in new construction homes. The tray is set down into the floor, so there is no lip to step over. You only have to “walk-in” to the shower. But they are a more difficult choice when renovating an existing shower.
The bottom of the tray must be levelled so that water flows towards the waste and not out into the room since there is no lip to stop sloshing puddles. As a retrofit, you may build up the floor around the walk-in shower in order to attain that seamless entry.
A wet room and walk-in shower differ in that a wet room shower may not have a wall or door blocking it from the rest of the room. This type of shower tray will be completely hidden from view as the floor tiles will flow from the main part of the bathroom into the shower area. Many wet room showers are custom installations as the finishing details are crucial in creating a unique single-surface appearance.
The tray is built into the floor and is designed to accept large format or mosaic floor tiles.
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Shapes Of Shower Trays
Cut down the number of shower trays you are considering by selecting one of the five popular shapes. It makes your decision so much easier.
A square shower tray easily fits into the corner of your compact bathroom while offering a little extra elbow room for your wash. Popular sizes range from 700 X 700 mm up to 1000 X 1000 mm. You can order your tray with waste in the centre or the corner to optimise the placement of the waste pipe.
The rectangle gives you a great option when replacing a combination tub and shower with a low-profile or walk-in shower. The waste is generally located at the end for easy connections to the waste and taps situated against the wall. The rectangle really helps you to stretch out and avoid bumping heads and elbows while lathering up.
Small versions can measure 900 X 700 mm with spacious choices maxing out to 1800 X 900 mm. The most common size is 1200 X 800 mm.
Quadrant showers fit into a corner, but instead of a square, the front edge is rounded. They are a common choice for very small bathrooms where you are looking for a few extra centimetres by the toilet or vanity.
Sizes refer to the measurement of the two square sides that are installed against the wall. Look for models measuring 700 X 700 up to 1000 X 1000 mm.
An offset quadrant tray is a hybrid of the quadrant and rectangular tray. Just like the square quadrant, one corner is rounded to give some space back to the tight design of the bathroom. They are sold in similar sizes as rectangular trays.
Yes, you can have a shower tray made in any shape and size that you desire if you are willing to pay the price. You will need to add two to six months of lead time to the order and expect to cough up twice the price.
It is also possible to have a custom tray handcrafted on-site by an experienced contractor. They will charge up to £400 per day plus the cost of materials.
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Materials Of Shower Trays
Two types of materials are used for the vast majority of shower trays on the market, acrylic and stone resin.
You will find acrylic shower trays in nearly every flat and middle-income home across the UK. Extruded out of polymers, the tray is flexible yet durable. Once it is in place, this shower tray will last until the next bathroom remodel.
Most acrylic trays are white or off-white, but you can order them in designer colours. Just remember that we are still finding examples of 1960s Avocado Green in kitchens and baths, so that colour selection is going to stay with the house for a long time.
Most acrylic trays are priced from £100 and up. They are affordable, available, and can be installed as a DIY project with attention to detail.
If you have a Corian or Quartz worktop in your kitchen, it is made using the same process as a stone resin shower tray. Stone dust and resins are combined and pressed into moulds. Colourants and patterns are applied to mimic the look of marble, granite, and other natural stones. The mould is then baked at extreme temperatures to create stone resin.
The stone resin tray looks more like your stone or ceramic wall panels and flooring to achieve a luxurious appearance. It is heavier than acrylic and more rigid. The tray starts in pricing around £150 and climbs. But you will double the cost for installation as it is heavy and needs two technicians to properly fit it into place.
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There you have it! I hope this complete guide to the types of shower trays available has been helpful in your search for the perfect bathroom upgrade.
From size and shape to materials and features, there are plenty of factors to consider when choosing a shower tray. By weighing the pros and cons of each type, you can make an informed decision that suits your style, budget, and practical needs.
So go ahead and choose the shower tray that’s right for you, and enjoy a refreshing and stylish new addition to your bathroom!
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Michael is a KBB designer from the UK. He's been designing and project managing new Kitchen, Bedroom and Bathroom installations for over eight years now, and before that, he was an electrician and part of a KBB fitting team. He created The Bathroom Blueprint in early 2020.