With walk-in showers becoming more and more popular in bathroom design, choosing a shower tray is a task that many homeowners need to face during their renovation. Wet rooms, or showers with a floor area that is completely flush with the adjacent flooring, have become the darling of the design world, but they require special (and expensive) waterproofing. In many cases, a standard-sized shower tray is a more efficient and equally stylish option.
The shower tray exists to prevent shower water from spreading across the bathroom and point it towards the drain, but beyond this functional purpose, shower trays have become available in a wider range of colours and materials, creating an opportunity to add a touch of style to your bathroom. This can, however, make the selection of a shower tray a somewhat daunting process. It’s best to know what you’re getting into before making a decision on your shower tray.
What should my shower tray be made of?
Acrylic shower trays have become increasingly popular in recent years and for good reason. They are inexpensive and the technology used to manufacture them has improved significantly. Acrylic is a completely sanitary material and unlike many other bathroom materials, is not cold to the touch. Home renovators should shop carefully, however. Be sure not to buy a hollow acrylic shower tray as they are known to crack and split. Solid acrylic shower trays are a far better choice, however, they tend to warp and flex during installation. Consider hiring a professional to handle installation if you choose to go in this direction.
Stone resin shower trays are the next most popular choice. Made from a mixture of crushed stone and polyurethane resin, they are incredibly durable and available in a wide range of colours that closely mimic those of natural stone. While recent advances in technology have enabled manufacturers to reduce their weight, stone resin trays are much heavier than their acrylic counterparts. Many contractors advise installing stone resin on first floors or in bathrooms with a concrete subfloor, while opting for lighter materials such as acrylic for upper floors or in cases where the floor joists can bare less load.
Ceramic shower trays offer another design option that can create consistency in look and feel between the shower floor and the rest of the bathroom floor. Like stone resin, however, they are very durable and easy to clean, but also very heavy, creating some limitations on where they can be installed.
What size and shape should my shower tray be?
While choosing a shower tray over a wet room does limit the options you have in terms of the size and shape of your shower, manufacturers offer enough options to fit nearly every renovation project. Most shower trays range in size from 70 x 70 cm to 170 x 170 cm. Readily available shapes include square, rectangular, pentagonal and quadrant. Pentagonal (5-sided for those non-geometry experts) and quadrant (two straight sides and a curved side) work perfectly for corner installations where space is limited. Another option in space-challenged bathrooms is the D-shaped shower, where the flat side sits against a wall. This minimizes the space that the shower occupies and maximizes flow around the shower while creating optimal area inside the shower enclosure.
Also, consider the height of the shower tray. Lower, sleeker shower trays create that wet room look without having to waterproof the shower area, but watch out if the drain backs up. Water can spill out of it. Higher shower trays hold more water, but create a different type of line in your design and require a bit of a step-up when entering the shower. One option that some designers have gravitated towards is recessing the shower tray into the floor, creating that seamless appearance along with the capacity to hold water.
Can I install it myself?
Pre-made shower trays were designed to simplify the process of installing a walk-in shower. Setting a shower tray into place, however, is still a challenge that requires some knowledge of plumbing, waterproofing and general construction. Does the bathroom’s drain need to be moved to match up with the shower tray? Can I carry and position my selected shower tray without bending, warping or otherwise damaging it? Am I confident that I can create the necessary seals to prevent leaking and level the tray for proper drainage? The answer to these questions will tell you whether or not you should take the project on yourself. If you choose to call a contractor, select one who will consult with you on what you’re looking for in the design and functionality of your shower.
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bathstore: I Want to Know Everything About…Shower Trays