Choosing a shower tray

When choosing a new shower, it may not have occurred to you that you actually have to choose from a variety of shower trays too. Sometimes the choices involved in bathroom design can be overwhelming – from close coupled toilets to bi fold shower enclosures – the choice is now endless, so here’s a quick guide to the options of shower tray available.
Firstly, you should decide which material you want to use. Acrylic is the most common material used in shower trays. This is the plastic type of tray you have probably seen. Plastic is cheap to make, and therefore cheap to buy, and very convenient for a shower tray. It is easy to mould, so can be made into various different shapes, relatively hard-wearing (plastic doesn’t tend to degenerate due to water damage), smooth on the feet, can easily be coloured, and is of course very water resistant. However, there are actually many more materials you can have a shower tray constructed from. Stone resin is a good option; it is of course heavier and more expensive than acrylic, but it does create a great solid look and comes in various different colours. You could also choose to have your shower tray constructed from glass, ceramic, stone or even wood!
Bear in mind that because stone is a much heavier material, the drainage system may have to be more complicated underneath your shower (you may have to remove an area of flooring underneath). Also bear in mind that other materials may not be quite as suited to water as acrylic. Glass and ceramic look great as design features, but can become very slippery as you can imagine. These are probably unsuitable for households with either elderly people or young children, as even a sticky shower mat can easily slip on them and their hard surface can be quite dangerous for head injuries. Wood is another very attractive option, often used in Scandinavian design and in old-fashioned bathhouses; but again bear in mind that wood can become very slippery when wet, especially when mixed with soap suds. Wood also tends to degenerate as it is not fully waterproof; however shower trays constructed from wood are usually specially treated to minimise water damage.
Once you have chosen your material, it’s time to choose the shape and style of your tray. You can choose to have a square, rectangle, pentangle, quadrant or walk-in tray. The square is, of course, the most common shape, but tends to suit slightly larger bathrooms as does the rectangular shape. A quadrant shape is quite effective for a small bathroom, as it allows the overall floor space of the shower to be smaller. The walk-in tray requires even more room than the square or rectangular shapes, as it gives a small ‘tunnel’ going into the main shower space. It can be a very attractive design feature in a larger bathroom, however.
After the shape, you must choose the depth of your shower tray. You can choose to have it slightly raised, so that you step up into the shower, level with the floor so that you step over a small barrier and into your shower tray, or lowered into the floor so that the edges of the tray are level with your floor. Generally, the options that are available to you here depend on the type of flooring and plumbing you have. Ask your plumber or pay a visit to your local bathroom specialist for details of the options available to you.

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