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Guide To Shower Trays

The aim of this guide is to help you decide if a shower tray is best for your needs & installation and explore the different types of shower trays available to purchase.

A shower tray is designed as the finished product to be fitted into or on top of the existing floor, without the need to apply a floor covering such as tiles or vinyl. This is different to a wet room tray / former that will need to have a tiles or vinyl floor covering laid over it.

As such a shower tray will visually stand out from the surrounding floor, however this can be used as a feature with some shower trays being available in different colours (such as black, slate sand etc) and textures, creating a focal point in the bathroom.

Some shower trays are specifically designed for use with a glass cubicle, whilst many are also suitable for use with wet room screen panels, so the best of both worlds can be achieved; a shower tray with a wet room look. It is important to ensure that you choose the correct type of tray for your desired screen or cubicle setup.

Shower trays are especially suited to disabled users or those with mobility challenges, allowing configurations from level access, low profile, and wheelchair friendly shower trays.

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Shower Tray Installations

The installation of shower trays varies from type to type of tray. Some of the heavier stone resin shower trays need to be bedded onto a sand mix, whilst more traditional trays can be fitted direct onto a level surface. In all cases it is essential to follow the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure you are fully covered by their warranty. Any deviation from the instructions will invalidate the warranty.

As a shower tray is the finished product, with a built-in fall to carry the shower water away, it can be easily fitted on top of an existing floor, without the need to remove floorboards. Whilst access will still be required to plumb the waste outlet into the drain, this disruption should in most cases be minimal. If a walk-in shower style is still desired,
some shower trays can be embedded into the floor, in the same fashion as a wet room tray, or other trays can offer a low level step-in access.

Some shower trays with 'walk in' or low level access capabilities are also suitable for users with mobility challenges, or disabled users requiring roll in wheelchair access. In most cases a shower tray will allow for a quicker conversion to a disabled showering environment, with some trays specifically designed as a 'bath out, tray in' solution for showering.

Unlike a wet room tray / former the floor does not necessarily need additional waterproofing; however, it is considered good practice to still waterproof beneath the tray, the surrounding area and walls of the shower area up to head height. Doing so could help prevent costly repair bills in the event of water damage from failed grout, excess splashing, or failed sealant lines.

Some shower trays can be cut to size, however this tends to be the exception rather than the rule, so check your measurements carefully to
ensure your purchase the exact size you require for your installation.

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Types of Shower Tray

There are three main types of shower tray available, all based on the installation purpose;

Level Access / Walk In Shower Trays

As the name suggests a level access or walk in shower tray is designed to be fitted flush to the surrounding floor, much like a wet room tray / former. This is flush look is commonly achieved by removing the floorboards where the tray is to be installed, although they can be laid on top of the floor, and the existing floor built up to the same level. With the later it is important to consider door thresholds with the built up floor.

A level access shower tray is the ideal showering solution
with users with mobility challenges, removing the 'step' from the installation, additionally most level access shower trays can also be mounted on top of the floor, creating a minimal step up to the shower area, which could also be easily negotiated, without the need to breach the floor during installation.

Low Profile Shower Trays

A low profile shower tray typically has a height of 25 - 30mm, creating a minimal 'step' into the showering area. Low profile trays specifically
designed for accessibility users can also have an inbuilt 'anti slip' surface to further eliminate risk. As with level access shower trays, additional depth / access will be required for the drain body installation beneath the tray.

Raised Shower Trays

A raised shower tray is designed to be fitted directly onto an existing level floor surface, additionally some trays can be raised further using leg kits and side profiles, this is particularly handy if access into the floor (for the drain body) is not possible or difficult. Some raised shower
trays have an option for a built in anti-slip coatings, enhancing the safety for users.

A raised shower tray is usually of the more traditional acrylic type, normally used with an accompanying shower enclosure, having doors for access. Because of the complete enclosure style, it is often the ideal option for areas where a wet room style installation may prove challenging, such as loft conversions.

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Shower Tray Materials

Shower trays are commonly manufactured from four main types of materials, which is reflected in their price and features:

Glass Reinforced SMC (sheet moulding compound)

Trays manufactured from reinforced SMC, such as the Contour Falcon 30 are extremely strong, as such these trays can often be trimmed without affecting the integrity of the tray. These type of shower trays do not require under-support and can often support weights in excess of 300 kg (4 stone). Additionally, a reinforced SMC tray can support the point load exerted from the use of shower stools or wheelchairs.

Stone Resin

A stone resin shower trays comprises small, natural stone chippings mixed with an adhesive resin, in most cases acrylic, to bond it together this creates a strong shower tray with the appearance and feel of real stone. A stone resin shower tray can be further styled with a textured finish to enhance the real stone look and feeling. Stone resin trays can also be coloured such as black, slate and sandstone in addition to white.

A stone resin shower tray is considered the pinnacle of shower tray styling. Often provided with waste caps to match the tray, creating a
beautiful authentic stone, seamless look.

Acrylic Capped Stone Resin

Manufactured in the same way as a stone resin shower tray,
an acrylic capped shower tray is finished with a surface layer of acrylic to offer further scratch resistance and protection. The difference of the acrylic capped tray compared to a stone resin tray is that the capped tray will loose the feel and texture of real stone, which some users seek in the stone resin tray.

Acrylic

An acrylic shower tray is the most common 'step in' traditional form of light weight shower tray, often moulded with a raised lip to accommodate a shower screen or enclosure and create a barrier to the water flowing out. Acrylic shower trays offer excellent value for money, are hard waring, lasting for years if correctly installed, and easy to clean.

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Shower tray features & options

Depending on the brand and type of shower tray purchased,
some features and options may be available, these include:

Non slip surface / coating - A special anti slip surface either built into the tray or applied as a coating. Anti slip coatings are ideal for younger children and elderly users reducing the risk of slipping within the shower.

Bath Out / Bath Replacement - A 'Bath Replacement' shower tray, such as the Contour Eagle Two has been specifically designed to fill the void left by the removal of the bath, when a bath is no longer a option for the user due to disability or accessibility problems. The Contour Eagle 2 bath out tray is designed as a level access tray suitable for 'roll in' wheelchair showering, furthermore it has a special lip that allows vinyl floor covering to be hot welded direct to the tray, creating a watertight seal.

Linear Drain Channel - The Traymate TM25 Linear is a stone resin shower tray with a linear channel drain, available in stainless steel or matt black finish. Producing a stylish alternative to a standard square drain outlet.

Drying Area - Some shower trays such as the Zamori 1700 X 800 rectangular shower tray are available with an integrated 'drying area' of the shower tray. Allowing the user to dry themselves before exiting the shower.

Anti-Bacterial Coating - Some shower trays are available with an anti-bacterial coating to help combat the build up and transfer of harmful bacteria in the showering environment. This is especially beneficial
for busy shower areas, young children and elderly users.

Other considerations

Shower tray shapes & sizes:

Shower Trays come in a wide range of shapes and sizes to suit all installations.

Square, Rectangle, Quadrant, Offset Quadrant and Pentangle shapes of shower trays are all available, with Quadrant, Offset
Quadrant and Pentangle shower trays being particularly suited for shower enclosures in tight spaces and corners.

Shower Tray Care:

To ensure many years of use for your shower tray they should be cared for as per the manufacturers care instructions. In most cases this means cleaning only with warm soapy water and avoiding bleach, cream cleaners and abrasive materials.

Stone resin trays - post purchase:

When purchasing and accepting delivery of a stone resin / acrylic capped stone resin tray, please be aware of the following:

• These trays are very heavy and will require at least two persons for handling.
• Trays should be stored flat
• You must inspect the product thoroughly before installation. Fitting the product is acceptance of quality.
• The trays are handmade from natural material. Please allow for height variances due to manufacturing tolerances.

Further Information & help:

If you require any further help or advice on choosing the best shower tray for your bathroom, please do not hesitate to call our experts on FREEPHONE 0800 280 8008.

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Shower Trays at Wetrooms Online

Wetrooms Online only supply shower trays from the leading manufacturers; Contour, Merlyn, Traymate & Zamori. These leading brands are at the forefront of shower tray development and design, each having significantly invested in the R&D, design & manufacturing processes to ensure that the highest quality shower trays are brought to market.

Each manufacturer offers a number of tray designs at differing price points, so that a quality shower tray is available whatever your need or budget. Amongst the offerings from Merlyn is the Truestone shower tray, manufactured in stone resin and offering a textured finish - as close to natural stone as you can get, and now available in a range of natural colours from slate to sandstone.

The shower trays from Contour are primarily aimed at the disability and mobility users, and as such are designed for easy access, and the conversion of bathrooms with the removal of the bath.