How to Fit a Shower Tray
When you want to install a shower, you could be forgiven for thinking it’s all about the enclosure and the shower itself. But you’ve missed something.
Without a shower tray, your new shower simply won’t function. You need to put a lot of thought into your new shower tray, as this has to fit with your enclosure. So, it’s not all about picking a shower and thinking you’re done, what rests beneath our feet is just as important.
But how do you fit a shower tray? It may sound daunting, so this job should be conducted by a professional if you aren’t confident. But if you feel confident, Plumbworld is here to help with a step-by-step guide as well as some other handy questions.
Read on to find out how to fit a shower tray as well as the key considerations when buying...
What are the types of shower tray?
Shower trays come in a range of types, shapes and sizes to suit your shower enclosure. These are the main shower tray types...
- Rectangular shower trays: offer the most space and are used with sliding shower doors or walk-in shower enclosures.
- Square shower trays: these are a versatile option as they can be used with a range of shower doors. This includes pivot and bi-fold enclosures, making them ideal for smaller bathrooms.
- Quadrant shower trays: these feature a curved front and fit into the corner of the bathroom which helps, like a quadrant enclosure, to maximise space.
- Walk-in shower trays: designed specifically to pair with a walk-in shower enclosure. They can provide both a showering area and another for drying off. They also include a low profile design for easier access.
Read more: How to fit a Shower Enclosure
Shower Tray Shapes
It goes without saying that you need to buy a shower tray based on your type of shower enclosure. For example, if you’re fitting a shower in an alcove, you’ll either need a square shower tray or a rectangular one depending upon the dimensions.
Just make sure you don’t buy an offset quadrant enclosure and a regular quadrant tray as these will not fit together. You can avoid issues like this by buying a tray and shower enclosure in a single package to ensure compatibility and high quality.
Shower Tray Sizes
Shower tray sizes vary depending on the type of shower tray and the shower enclosure that you’re buying.
For example, quadrant shower trays will usually only come in 800, 900 and 1000mm sizes. However, walk-in shower trays or rectangular shower trays might start at 1000 x 800mm and be as large as 1400 x 900mm.
The size of your bathroom will decide which shower tray sizes are available to you and even the type of shower tray and shower enclosure. Don’t forget that the shower door you buy may have an outward opening motion. This is something to seriously consider when deciding on the perfect shower tray size.
Shower Tray Height
Shower trays come in varying heights to suit different bathroom designs and shower enclosures.
If your bathroom has been styled with a minimalist design in mind, then a low profile slimline shower tray is best. Low profile shower trays are ideal for flush-fitting rooms as they are very shallow and only extend from the ground by about four or five centimetres.
Some shower trays have a height between 10 - 20cm, which used to be the regular size before low-profile trays became more popular. If your waste is situated in an awkward place, that makes under-floor plumbing very difficult, so you may want a high shower tray for pipework to flow underneath.
In instances like this, it may be wise to opt for a shower tray with a riser kit. Riser kits provide the option of lifting the tray higher off the floor and leaving a gap underneath for the waste piping. Many shower trays come with riser kits as an option and most are adjustable in height.
Tip: When buying a riser kit you will also need panels to hide the pipework underneath.
Shower Tray Features
The majority of trays nowadays are scratch, chip and impact resistant to ensure that soap or shampoo drops in the shower will not damage the tray. Make sure your new shower tray has these features or you may end up with a damaged shower floor.
If you plan to fit the tray by yourself you may want to opt for a lightweight tray to avoid any problems during installation. Obviously, if you have a professional fitter doing the installation, this shouldn’t make much difference but it’s worth keeping in mind.
How to Install a Shower Tray
We’ll guide you through the installation process for an adjustable shower tray as well as a low-profile shower tray.
Adjustable Shower Tray Installation
Place your shower tray where you intend to fit it and use a pencil to outline the shower tray. Consider any potential placement issues. Fit the adjustable riser legs and adjust them to an even height.
Use a spirit level to ensure that the tray is indeed flat and level. Attach the shower tray’s waste outlet so everything lines up properly.
Ensure the riser legs are adjusted to allow an adequate fall for the waste to drain. A good guide is a 50mm fall per metre of pipework. Don’t forget to fit the centre leg otherwise, your shower tray will dip and become damaged.
Work out the ideal route to the waste pipe from the waste trap in the tray.
Place the tray.
Use a spirit level to ensure that the tray is completely level. This is one of the most important steps in the process. A tray that isn’t level will cause issues with drainage and may potentially overflow.
Check all of the riser legs are engaged and that the lock nuts are tightened up.
Tip: Use a kettle or jug to pour water down the shower drain to ensure it flows through without any drips or leaks.
Cover the gaps around the sides of the shower tray with shower tray side panels. These may have been included in your shower tray package.
Secure your shower tray with some sealant between the wall and tray.
Attach the side panels to your tray to conceal all pipework from view.
Low-Profile Shower Tray Installation
The floor beneath your shower tray needs to be completely secure, so position the shower tray where you want it to go. Then, test that the floor is strong and solid enough to support it without movement.
It needs to be completely firm, otherwise, this can cause problems. If it’s not secure, remove the floorboards from this area and replace them with marine plywood that is at least 18mm thick.
Next, cut an access hatch in your floorboards next to the shower tray. This will allow you to easily access the underside of the shower tray for maintenance to the pipes and allow you to reach the waste.
You may need to cut a hole for your shower tray waste. Take some measurements and carefully create the required space needed. Then, you can assemble the waste.
Now you need to make a mortar by mixing building sand and cement together - 5 parts sand, 1 part cement. Spread a thin layer to the area where the shower tray will go.
Position the shower tray on top and gently press it onto the mortar. Use a spirit level to ensure that everything is completely level. Allow it to dry for 24 hours.
Using the access hatch you made, connect the waste trap to the outlet pipe together.
Use silicone sealant for a secure, watertight seal the entire way around the shower tray.
If you're looking for further DIY advice and inspiration, you may find the following posts useful - How to Replace Basin Taps Step By Step - How to Measure for a Toilet Seat - How to Design a Small Bathroom.
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