Shower Trays Buying Guide
With so many different types of shower trays on the market, there are plenty of options to allow you to choose the tray that best suits your bathroom and most importantly, your needs.
In this guide, we'll cover everything you need to know to help you choose the right shower tray. From what size and shape, what it is made from, different height options, and extra qualities such as anti-slip and optional upstands.
What shapes do shower trays come in?
The most popular shower tray shapes are square, rectangular, and quadrant/offset quadrant. There are also less common shapes such as D shape and pentagon if you’re looking for something a bit different! The shape of your shower tray may come down to the available space you have in your bathroom or where you’d like your shower positioned.
Square shower trays
Square shower trays don’t take up a whole lot of room but give you a good amount of showering space, making them an excellent choice for a small bathroom. The versatile shape can be fitted either in a corner, an alcove, or against one wall in your bathroom or en-suite, giving you ultimate flexibility on placement.
Rectangular shower trays
Like square shower trays, rectangular trays can be fitted either in a corner, an alcove, or against one wall in your bathroom. The slightly elongated shape gives you more room to shower and can also be paired with a sliding shower door, minimizing the amount of bathroom space you need to swing out an enclosure door.
Quadrant & Offset quadrant shower trays
Quadrant and offset quadrant shower trays are a great choice if you’re looking to install a shower in a corner and save important floor space. The curved front takes up less floor space than a square or rectangular tray whilst still giving you plenty of showering room when paired with a curved shower door.
The difference between the two is that offset quadrant trays have a slightly longer length than the width, whilst quadrant trays have equal sized sides.
Other shaped trays
If you’re looking for something a bit ‘out of the norm’ you can opt for a slightly different shaped tray such as a pentagon and D shape. Due to the unique shape, these trays are paired with a matching-shaped enclosure.
What shower tray height should I choose?
There are multiple options for the height of a shower tray. Whether you want a standard raised tray that sits higher off the floor, a tray that is easy to plumb in but requires you to step up onto it, or a low-profile tray for a minimalist look and/or an accessible entrance.
Also available on the market are wet room shower trays. These have been designed to give you a step-free entry that is almost perfectly level or built-in with your floor, making them perfect for accessible bathrooms and shower rooms. If you want your wet room shower tray to blend in with your flooring, there are wet room tray formers designed to be tiled over the top.
Low profile shower trays
Low-profile shower trays are incredibly popular as they have a height of 25mm to 45mm, giving you easy step access and a minimalist aesthetic for your bathroom. Due to how close to the floor they are, low profile trays require your plumbing to be installed under your floor, so if this is not an option for you then an easy plumb tray is the way to go.
Riser 'easy plumb' shower trays
Also known as ‘raised trays’, these trays sit slightly higher off your floor to allow for access to your plumbing. If you’re installing a shower enclosure on a hard floor or you don’t have the space to fit a waste and pipe underneath a low profile tray, then a riser 'Easy Plumb' shower tray is certainly the tray for you. They work using sturdy legs to support your weight, with matching white panels to discreetly hide them and your pipework, offering you ample space and easy access to fit a shower waste.
Watch this video below to see how a riser 'easy plumb' tray is installed...
Standard shower trays
If you prefer the look of a slightly taller shower tray, you can purchase ‘standard’ size shower trays that have a height of 50mm to 90mm. These trays feature a raised profile to give you a more traditional appearance without having to use riser legs like in an ‘easy plumb’ tray.
Wetroom & Walk in shower trays
If you’re looking for a minimalist look in your bathroom or if you need extra support getting in and out then shower, then a wet room & walk-in tray may be the one for you. These trays have been designed to give you step-free access where the tray is installed flush to the floor, making them perfect for accessible bathrooms and wheelchair users. In order to fit a wet room tray, they must be installed with a floor-flush vertical waste and paired with a wet room screen or walk-in enclosure. Wet room trays are available in several different colours, enabling you to match your tray to your bathroom décor or to create a stylish feature in your showering area.
If you need a little extra support around the bathroom and need an accessible shower, then a wet room former is a great option. Wet room formers have been designed to give you a wet room floor with no visible tray, as they are fitted beneath your flooring and then tiled over the top to give you a seamless look. Formers are built with strength and durability to easily accommodate a wheelchair user and a carer if one is required, making them an excellent choice for an accessible bathroom.
Some shower trays have been designed to be installed either directly onto your floor, semi-recessed in your floor, or flush to your floor, giving you flexibility on which you choose to do.
Anti-slip shower trays
Shower trays can become incredibly slippery with all the shampoo and body wash residues that are left behind every time you shower. To prevent the risk of accidents caused by slipping, you can purchase an anti-slip shower tray! These trays feature a special coating or textured surface which has been carefully designed to give you more grip whilst showering, eliminating any accidental slips!
What are shower trays made from?
Acrylic is a very cost-effective option for a shower tray, though it must be taken care of as it can be prone to scratches. Acrylic is super easy to clean, is lightweight, and naturally non-slippery when wet, making it a popular choice. Acrylic trays are more flexible than other trays but not as strong, so are usually reinforced with wood for added strength. This type of shower tray is 65% lighter than a stone resin tray of the same size and can be easily lifted and installed by one person.
Acrylic capped stone resin (ABS)
Acrylic capped stone resin (ABS) shower trays are a popular choice thanks to their durable finish and lightweight construction. Acrylic capped shower trays are constructed from a polyurethane resin mixed with filler including volcanic ash, the resin is then moulded to shape and then polished. The stone resin core is covered with a durable and scratch-resistant glossy white acrylic surface. The lightweight construction of these trays makes them easy to lift and install.
Gel coated stone resin
Gel coated stone resin shower trays are highly durable and will withstand more wear and tear than an acrylic shower tray. The stone resin core is covered with a special gel coating which provides the shower tray with additional strength and helps to reduce the chances of scratches or dents. Like ABS trays, these are also lightweight and easy to lift/install.
Natural stone resin
Compared to acrylic, natural stone resin is much more resilient when it comes to cracks and splits due to the material being much stronger and heavier. It has been constructed to be much more durable to withstand daily wear and tear, ensuring you have a shower tray that will stand the test of time. These trays are much more weighty than others on the market, so it is recommended to be lifted with care and a helping hand.
Upstands or no upstands?
There’s no hard rule on whether your shower should have upstands or not, but they have been created to help make your shower tray much more watertight.
You can purchase shower trays with either 1, 2, 3, or even 4 upstands, with the amount you need completely depending on the shape of your tray and how much extra protection you would like. Some trays that come with four upstands (so each edge has one) are used so that a framed door can sit within the top of the tray to form a seal to prevent any potential leaks.
Upstands create a small lip around the shower tray which you can either tile over or up to when placed within an enclosure frame. The upstand also creates a larger water barrier between your enclosure frame and tray, making it much more watertight. Having an upstand around your tray helps prevent causing any potential water damage to your bathroom walls if water escapes through a damaged seal or tile, giving you that extra bit of protection.
What size shower tray should I choose?
Shower trays come in a large variety of sizes to allow you to choose one that will fit perfectly in your bathroom. The width of a shower tray can vary from a minimum of 700mm to 1400mm, and the length of a shower tray can vary from a minimum of 700mm to a large 1800mm.
How much does a shower tray cost?
Depending on the size and material you choose, there are shower trays on the market to suit every budget. From as little as £70 - £100 for acrylic low-profile trays to higher-priced options of up to £400 for gel-coated stone resin anti-slip wet room trays.
Cut to size shower trays
Some shower trays can be easily cut to shape, which means they can be installed in locations that simply couldn’t be done before, and certainly not with a stone resin shower tray! If you have an awkward corner or wall you need to work around in your bathroom where a shower tray wouldn’t normally fit, these trays can be easily trimmed down to ensure a perfect fit.
Can I buy a coloured shower tray?
Shower trays generally come in a classic white finish, though some ranges such as the RAK Feeling range offer trays in finishes such as grey, beige, and even black! Coloured trays are a great choice for a wet room as you can match your floor tiles to your tray to create a consistent look for your design.
How to choose the right shower tray
- Choose your placement. First, you have to work out where you’d like to place your new shower enclosure in your bathroom. After you've decided on positioning, you can work out how big your tray needs to be and what shape would best suit the location.
- Check your plumbing. If your plumbing has to be installed above your floor then an easy plumb riser tray is your only option, as these allow you to easily access underneath the tray. If your plumbing can be fitted underneath your floor, you pretty much have free reign on what type of shower tray you can install. You can then decide whether you’d like your tray to be flush with your floor for a minimal look or sat directly on top to give you a slight step up.
- Work out your budget. Are you looking for a cost-friendly shower tray or are you wanting to invest in a higher-end option?
- What material? Decide what material you’d prefer your tray to be made from. With some acrylic models having the ability to be cut to size and lightweight, stone resin models are stronger and more durable with multiple color options.
- Extra features. Do you want your shower tray to have an anti-slip surface or would you prefer to just use a shower mat?
- Do you want your tray to have upstands to further help protect your bathroom from any potential leaks?
Sascha has been copywriting for over 6 years and especially loves writing about home interiors, renovations, and décor. She enjoys digital illustrating in her spare time and following the latest interior trends on social media.
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