When I was fitting out shower rooms in my house a few years back, the shower tray choice was largely white porcelain – or white porcelain. Nice to look at, matches white tiling, but prone to cracking and slippy for elderly users. The shape and depth choices were quite restricted, too, by the nature of the material.
Now the market has very much swung towards stone resin manufacture. If you look at a leading supplier like Plumbworld then you will see a proliferation of choices, but all in one or other variety of this material, which can be and usually is non-slip in nature.
Maintaining a low profile
Its strength has allowed low profile shower trays to be introduced – you do need to be able to remove some floorboards or build in a sunken area in your concrete floor to be able to accommodate the waste, but the same goes for a wet room installation. Assuming that you can make these arrangements, then by selecting an upstand-free design you can get the wet room look within a regular bathroom. This is also convenient for those who may struggle to step over a conventional upstand.
One slimline example is the Fusion range from Just Trays – their Hydrostone material uses a polyurethane filler which includes volcanic ash to create a tray 40% lighter than normal stone resins. They build them with flat bases for easier installation and levelling. They also offer a 90mm waste for much more rapid draining than usual, up to 32 litres/minute.
For non-removable wooden and most concrete floors, you need a tray with adjustable height legs, and you have choices to make in the matter of upstands – 0, 2 or 4? You will purchase riser panels which cover up the legs. With this sort of installation, you have some access if needed for future servicing, albeit shower trays always involve tight space packaging.
Among the competing shower tray manufacturers there are some differing features to consider.
Hydrolux offers its Wafer range, and also a material they call Hydrolite, which uses 35% recycled ingredients and will be 100% recyclable when it finally requires replacement. They mix two polymers to achieve lightness, and scratch and impact resistance.
Just Trays’ Merlin trays are UK made. The resin is ABS capped for damage resistance, and they offer tiling upstands for maximum anti-water sealing at the wall edges.
Coram have Coratech, offered in their Waterguard trays – half the weight of a conventional resin-based type, but with ABS acrylic capping for toughness.
Mira’s premium material is its BioCote acrylic resin stone, which claims to reduce mould and bacteria by up to 99%, without the effect washing or wearing off with time. They also claim anti-scratch and anti-chipping properties as well as resistance to discoloration. They have a low vortex waste that sucks water out of your shower.
The shape of things
Think you can now simply decide between materials? Think again. Your choices have only just begun. The size choices in conventional square trays alone are extensive – the most popular are 700, 760, 800 and 900 mm square, according to your size limitations.
If you are restricted in one direction, consider the rectangular types, where a width of 760, 800 or 900 can be matched with a long dimension of up to 1700mm, which allows for showering á deux, if that floats your boat.
Quadrant models round off the open corner of a square, and are attractive and space efficient. Make sure you match the tray to a compatible curved shower enclosure or curtain rail. Offset Quadrants offer the same features with a rectangular basic shape.
Mira has a selection of Pentagon trays – these are squares with the open corner cut off. And finally there are D-shaped trays.
Coming back to where we came in, you are no longer hide-bound by white colouring. Just Trays offers a funky range of colours including Coal (seen here in a Quadrant shape – very minimalist), Grey, Lace, Pebble, Ocean (blue) and Magma (an earthy red). Ideal for adding a splash (sorry) of colour to your white-tiled bathroom.
Posted by Chris Ring
Did you like this article? Share it on your site by copying the embed code below: