Shower trays are an essential component of any good shower setup. In fact, they’re the base that an enclosure is often built on. There are many different designs of trays to choose from, and they come in a variety of materials including steel enamel and acrylic capped stone resin.
As more and more products have been introduced to the market over recent years, it’s getting harder for homeowners to make a well-informed decision about which shower tray is right for their needs. With a wealth of shapes and sizes to pick from, you’ll be spoiled for choice when it comes to creating your desired look in your newly renovated bathroom or ensuite.
With this in mind, we’ve created this helpful buying guide which includes all the considerations you need to keep in mind when shopping for a shower tray for your bathroom or ensuite, as well as the information you require about the different materials, sizes, and shapes of shower trays that you’ll find on the market today.
Armed with all of this useful knowledge, you’ll be in the perfect position to select a shower tray that will look perfect in your stylish new bathroom.
Shower Tray Shapes
Your first consideration when choosing the right shower tray for your home is going to be shape. The shape you choose for your shower tray must match the enclosure, so there won’t be any gaps that allow the water to get out and cause damage to your floor or walls. A further consideration with regard to shower tray shape is the shape and size of your bathroom.
Bear in mind that you’ll need to open and close the door of your shower enclosure, so you’ll need to select a tray and enclosure that allow you to do this with ease. Not every door type is suitable for every bathroom. Some of the different shape options are outlined below.
Square shower trays are one of the most versatile choices since they’re suitable for use with a range of different door types including modern bifolding doors. That makes this type of shower tray perfect for use in a small bathroom. You can find square trays that are either low profile or on risers, so you can find one that works in your individual bathroom.
Thanks to its symmetrical design, the square tray is especially well suited for smaller bathrooms and ensuites since it can be tucked easily into one of the corners. When paired with a sliding or pivoting door, it can create a beautifully elegant cubicle that will enhance your space. Square shower trays are also a traditional choice, so this style works very well in a classically themed bathroom.
Quadrant shower trays feature a curving front to accommodate either hinged or sliding doors. The result is a luxury shower cubicle which can neatly fit into a corner. Suitable for spaces both large and small, a quadrant shower tray is one of the best options if you want to maximise your available floor space, as when paired with a sliding door you can create a generously large shower with no need to encroach on the remainder of the room.
If you have a particularly compact bathroom, a quadrant shower tray could be the solution you need if you want to fit a shower cubicle into your space without taking up too much of your floor. The smallest quadrant trays are very compact indeed, allowing you the convenience of showering while also having enough room to move comfortably around your bathroom.
Not only can you find regular quadrant shower trays, but offset quadrant trays are also available on the market today. This tray design combines both curving and rectangular shapes to allow for a little more room for comfortable showering while also still saving valuable floor space. Perfect for medium-sized bathrooms, this space-saving option is stylish but a little more comfortable to use.
Rectangular shower trays offer more space for showering, but when paired with sliding doors they can still be quite space-efficient even in a compact room. Similar to square shower trays, rectangular models are longer and this makes them a more popular option since they slot more easily into your bathroom’s dimensions.
Walk In Trays
Walk in shower trays have been designed for use with walk-in shower enclosures. These trays offer a spacious area for showering at one of the ends, and the other end is ideal for drying off. Walk in trays also have a low profile design to enable easy access. With a rectangular shape, these are available in many different shower tray sizes.
Designed to snugly fit into one of your bathroom’s corners, a pentagonal shower tray has five sides and will usually be teamed with either pivoting or bifolding doors. Similar in style to a quadrant tray, they have a flat front rather than a curving one, and this makes this design perfect for compact bathrooms, although it offers less showering space inside.
A D-shaped tray is also similar in design to quadrant trays however, it isn’t quite the same. With a flat back, this style of tray can sit against one of your bathroom’s straight walls while offering the space and style of a curving design. You can put this type of tray in a corner or in the centre of a wall if you wish to make it a key feature. If you have a long but narrow bathroom, this shower tray could work well for you.
Shower Tray Types
As you would imagine, there are multiple shower tray types on the market to pick from. Some of the most common are outlined here.
Standard exposed trays
The traditional type of shower tray is the exposed tray. These come in both low profile and raised profile desigs.
A low profile tray adds modern, smart style to any bathroom while also looking tidy and neat. As an added advantage, they offer easier access than a raised profile model which can improve safety in your home.
A raised profile tray is, as you’d imagine, raised off the floor allowing easier access to the area under the tray where the shower waste trap is located. Although this type of tray is easier to install, it isn’t as easy to access as a low profile model and may not be a good choice for anyone who has mobility issues.
Flat top slate effect trays
A slate effect flat top shower tray has a luxury textured surface for a natural feel and to improve grip. Anti-slip shower trays are a key feature in many homes, especially when children, elderly people, or those with mobility issues use the shower, and a flat top tray could be a perfect choice in such cases. A relatively recent addition to the marketplace, slate effect flat top shower trays are stylish and modern while also being a practical choice.
Built in trays
Also called wetroom formers, built in wetroom shower trays are a tray which is fitted flush with the bathroom floor thus creating a robust platform for showering. Shaped to allow the water to drain correctly, a built in tray will make it far easier to create a practical wetroom that allows for the easiest possible access for those with mobility issues.
Suitable for cutting to shape and size as required, these trays are a versatile choice for even the oddest-shaped room. When installed, they are hidden by the floor surface, making them look seamless and stylish.
Shower Tray Sizes
There are various shower tray sizes for you to choose from to suit the needs of your bathroom as well as your personal preferences. If you have a very compact or awkwardly shaped space, you may be limited in your options, but in other cases, the sky is the limit when it comes to choosing the right sized shower tray for you!
The most common shower tray sizes are:
Rectangular shower trays are ideal for large shower spaces, while a quadrant tray would be a better option for a compact bathroom.
The different Shower Tray finishes
Shower trays don’t just come in different styles and sizes, they also come with different finishes. You can pick from either a standard gloss white finish for a simple, minimalistic look, an antislip gloss white finish for added safety, or a slate effect finish for a contemporary, elegant, streamlined look.
What are Shower Trays made from?
As you’d imagine, you can find shower trays made out of a range of different materials, although some are more common than others. Most shower trays today are made from stone resin with an acrylic cap (made from stone mixed with polyresin). However, there are also some steel shower trays on the market, although these are less available today than they used to be.
As your bathroom will see plenty of use in the years to come, buying a high-quality shower tray is always the best idea to ensure its robustness and durability. Lightweight acrylic shower trays are an affordable choice but they are far more likely to crack and are therefore a poorer choice.
Steel trays are, as you’d guess, made out of steel, with many versions having a steel enamel coating. As a result, you can avoid having a metal finish in your shower and choose a different colour instead. Steel shower trays are durable, strong, stain resistant, and resistant to temperature changes and impacts, but they’re more expensive and more difficult to find.
There are also less options available on the market, so you’re likely to be restricted to just a rectangular or square-shaped tray. Curved and quadrant designs are rarely available.
A stone resin shower tray with an acrylic cap is the best option for your modern shower since it will be both durable and lightweight. There is no risk of warping or bending, and thanks to the acrylic cap, it will also be warm to the touch, scratch resistant, and easy to maintain and clean.
Do I need a Shower Tray with Upstands?
These days, most shower trays don’t have upstands. Upstands provide a small lip that surrounds the tray that can be tiled over or that can have the enclosure frame placed up against it. The idea of an upstand is to create an obstacle that prevents water from escaping the shower enclosure if it should accidentally penetrate through small cracks in between the wall tiles and the shower tray itself.
Most modern shower trays do not require this feature as they have been designed to be effectively watertight without upstands.
Do I need a Shower Tray riser Kit
Whether or not you’re likely to need a shower tray riser kit will depend on the look you wish to achieve in your bathroom and the nature of your pipework. If it’s possible to put the pipework in your bathroom floor, there is no need for a riser kit. The pipework can be hidden away and a floor-level shower tray installed.
On the other hand, if you have a solid floor with no ability to lay the pipework below it, you will need a riser kit to give sufficient space for the pipework. Generally speaking, it’s always a better idea to put a large shower tray directly onto the floor surface to remove or greatly reduce any potential flex, so this is another consideration to keep in mind when choosing the correct shower tray to suit your preferences and also your bathroom.
What Shower Tray Waste Do I Need?
Whatever type of shower tray you choose, you’re going to need a shower tray waste to go with it. There are two main sizes for you to choose from – a 50mm waste or a 90mm waste. When you buy your shower tray, the specifications will list the size of shower waste you’ll need, however if you’re opting for a wetroom former tray, you’ll find that it will have a specific waste built for it.
If you’ll be replacing an existing shower tray for another in exactly the same shape and size, you can opt for a new model that has the waste in exactly the same location as your old one, or alternatively, a tray that you can rotate to place the waste in the original position as that will allow an easy connection to the existing waste pipe.
That won’t be an issue if you’re installing a brand new shower, so in those cases you can opt for a tray that has its waste position located in such a way that you can run the pipework most easily from the shower tray itself to the point where it drains out of the property. Keeping the run of pipework as straight as possible is always wise since it limits the amount of joints needed, and minimises the chances of a leak occurring.
If you’re choosing a low level shower tray, you may require a special waste trap. Sometimes, some of the floor may need to be removed to fit the waste, and provision will need to be made for accessing it as and when required.
It’s imperative to ensure that the waste can drain at a sufficiently fast rate to get rid of all the water inside the tray, and to ensure that the pipe is of a suitable size. If your shower tray doesn’t come with the correct size of waste supplied, it might be best to opt for high flow or fast flow waste which measures 90mm to make sure the water will be removed at an appropriate speed.
How to Choose A Shower Tray
As you may have guessed by now, choosing a shower tray for your newly renovated ensuite, family bathroom or guest bathroom may not be as easy as you first imagined. Here are some of the considerations that you’ll need to keep in mind when it comes to ensuring you’ve selected the most appropriate shower tray to suit your budget, your available space, and of course, your own personal tastes.
- Measure the area – the first step to take when choosing your shower tray is to measure the area where the shower is going to be located. It’s vital to make sure that your measurements are completely accurate as any mistakes will be difficult to rectify after you’ve placed your shower tray order. If your bathroom is very compact, it’s especially important to check that your measurements are correct and that there will be enough room to open the shower door fully. Once the area has been measured, you can decide which size of shower tray to choose to suit your preferences and also the needs of your bathroom.
- Check the pipework – before you order your shower tray, you’ll need to determine where the pipework is going to be located. Will you be able to install the pipework in the floor? Or will you need to raise the shower tray above floor level in order to hide the pipework underneath if you have a solid floor? This is something you need to determine before you start shopping as it will dictate the type of shower tray you select.
- Choose your shower tray style – since there are many different styles of shower tray, you’ll need to pick one that doesn’t just match your chosen aesthetic but that also works in the space you have available. It’s all very well wanting a rectangular shower tray, but if you space will only accommodate a quadrant shower tray you’ll have a problem after you place your order! Of course, you need to choose a shower tray that perfectly matches the shape of your chosen shower enclosure, otherwise, there will be gaps that will allow the water to leak out.
- Choose your shower tray profile – some shower trays have a deep profile while others have a low one. This factor could be a consideration depending on the accessibility needs of anyone who will be using the shower and also your chosen aesthetic. A low profile tray will have a more modern and seamless look that will also help to make your compact bathroom appear to be more spacious than it really is, while also being a safer and more accessible choice for older people and those with mobility problems. On the other hand, a high profile tray is traditional, and may work well in a classic styled bathroom.
- Choose your shower tray material. Shower trays can be made in different materials, so you need to choose the one that’s right for you. Stone resin shower trays with an acrylic cap are often the best choice for most bathrooms as they are resilient, strong, and durable, while also looking very stylish.
- Choose your colour – while most modern shower trays come in white, a great option for a pared-back, minimalistic, and simple aesthetic, there are other colours available. If you’re looking for a more natural feel and look you may want to opt for a slate-coloured tray.
- Keep safety in mind – when you’re showering, you’re at risk of slips and accidental falls, so safety couldn’t be more important. That is especially the case if young children, elderly adults, and those with physical disabilities will be using the facility. While surfaces will become slippery when they get wet, it’s possible to find anti-slip shower trays that feature a special coating that makes showering much safer for everyone.
Once you’ve borne all of these factors in mind, you’ll be well-placed to go shopping for the right shower tray to suit your bathroom.
Armed with the information you need about the size, shape, style, and finish of the shower tray you desire, you’ll be ready to choose the perfect model that not only fits perfectly into your bathroom and your budget, but that also helps you to create the beautiful and elegant bathroom that you’ve always wanted.
Looking to complete your shower enclosure with a shower door or glass enclosure? Take a look at our buying guides to help you pick the right product!