Replacing your shower tray can be an easy and inexpensive way to give your bathroom a new look without a lengthy remodeling process. Shower trays and enclosures are available in a wide variety of styles, shapes, and colors and homeowners can choose from several excellent materials.

Choosing A Shower Tray for Your Bathroom

Replacing the shower tray in your bathroom can be an inexpensive way to spruce up the space and update your shower at an affordable price. Shower trays come in a variety of shapes, colors, and materials that provide excellent options for even the most eclectic tastes.

A high-quality tray can last for many years, and they are often compatible with a number of different enclosures and doors. This level of versatility means that you can mix and match products to suit both your personal tastes and your budget.

What Is A Shower Tray?

A shower tray is essentially a base for a shower area that helps collect the water, create a smooth base to clean and provide a pleasing visual aesthetic for your bathroom. The shower tray is an integral part of keeping water in check in your bathroom and ensuring that water doesn't flow into unintended areas and cause damage.

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Trays come in different shapes and sizes; however, most of them will have a lip that prevents the water from overflowing. They are also tapered in a specific way to ensure that the water that comes out of your showerhead ends up flowing down the drain instead of pooling in other areas.

A new tray can also reduce the cost of updating your bathroom and can pair well with a number of different shower enclosures and doors to suit your decor and personal tastes. If you want to get rid of your tub, or outdated standing shower, a new tray can offer the chance for a different look at an affordable price.

Shower Tray Shapes

There are many different shapes to choose from when it comes to trays, and the space you have available, as well as your personal tastes, will help narrow down your selection. Trays come shapes such as square, rectangular, quadrant, and more non-traditional shapes such as P-shaped, pentagon, or D-shaped.

Some of these shapes are standard and will fit with a variety of enclosures from different brands, while others are more designer-specific and may reduce the number of options you have when choosing enclosures or doors.

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Keep in mind that certain shapes will make the most of the space that you have in your bathroom and will also provide the roomiest feel when showering. Rectangle shower trays are known for being more spacious than square ones but using a rectangular tray might mean that your options for shower doors are limited.

If you need to use an unusually shaped tray in your bathroom, don't hesitate to go with the shape that makes the most of your unique space. Not only will you get the best look, but you'll likely make the most of the area which will improve the overall feel.

Tray Height

There are generally two options when it comes to trays:

  • Raised
  • Flat, or Slimline

Flat, or slimline trays are often more visually appealing as they fit snugly to the floor and have an overall flat appearance that makes them an attractive choice for walk-in showers.

Raised, or easy-to-plumb trays are also a popular option for those that want a tray that is easy to install. A raised tray has legs which allow you to adjust their height as needed. The installation for these is easy since they are adjustable but be aware that they can become a tripping hazard if they are too high.

Before deciding if you want a flat or raised tray you’ll want to look at your space and measure to see how much room there is for a tray and an enclosure with doors. A raised tray may be easier to install, but shorter ceilings, your current plumbing, and other architectural elements may be worth considering in your space.

Tray Materials

There are a variety of tray materials available, and each one has a slightly different look. Selecting a different color or material can help make your bathroom look fancier, but each material has its own strengths and weaknesses to consider as well.

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Ceramic

Ceramic used to be the most common material at one point, and it’s an affordable option that comes in many colors. This material is stain resistant and durable which makes it a good value for the price.

The drawback to this material is that it can be cold to the touch which may not be ideal for some bathrooms. It is also a heavy material that can shatter, crack, or chip should you drop something heavy on it.

Marble

Marble is a beautiful material for shower trays, and classic marble is both exclusive and amenable to many different bathrooms. This material is also durable, and long-lasting, but may need to be refreshed with a sealer periodically.

The main drawback to using marble is that it can be expensive and you'll likely need to visit a boutique style retailer to see or purchase one in person. This material is also very heavy which makes it both challenging and very expensive to ship.

Acrylic Capped Stone Resin

The manufacturing process for acrylic capped stone resin is much shorter than that of ceramic, and therefore it has taken the lead as the most popular tray material. Manufacturers like the shortened production time and homeowners appreciate the affordable price.

This material is also available in a wide variety of shapes and multiple sizes and colors. The acrylic cap provides a warmer touch, but the stone resin beneath provides ample strength and durability.

The enhanced strength allows this material to be made into thinner trays that have a thickness of as little as 25mm. With such a wide variety of options, it's easy to find the exact tray in the color and shape that you like. The only downside is that a few of these models can be a bit heavy depending on the design you choose.

Acrylic/ ABS

Acrylic is another material that comes in a wide variety of shapes and sizes while also being affordable like ceramic. Acrylic is also very light which allows for easy installation, and a warmer feel.

There are many advantages to using acrylic in your bathroom; however, one main complaint is that it is relatively flimsy and doesn’t provide the same robust feeling underfoot that other materials provide.

In fact, cheaper trays may even have a bit of noticeable flex to them when underfoot so be sure to choose carefully and select a tray with a bit more thickness for a more firm feel.

Measuring and Cost

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Measuring for your new tray and deciding on your budget can be a daunting process, but once you have an idea of the tray size you are looking for the process becomes much simpler. Carefully measure the space and decide what shape would work best for your overall design.

If you plan only to replace the shower area, this may be a simple task. However, if you are remodeling an entire bathroom, it may be wise to make more extensive plans or even enlist the help of some home planning software to make sure that smaller details do not get overlooked.

Measuring Tips

When measuring,  keep in mind the amount of clearance that your shower enclosure or doors might need in order to open and close properly. For sliding doors, the clearance will be minimal, but for doors that open outwards a considerable amount of space might be needed.

Also, consider the overall space in your bathroom and decide how much room you want to dedicate to a shower enclosure and doors. For smaller areas, there are sliding doors and smaller door options available, but if you have a larger space, you may choose another option for a more luxurious feel.

If you are in doubt about what the new tray will look like in your space, sometimes it can help to cut out a piece of cardboard or paper to size and lay it on the floor to get an idea of the area that the shower will take up. This way you can stand in the space, move around, and visualize the result.

Cost Considerations

There are a few factors that go into the cost of a shower enclosure and tray that you may want to factor in when creating your budget. Shower replacement is one of those projects where cheaper is not always best and spending a little bit more may make you happier and give you a longer lasting result.

Many shower enclosures are made from glass, and the thickness of this glass will dictate their pricing. Thickness is generally measured in millimeters, and standard thicknesses range from 4mm to 10mm.

The bigger your enclosure and tray, the more it will cost, but the style shouldn't dramatically alter the price. When selecting between brands there may be a cost difference for very similar materials, however less expensive brands can still offer excellent quality.

Lastly, you’ll want to consider any accessories that you might need for your new shower tray and enclosure. For example, depending on your shower tray you may need to do some plumbing work, or purchase handles for the doors.

There are also practical accessories such as traps to catch debris like hair and dirt, and enclosure coatings that can reduce how often your shower needs cleaning.

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