What Are the Different Types of Wet Room Shower Trays?

Terrie Brockmann

Manufacturers and builders use various terms for wet room shower trays, including shower pans or receptors. One of the most common materials that manufacturers build shower trays out of is acrylic, but other materials, such as fiberglass reinforced plastic and metal, are also used. Almost every company molds the trays into various shapes, which makes it easier for homeowners to customize their wet rooms. Even though most wet rooms have walk in showers, shower trays are available in a range of heights.

Woman posing
Woman posing

Floor-level wet room shower trays require that the drain be located under the floorboards. In rooms where this is not possible, a homeowner may choose a step-up or raised shower tray. Normally, these trays are raised barely enough to clear the drainpipe. Some trays have an upstand or a small rim around the edge of the tray which deters the water from flowing behind the shower tray. Generally, a homeowner can request for the upstand to be on all edges, the edges by the walls, or decline the upstand all together.

Manufacturers use a variety of materials to make wet room shower trays. Typically, the plastic trays, such as acrylic or fiberglass-based plastic, are less expensive than the metal trays. These trays flex more than metal trays. Stainless steel trays and cast iron based trays are more stable and generally more expensive. Porcelain-coated cast iron trays are available in a variety of colors and may be flush with the wet room floor or raised on legs, similar to the vintage cast iron tub style.

Some homeowners do not want the shower tray to be conspicuous. Many manufacturers sell trays that can be fitted with ceramic or other tiles, stone, or wood. Often, this gives a unified look to a wet room. The trays offer homeowners some protection against water damage because companies design the trays to direct the water to the drains. One problem with a thin, flexible plastic tray is that the flexibility may let the grout crack and compromise the seal.

Homeowners and builders have several choices when selecting wet room shower trays. One of the most obvious choices is the tray shape. Manufacturers offer trays that are rectangular or square, angled, or partially curved like the quarter round shaped tray. Another choice is color and often there is a selection of trendy colors, depending upon the manufacturer. Metal trays, such as stainless steel trays, may be available in different finishes.

One of the advantages of using wet room shower trays is that designers develop the trays to tilt the water flow toward the drain. Drains may be the traditional round, grated style or may be a newer design, such as a longer rectangle drain channel. Another choice for drains is the drain covering or grate. Many companies offer different designs for the grate, including circles or geometric designs as drain holes; others offer drains that builders can disguise with floating covers or teak wood inserts.

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