How To Install A Shower Tray

Posted by mprice 03/07/2017 0 Comment(s) Bathrooms,

Shower trays come in all shapes, sizes, colours, styles and materials. For fitting purposes however they fall in to two main categories:

  • Height adjustable shower trays
  • Low profile shower trays

Fitting a shower tray is one of the most important aspects of you shower enclosure, and a badly installed tray can be costly in the long run, so time taken choosing the right tray is time well spent. Do remember to read the manufacturers guidelines first however as some trays do have specific and unique fitting requirements.

Let's have a look at each type in more detail:

Height adjustable shower trays

This tray type is by far the most popular as it's generally a little easier to install and offers easy access to the plumbing underneath for maintenance and cleaning. The tray simply sits on adjustable legs (which makes levelling easy) and are offered with optional riser kits which simply clip on to give a clean, professional finish.

Shower Tray, Stand and Clips

Adjustable shower tray with clip on riser panel

This adjustable shower tray is ideal for installations where a hole cannot be made in the floor for the waste outlet or the floor is out of level by more than 6mm across the tray length.

Low profile shower trays

This tray type is popular for walk in showers or for wet-room environments where low level / easy step in access is desirable, with modern trays having typical step-in height of only 50mm. They are generally more difficult to fit however as they are mounted directly to the floor and therefore requiring a more level fitting surface.

Low Profile Shower Tray

Low profile shower tray

This shower tray is ideal for installations where a hole can be made to fit the waste into the floor/timber/between the joists.

Decision Made?

Now let's move on to the tricky bit, how to fit the shower tray!

How to fit a height adjustable shower tray

  1. Attach the legs to the tray following the manufacturers guidelines. Do not tighten the locking nuts at this point.
  2. Position the tray in its final position and check for any obstructions. Should it not already be in place, decide on the best route for the waste pipe and cut to length for connection to the waste trap. Once its position is confirmed, firmly connect the waste trap to the waste pipe ensuring all seals are correctly located.
  3. Connect the tray waste outlet and trap temporarily to ensure everything lines up and adjust the leg height if necessary to ensure sufficient clearance is given for the waste. Tip: Peel the protective film back from around the waste and edges before connecting the waste, but do not remove it completely until finished.
  4. Level the tray – it is vitally important to ensure the tray is level. The bottom of the tray has been manufactured with built-in fall so the water drains correctly when the tray is level, you therefore do not need to allow for this. Use a spirit level from side-to-side in all directions.
  5. Tighten the locking nut on each leg when you are happy that the tray is completely level - ensure the whole unit is firm and secure with no rocking or movement. Should the feet have screw holes available, these can be screwed to the floor to hold it all securely in place.
  6. Connect the waste to the trap and ensure seals are correctly located. Be careful not to over tighten. We recommend that you use a silicone sealant around the waste to provide a watertight seal. Tip: Try pouring a jug of cold water carefully down the waste – this will quickly show up any leaks / problems that may exist so they can be sorted before you carry on.
  7. Attach the side panel/s to hide all the plumbing pipework and give the completed look. It may be necessary to trim these to size, if you have to, remember the old adage - measure twice, cut once!
  8. Using a good quality, fungal-resistant, silicone sealant, seal between the shower tray and adjoining walls. This will create the final bond and ensure the whole area is watertight. Tip: Clean the area using white spirit and a clean cloth and leave for 15 minutes before applying silicone.

How to fit a low profile shower tray

  1. As this tray type sits directly to the floor, the floorboards and joists need to be able to support the weight and offer no movement or flexibility. Replace / add joists as required and, if the floor boards are not up to the job, replace with marine plywood (at least 18mm thick) in the area where the tray is to sit.
  2. Consideration for the waste outlet and waste pipe need to be made while preparing the floor area. Once the waste pipe has been laid, temporarily place the tray in its final position to ensure the waste outlet exactly marries up with the drain hole in the shower. Once its position is confirmed, firmly connect the waste trap to the waste pipe ensuring all seals are correctly located. The shower tray can now be removed in readiness for the next step. Tip: Always try to create a movable access panel to the waste outlet for easy maintenance or adjustments during fitting.
  3. To ensure the tray is level and that the entire base of the tray is fully supported, a bed of mortar should be laid for the tray to sit on. This should be a mix of 5 parts sand to 1 part cement and should be laid evenly at about 10mm thick.
  4. Gently lower the shower tray on to the bed of mortar (being careful not to disturb the waste outlet) then, using a spirit level across all directions, gently tap the tray to ensure a perfect level is achieved. The bottom of the tray has been manufactured with built-in fall so the water drains correctly when the tray is level, you therefore do not need to allow for this. Tip: Ensure the waste outlet is centrally located in the tray outlet and that the seating washer is positioned correctly before levelling.
  5. Loosely screw in the upper part of the waste connection to the trap to hold this in position while the mortar sets. Don't forget to create a clean face on any exposed edges of mortar. Double check your work to ensure everything has been positioned correctly then leave to set for at least 24 hours.
  6. Peel back the protective film a little way and securely fit upper part of the waste connection to the trap.
  7. Using a good quality, fungal-resistant, silicone sealant, seal between the shower tray and adjoining walls. This will create the final bond and ensure the whole area is watertight. Tip: Clean the area using white spirit and a clean cloth and leave for 15 minutes before applying silicone.

Which ever shower tray you choose, here are a few extra tips to make life just that little bit easier:

  • Don't remove the protective film until you have finished – think of all those things you'll be protecting the tray from – silicone, tile adhesive, grout, paint, to name but a few!
  • It's always better to tile after fitting the shower tray for extra water-tightness.
  • Buying the tray and enclosure at the same time is always advisable to ensure style, size and colour compatibility.

We hope this has helped with your decision making and shed a little light on the pros and cons on the plethora of shower trays available. For a little more inspiration, don't forget to have a look at our extensive range of complementary shower enclosures, panels, doors and accessories

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