Wet room shower tray

7 Jan 2010
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United Kingdom
As part of a bathroom refurbishment we intend to have a walk in shower. The shower floor area will be 900mm wide and 1300mm long. Two sides of the shower will be against walls, the long wall is an internal stud wall and the narrow 900mm wall is an outside wall through which the waste will be channelled. The other long side will have a 1300mm glass screen, so the area is a rectangle, with the waste at the narrow wall end. Currently, all the plasterboard on the two walls has been removed with a view to put something waterproof on them prior to tanking the whole shower area.

I would appreciate some experience based advice on what type of shower tray to install. As I see it I have two options:

1. Tile over tray with built in waste. So, the tray won't be seen, but provides a good waterproof base and "shape" for tiling over. This is how I imagined the wet room type shower would look.

2. Full shower tray i.e. it is not tiled over. This would have to be flush fitted to the level of the rest of the floor with no or minimal edge i.e. I don't want to step into it by striding over the edge of the tray. I guess the advantage of this type of the tray is that it contrasts against the floor tiles, so makes more of a feature of the tray, rather than it being hidden.

Are there any advantages of 1 or 2 above? While I feel that a full shower tray would be more water resistant, I'm not so sure about the edges of the tray, where it meets the tile. I would guess silicon would be required to fill any gap between the tray and the tiles, which is not always a good look. I assume that a tile over tray wouldn't have this issue as the tanking exercise would also include the tray, so the whole floor below the tiles and probably beyond the screen and entrance would be tanked. Is it necessary to use a special waterproof tile grout to tile a shower area?

Also, is it easier to get the height of either type of tray correct? I would assume there's more room for error with a tile over tray as adhesive could be used to build it up if absolutely necessary. We are also planning to have UFH installed, but not under the shower area, so for tiling over the UFH, there appears to be many "layers". It seems to me, this also makes it difficult to judge exactly how high a full shower tray should be fitted, if this is done before tiling.

Which is the best tradesman to install a shower tray? I had assumed it would be the plumber, however, a tiler has also offered to install a tile over tray and tank it, to ensure he can offer a guarantee of no leaks!

Pointers and advice would be very much appreciated.
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If you are look9ing to set the tray nto the floor then you would be working with the floor depth and whatever is being set onto the floor - i.e. an 18mm chipboard flooring with a 10mm tile and then 5mm adhesive so a low form tray 40-50mm will always be a little proud of the floor.

Ultimately it all comes down to what overall look you want.

whatever look you want though, waterproofing/tanking is always recommended. Any tiles/flooring that will be in the wet/tiled area will need a water resistant adhesive and a waterproof grout and the floor needs to be well supported and lined.

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