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Check out our useful hints and tips articles to help you get the best out of your home interiors projects.

Shower trays: avoiding the pitfalls

Shower tray. Photograph by Skyro

It's not the most exciting item you'll ever buy for your bathroom. In fact, it's easy to assume that all shower trays are pretty much the same and that the only thing you really need to think about is the size. Unfortunately it's a little more complicated than that.

Choosing a shower tray that's insufficiently sturdy or otherwise unsuitable for your bathroom is potentially going to cause you considerable difficulty in the long run. You no doubt spend quite a bit of time in choosing your actual shower. It's certainly worth taking just a little time out to make sure you get a quality shower tray as well!

What's the problem?

Unfortunately here in the UK (at least up until recently) we were traditionally not particularly good at building watertight bathrooms. In fact, if you live in an older property, there's a strong possibility that your bathroom was installed as an afterthought some time after the house was constructed. The last thing you need is a gap or a crack emerging in your shower tray, as over time, a gradual drip is going to cause water damage. Get the installation and the initial choice of material right and you'll avoid a whole heap of work further down the line.

What should I look out for in the choice of materials?

Twenty-five years ago or so, there were some pretty nasty shower trays out there. Acrylic, in particular, earned itself an unenviable reputation due to its propensity to crack. Fortunately, things have moved on.

Go to a reputable bathroom furniture supplier and you should be able to get your hands on a reliable, soundly-constructed shower tray in either acrylic, stone resin or enamelled steel. It's worth considering the relative merits of each though before you make your decision. Here's a rundown of the typical types available.

Acrylic: Synthetic plastics have come on leaps and bounds and so acrylic is an extremely popular option. It's lightweight and warm underfoot. A word of caution, though: make sure you get one with a solid baseboard (reinforced with either fibreglass, steel, foam or wood); otherwise you've still got the potential problem of cracking.

Stone resin: A resin mix is lined with a face material. If this coating is gel it may lose its sheen over time. Many people prefer an acrylic coating on their resin tray - this way you get the benefits of acrylic with an incredibly solid base. Warning: these trays are heavy so make sure your floor can take the weight!

Enamelled steel: An ultra-modern option. Featuring an enamelled surface, this option gives an attractive glossy sheen and conducts heat incredibly well. It is expensive, though!

Achieving the perfect fit

Whatever shape you go for, your main priority is to ensure that your bath tray is properly sealed to avoid any possible leakage. If you have the luxury of a large floor space to play with, you can afford to go for a big and bold rectangular or square tray. Equally there are lots of quadrant and pentagonal options out there and these are great for making the most of an awkward corner or limited space.

Remember: it's always worth considering which shower tray to buy at the same time that you're choosing your actual shower - a well-made, properly fitted shower tray will bring you years of hassle-free shower usage.

Photo credit: Skyro at Freeimages

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