The shower tray with shower enclosure and taps is one of the most important elements of the shower area, the place in the house entirely dedicated to relaxation and psycho-physical well-being.
In particular, shower trays are born as purely functional elements: they are designed so that the water flows out correctly and is directed exactly at the channel or drain of the shower.
Today, however, the shower tray, thanks to the wide range of sizes, shapes and materials available, is consistently integrated into the bathroom design project, becoming a fundamental part of it.
The shower tray, shower enclosure, cladding and faucets are therefore the basic elements for the design of the shower area: usually chosen in matching colours, they can also be designed with well-balanced contrasts in style and material.
What is the right shower tray for your bathroom?
The shower tray is the first element to choose because it is linked to the shape and size of the bathroom and determines the shape of the shower enclosure. Before choosing the shower tray that best suits your needs, it is necessary to carefully evaluate the design of the product and the available space, also taking into account the height development that the shower will have and the amount of space the shower enclosure and doors may need to open and close it correctly. For sliding doors, the problem will be minimal, but for hinged doors that open outwards you may need much more space.
Shower trays are available on the market with standard dimensions. In some cases it is possible to find shower trays with a fixed width (ranging from 70 to 90 cm) and variable length. Other companies offer made-to-measure shower trays, which are produced according to the customer's design or which adapt to special or irregular space requirements. It is therefore not necessary to give up design and style, even with bathroom environments that are difficult to design.
It is clear that when choosing a shower tray you need to make the most of the room surface area and the structure of the entire bathroom: whether we have enough space for a standard shower tray or whether we need a custom-made shower tray also leads to cost differences.
Not to be overlooked is also the installation of the shower tray, which is also necessary to understand how water drainage will work. The installation in fact seems very simple but it is necessary that the hole in the plate matches the hole in the drain.
Flush shower trays are the latest trend in bathroom furniture because they create continuity with the floor. Flush floor plates are available in a variety of materials but often the same material as the floor is chosen: the result is a continuous, homogeneous and uninterrupted surface. The flush shower tray can make your bathroom very elegant especially when combined with a walk-in shower enclosure. Many, however, often renounce this solution, fearing that the water will end up everywhere due to the lack of an edge containing it. In fact, with the right gradients and a well-proportioned exhaust duct, the problem does not arise at all. The shower tray flush with the same material as the floor also makes it possible to create very large showers at low cost. The only aspect to consider is that the floor-level shower tray requires a very careful preliminary design phase compared to a traditional shower tray.
If, on the other hand, we opt for a more traditional solution, we can choose a shower tray totally or partially recessed in the floor that maintains a perimeter edge of a few centimetres so that the bathroom does not flood. In fact, the shower tray with raised edge is a pure stylistic choice. Visually, the presence of the edge gives us the idea of containment and therefore we are sure that the water cannot escape from the shower cubicle: however, even if there was no edge, we can rest assured because we do not risk flooding if the bathroom is designed correctly.
A choice halfway between the two solutions illustrated are the ultra-flat shower trays which have a very reduced thickness (around 3 cm) but which can also be installed not flush with the floor.
Shapes and colours of modern shower trays
There are different shower tray shapes, some of which are better suited to our bathroom than others.
Square shower trays usually have a side measuring 70 to 100 cm. It is a very flexible and versatile shower tray as it can be installed on top of various types of shower enclosures (hinged, folding, etc. ).
Rectangular shower trays are generally larger and therefore more spacious than square trays. Also in this case it is possible to install the most varied shower enclosures but most rectangular trays are flanked by sliding doors as the length of the shower tray allows the doors to slide easily. Rectangular shower trays can be very large, allowing the installation of a shower enclosure for two people.
If we want to take advantage of the corners, the corner shower tray is for us. The corner shower trays often have a curved side on which it is possible to install sliding or hinged doors with a considerable saving of space in the bathroom.
If, on the other hand, you want a more particular or whimsical shower, you can find shower trays of the most varied shapes, such as circular or even pentagonal shower trays. Just as colourful sanitary fixtures, often coordinated with furniture or upholstery, are back in fashion, shower trays can also be coordinated with bathroom furnishings thanks to the choice of colours available for each model. Colour is one of the factors that helps to create harmonious and personalised interiors that convey style. Obviously if we want a coloured shower tray it is important to evaluate the material used also according to the ease of cleaning and maintenance. The simpler the surface, the easier it will be to clean and the longer it will maintain its attractive appearance.
Traditional materials for designer shower trays
Contemporary production technologies offer endless finishes for modern shower trays. You can choose between acrylic and ceramic materials, stone or stone effect, resin or other innovative technical materials, with surfaces ranging from rough to ultra-smooth finishes. This means that the style of your bathroom can also be determined by the type of shower tray you choose.
If you're standing what kind of material is best for a shower tray, the answer is that there isn't one: it depends on your preferences in terms of aesthetics and personal needs. There are materials with a rougher texture, such as Solidgel, suitable in more rustic or industrial style bathrooms, and others that are very smooth to the touch, such as Technogel shower trays.
The most common are the ceramic shower trays, a very common and very convenient material. It is resistant and does not stain, but it could also be cold to the touch. Ceramic shower trays are also extremely heavy and if you drop something sharp or heavy on them they can shatter or break.
Manufacturers have recently moved a bit away from this material due to the time needed for its processing, replacing ceramic with resin. The resin shower trays are very thin and suitable for installation flush with the floor. The resin, containing some mineral fibres in its composition, has many characteristics including hardness, compactness and malleability. Normally the surface is treated with a polyester resin-based compound, gelcoat, in order to waterproof the surface below and define its colour. Different finishes can be obtained with resin: from the simple smooth surface to the stone or concrete effect. Resin shower trays can be coloured and have a thickness ranging between 3 and 4 centimetres; they can be supplied with or without a raised perimeter edge. Most resin plates have an anti-slip treatment that guarantees maximum grip and total safety. The resin is warm to the touch and any scratches can be easily restored.
An acrylic shower tray can be available in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. Like the ceramic shower tray, the acrylic one is cheap, but also fast and easy to install due to the lightness of the material. It is also warm to the touch of the feet, non-slip and can reach considerable size. Acrylic shower trays have many advantages but are also relatively fragile and do not provide the same feeling of strength as other materials. Also, if it comes into contact with heat sources or UV rays, acrylic tends to yellow. Long-term shampoo and soap residue can leave marks.
The stone shower trays, on the other hand, are extremely refined. In particular, the marble shower tray gives elegance to the bathroom area and is also resistant and long-lasting. It is also very heavy and expensive and is always a stone cold to the touch.
Shower trays: innovative technologies and materials
Materials like Corian and Hi-Macs work perfectly in bathrooms and wet environments. They can be manufactured in any configuration and design and allow seamless bathroom surfaces that reduce the need for cleaning, reduce the formation of mold and bacteria and water loss. Corian shower trays are available in a wide range of colours, are very durable and heat resistant. Together with Solid Surface shower trays, they offer exceptional hygiene, durability and resistance properties.
Among the latest trends are teak shower trays treated with natural oils that protect it from humidity and ensure its shine. Teak is warm in contact with the feet and can be used in two different ways.
The first is the teak insert that adapts to existing shower trays: it is a kind of removable wooden grid through which water flows.