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Buying Guide for Shower Trays

Published on: 10/03/2018
Last Updated: 09/06/2022
Buying Guide For Shower Tray

Things to Know Before You Buy

Shower Trays form the essential basis of a great shower set-up and are the base upon which an enclosure can be built. Trays come in a range of materials, from acrylic to steel enamel. As manufacturers build upon their ranges and introduce the latest products into the market, it adds to the confusion about the best options for one’s bathroom. Some essential factors to consider are shape, material, and brand. Rectangular Shower Trays are by far the most common shapes you will find, as these are suitable for creating many different shower enclosures, including walk-in enclosures. Trays are designed to match the look of your enclosures perfectly in shape and size and come in variable thicknesses. Read our Guide on 12 Wet Room Ideas To Transform Your Bathroom

If you want to buy a shower enclosure, read our guide on buying enclosures for bathrooms. There are many options other than shower trays when installing a shower, including a combo two-in-one shower and bath or a wet room. Some people prefer these for aesthetic reasons, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that a shower tray will spoil your overall bathroom style.


Depending upon the way they are built, shower trays come in 4 versions.

Built-in Models:

Buying Guide For Shower Tray

The Built-in model allows easy and seamless access to the shower enclosure. They are typically accompanied by a vertical drainage system and must be pre-built on the bathroom floor. Therefore, this type is most suitable for new build properties.


Buying Guide For Shower Tray

A freestanding version is the easiest to install, as it can be mounted on the floor or a pre-built base. It eliminates any extra labour costs and is ideal for existing setups.

Tiled Model

Buying Guide For Shower Tray

Italian-style showers generally use a tiled tray, which extends to the entire dimension of the enclosure. The tiled model comes in elevated or built-in categories. These update the shower like no other in terms of aesthetics.

Elevated / Up Stand

Buying Guide For Shower Tray

Elevated Models are simply those used with frames and leg sets lift the tray above the floor. Such an installation will easily hide the plumbing and waste. These frames come in shapes and sizes that exactly fit the tray size giving a neat finish.


Rectangular varieties are more suited for larger showering spaces, while quadrant trays may be better with compact bathrooms. At our online store, the smallest trays come in dimensions of 760 x 760mm, while the largest have dimensions of around 2000 x 900mm. There is a multitude of sizes within this range.


The quality and durability depend on the material, used for its construction. A whole range of materials goes into making, from acrylic-capped ABS to steel enamel.

Buying Guide For Shower Tray

Moulded acrylic or Acrylic-capped ABS is warm, lightweight and easy to handle. Despite its lightness, it is strong, durable, resistant to stains and stress and is a popular choice for domestic use. Constructed Acrylic and Acrylic capped ABS sheets, are reinforced for strength and rigidity.

Buying Guide For Shower Tray

Stone Resin models have been traditionally used and come in a wide choice of colours and shapes. The biggest advantage of this material is that it is extremely hard-wearing. It is heavier than acrylic models and equally easy to install.

Buying Guide For Shower Tray

Fireclay trays are less popular as this material can be expensive. it also comes in a wide variety of colours and sizes, is easy to clean and is resistant to stress, stains, fading and chemicals. Extremely hard-wearing, it is heavier than acrylic and will last long even when used daily.

Steel Shower Trays are made from steel and, as they are the floor of your cubicle or quadrant, are designed to drain the water through the waste. However, while some designs are made from steel, many versions are covered with a coat of steel enamel. This enamelling means that you don't necessarily have to have the look of metal in your shower if that's not what you desire.

Advantages Of Steel Trays

Steel is extremely strong, durable, stain resistant, and impervious to impact and temperature change, making them quite convenient. Trays made from steel never leak, and there's no danger of cracking, making them a very safe option compared to acrylic. These are also lighter than other materials, such as stone resin, so you might not need additional reinforcement under the floor to support the weight. Current trends are all about sustainability, and using a steel shower tray is a great step towards lessening your impact on the environment. Having a fixture that will last cuts down on the labour of replacing it every few months or years. Apart from that, showering, in general, uses less water than taking a bath - something that is becoming more and more important in terms of saving natural resources.

Disadvantages Of Steel Trays

You will pay more for a steel tray than you would for a traditional stone resin or acrylic model. You also may not have much choice, since these tend to be square or rectangular, and getting quadrant or curved shapes is difficult. These are stain-proof, but it can be challenging to keep them clean from watermarks, which you may want to consider. Also, some people find the noise of water hitting the steel loud and irritating. These issues are easily eliminated by opting for an enamel version, however, since these will be easier to keep clean as well as quieter.


Shower Trays come with a deep or low profile. The height factor can be an important consideration regarding access and aesthetics inside the bathroom. Modern-day homes prefer to go low profile with a plethora of options in the market. These are installed inset for a seamless finish and have the advantage of making a smaller bathroom feel more spacious. High-walled deep models are robust, hygienic and offer a private area, so they remain popular.


Safety is and should be a priority in any moisture-laden environment. Young children and the less mobile can usually benefit from trays made with safety as a high priority. Some have textured finishes or grooves that make the surface anti-slip, while many have a non-slip surface coat for convenience. The newer versions, also available at our online shop, allow surfaces to be coated with germ-resistant or antibacterial coatings. Deterring the growth of mould and bacteria, such surfaces keep the use of these trays hygienic. It couldn’t get better, especially in shared spaces such as hotels.

Our Kaldewei Nexsys Rectangular 1700mm Steel Shower Tray is one example of a fixture that has both aesthetic appeal and minimum risk of falling. The tray's low profile eliminates tripping hazards while fitting seamlessly into a modern bathroom - perfect for minimalist trends.

How To Install A Shower Tray

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Things to Look for When Buying a Quadrant Tray

When you're looking to buy a new quadrant shower tray for your enclosure, it can be tempting to make your decision based simply on the aesthetic aspects of the enclosure. However, it's important that the look of your quadrant isn't the only thing you take into consideration when making your final choice. Here are a few pointers to keep in mind before making this necessary purchase.

Although there is a wide range of trays readily available, many enclosures are up to 1900mm high without the tray. So if your ceiling height is particularly low, you need to pay close attention to the measurements of enclosures you add to your shortlist, and based on the height of the room, you need to select the right one. Trays come in an option of either slimline or with a riser kit (easy plumb). So, if you are thinking of building a bathroom in the loft, it's better to measure the height of the ceiling and order the enclosure and the tray.

You will have no trouble finding a shower tray that appeals to you aesthetically, thanks to the wide variety of styles we offer at QS Supplies. Besides visual appeal and anti-slip components, you must also think about the plumbing. You need enough room to connect the tray waste to the plumbing. The height of your tray will have an important role here, so you should choose a shower tray that will leave enough room to connect the shower waste to the soil pipe. If you're unsure of your particular plumbing needs or feel there are special circumstances with your set-up, then calling out a plumber for advice would be wise indeed.

How to Install Quadrant Shower Tray

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Consequences of Buying the Wrong Tray for your enclosure

If you're opting for a free-standing shower enclosure, whether it's a walk-in or enclosed shower cubicle, then choosing the correct Tray is going to be essential, or there could be disastrous results! An ill-fitting tray will lead to water leakage and the possibility of ruining your bathroom floor and any timber joists underneath. Besides, there is also the question of useable bathroom space, which you will want to maximise.

Buying the wrong one can force you to fit your enclosure in an area that you would prefer to use in other ways. There is also the question of the materials of the tray; some are better options for certain conditions. Plastic-based trays, for example, are often more slippery than other materials and, therefore, may not be the best option for elderly people or families with small children.

If you want to avoid unnecessary expenditure, water leakage and even accidents, and you would like to efficiently use the space in your bathroom, then you need to think about the specifications for the perfect one at the same time as you are thinking about your enclosure.

How QS Supplies Can Help

As one of the largest suppliers of bathroom accessories in the UK, QS Supplies have a wide range of choices in trays. With different sizes, materials and style options, we are confident that you will be able to find the perfect unit you're looking for. Our staff are always available to answer your questions and help you find the right product. With careful shopping and well-informed advice, you'll have your new bathroom finished in no time!

Our Top Picks

Phoenix Low Profile Walk-In Tray 1700mm x 800mm - LP051

Phoenix Low Profile Walk-In Tray

Get the best low-profile options from the brand Phoenix. One of its finest offerings is the Low Profile Rectangular shower tray that has an elegant design and boasts supreme quality. Its sleek, smart, rectangular form is specially crafted for the intensive use of superior raw materials. The robust tray comes with a 90mm waste at one end for efficient drainage. Lightweight, it is easy to handle and install without much fuss.

Lauren Pearlstone 1200 x 800mm Rectangle Model

Lauren Pearlstone Rectangular Tray

Lauren Pearlstone is exquisitely crafted and meticulously manufactured, making it a perfect blend of beauty and usefulness. Crafted from a polyurethane resin mixed with filler, including clay beads, it offers enhanced durability and a superior finish. It features the patented 'Pearlstone Matrix' that has screw retention so that the optional feet from the leg set can be screwed directly into the tray base. This quality construction is backed by a lifetime guarantee. You can also view our complete range of rectangular shower trays

Kudos Concept 2 1200 x 800mm - DR128

Kudos Concept 2

Manufactured under the most rigid quality control standards, this Kudos Concept 2 Tray offers to ensure durability and efficient performance. It combines Acrylic Capped ABS Stone body with a Stable resin-bonded stone backing. It provides a 55 mm deep installation with optional waste. The white finish and lifetime guarantee make it universally attractive.

Sarabeth Asaff

Sarabeth Asaff
Sarabeth Asaff is a former kitchen and bathroom designer who now works as a home and garden industry writer and expert. She has a working knowledge of all areas of the home improvement industry, and specialises in functional design and material advice.