How to Fit a Shower Tray
When planning to fit a shower tray, there are one or two things to be aware of before anything else. Importantly, installation or replacement of a shower tray is generally rated as a medium to moderately difficult task, so it is advisable to seek professional advice if you are not familiar with basic DIY techniques. If you are confident at DIY, then why not follow our step-by-step guide on how to fit a shower tray?
Shower trays are an essential part of a shower enclosure installation, and although it’s important to choose one that’s durable and built to stand the test of time, it doesn’t matter how good the tray is if it’s not fitted properly.
Before fitting your shower tray, you will need to identify if it’s height adjustable or a low level one, as the installation steps slightly differ.
A height adjustable shower tray features legs that are fitted underneath the tray, which allows for easier plumbing above the floor. Low level shower trays are fitted directly onto the floor, which creates a neater and more streamlined look.
If you need help with choosing a new tray, our expert shower tray buying guide will point you in the right direction.
UK shower trays are available in a wide range of sizes, and are designed to suit almost any bathroom shape. They can measure between 25mm-45mm high, and range in width and length between 700mm and 1800mm.
Quadrant and offset quadrant shower trays are great for small bathrooms as the curved front maximises space. Rectangular shower trays are very versatile and can be fitted with a variety of shower enclosures to suit your bathroom design.
The following step-by-step instructions will guide you through fitting a low level shower tray.
Step 1 – Identify the underfloor joists
Ensure you know where the under floor joists are – to do this you will need to lift the floorboards. Once you have visibility, draw a pencil line to identify where the under floor joist is positioned. This will help ensure that you position the tray correctly.
Step 2 – Positioning the shower tray
Ensuring the area you have chosen to place your shower tray is level, you can now position it with the 90 degree angle flush to the walls. Next, take your pencil and draw around the outer edges.
Again, with your pencil, outline the shower tray’s waste hole onto the floor below and also draw a line 8mm from the floor, along both walls. This will help you to identify the depth of your mortar placement.
NOTE: Ensure there isn’t any electrical wiring beneath the floor prior to drilling or cutting.
Step 3 – Cutting the shower tray waste hole
Having made your outlines you may now remove the shower tray and, using your hole saw, cut out the space you will need for the shower tray waste. Having cut out the relevant space, check that the waste trap fits easily into the hole you have created. If the fit is a little too snug, use your jig saw to enlarge the hole.
NOTE: Ensure the shower tray waste trap is positioned correctly to take into account under floor plumbing.
Step 4 – Prepare mortar
Before mixing your mortar, you should apply your waterproof sealant to the entire area upon which the shower tray will sit. When preparing mortar, you should use a 5:1 mix, meaning one part cement to five parts sand. You should also aim to create a thick, or stiff mix, which you will then apply as a base for your shower tray, prior to the install. This will help you to ensure that the base is stable, supported and level at all points.
Step 5 – Applying the mortar
Once you have prepared your mortar you can begin applying it in the chosen area. Remember to level off your mortar at the 8mm line, which we measured earlier.
Once your bed of mortar is level, it is time to place your shower tray into the correct position. Your shower tray will come with a plastic covering. Before bedding your tray into place, be sure to peel back the plastic along each wall facing edge. It can be secured with tape along the top edge.
Step 6 – Fit the shower tray
Now that your mortar is laid, it becomes difficult to lift and place the shower tray in position with the required degree of accuracy. This is when your glass suction lifters are essential. However, don’t forget to give your shower base a “test lift” prior to allowing the lifters to take the full weight.
Place the shower tray in position and use your level to ensure it’s level. Using a small trowel, remove excess mortar from around the base, and allow 24 hours for the mortar to set. Once set apply a good quality silicone sealant around the edges where the shower tray meets the wall. This should be applied liberally in order to fill any gaps. You can learn how to seal a shower tray in this step-by-step guide.
The following step-by-step instructions will guide you through fitting a shower tray with a panel and leg set. If you don’t want to use a panel and leg set to install your shower tray, please refer to the above instructions.
Step 1 – Attach the adjustable feet
Begin by screwing the adjustable feet into position underneath the shower tray.
Step 2 – Fittiing the shower tray waste
Next, fit the waste to the shower tray and connect to the trap.
Step 3 – Position the shower tray
Position the shower tray where required and use a spirit level to check it’s perfectly level. The feet can easily be adjusted with an adjustable wrench if needed.
Step 4 – Connect the waste to the outlet pipe
Once the shower tray is level, you can then connect the waste to the waste outlet pipe. It’s a good idea to check there aren’t any leaks.
Step 5 – Attach the panels
Now you can clip on the side panels, which will conceal all pipework from view.
Step 6 – Seal around the edges
Complete your shower tray installation by sealing around the edges with silicone sealant and a sealant gun. Also seal the sides and the join between the panels and tray for a proper shower tray seal.
It’s important to choose the correct type of shower tray waste, as there are different types available. Follow the below step-by-step instructions for fitting a 90mm high-flow shower tray waste.
Step 1 Peel the masking away
Remove the masking from around the shower tray waste area by carefully peeling it away. Make sure to keep the masking on the rest of the tray to keep it protected.
Step 2 Use a good quality silicone sealant
Use a good quality silicone sealant for sealing between the waste and tray. It’s important to use a sealant that’s suitable for this task.
Step 3 Apply a small bead of sealant
Apply a small bead of silicone sealant to the waste top nut flange, which ensures a waterproof seal.
Step 4 Insert the waste
Inset the waste into the shower tray and hold the trap underneath.
Step 5 Tighten the waste
Once you’re happy the waste is in the correct position, tighten in a clockwise direction until it’s a tight as you can get it.
Step 6 Wipe away excess sealant
Wipe away any excess sealant and position the top part with the chrome cap into the waste hole. You have now fitted your shower tray waste.
Seal a shower tray, Fit a shower enclosure, tile a shower wall, regrout tiles, install a thermostatic mixer shower…
DIY is a great way to save time and money, however to avoid disappointment, invalidating your warranty, and potential injury we recommend hiring a trained professional. This how to fit a shower tray guide is for your information only and if you do decide to be bold and try it, we cannot be responsible for any outcome.
John has a background in sports journalism, and lists content writing amongst his primary passions. He provides expert bathroom trends commentary and analysis, as well as offering meticulously researched answers to the most frequently asked bathroom posers.