When installing or replacing a shower floor, there are so many options ranging from more traditional shower trays to the latest models with more modern materials. And don’t forget those floor-level showers, which are quite popular in luxury hotels, or the classical bathtub.
The main choices for shower floors are:
- Resin shower trays.
- Ceramic shower trays.
- Acrylic shower trays.
- Natural stone shower trays.
- Floor-level showers.
Each choice offers certain advantages as well as a few unique disadvantages. We’re going to take a look at each of them in detail below.
Resin shower trays
The resin shower tray is one of the latest products to reach our bathrooms and they’re becoming more and more in demand as a shower floor choice. Made of polyester resins and mineral fillers, the most premium models are covered by a protective resin layer known as Gel Coat which is used on boat hulls to protect the surface from wear due to hydrolysis and bacteria.
One of the main advantages to resin is the manufacturing process as the materials are blended in a liquid state and later solidify. This means the shower tray can be much more easily adapted to any size or shape. Plus, the colour is added to the liquid mixture meaning it can not only be dyed any hue but also evenly throughout the tray and not just on the surface. In terms of design, no shower tray even comes close to the versatility and almost endless options available with resin shower trays.
The non slip treatment is also added during production to give them C3 slip resistance which is the highest for any bathroom product. They’re in short the absolute safest choice for your shower floor. Once the production process ends, the tray becomes hard for much higher impact and wear resistance than most shower tray materials. Moreover, resin is a warm material to touch unlike acrylic and ceramic which enhances the shower experience especially during those cold winter months.
For all of these reasons it’s the most complete option for any shower floor. Better safety, resistance and design than any other choice without an excessive increase in price.
Advantages of resin shower trays
- Physical resistance.
- Resistant to water wear.
- Non slip.
- Easy to adapt to different shapes and sizes.
- A warmer and more comfortable touch.
- A wide range of colours and customization possibilities.
- A variety of textures and finishes.
Disadvantages of resin shower trays
- Although they’re not expensive, there are cheaper options.
Acrylic shower trays
Acrylic shower trays were the natural evolution of ceramic shower trays as the look is rather similar with the traditional white design. They’re made up of a material known as fibres, with inner reinforcement for a more solid feeling even though they aren’t as robust as a resin shower tray.
Acrylic shower trays are better than ceramic ones in that they are much more non slip. Plus, they resist blows better and can be repaired if broken even though it’s difficult to get them to look equal afterwards. The quality is mid-range; better than ceramic yet worse than resin. The same is true for the price. An acrylic shower tray could be a good choice if you’re on a rather tight budget.
Advantages of acrylic shower trays
- Cheaper and lighter than resin ones.
- More resistant and less slippery than ceramic ones.
Disadvantages of acrylic shower trays
- Very little room for design possibilities.
- Not very resistant to impacts.
- Can be repaired if cracked, but will never be the same.
- Slippier than resin shower trays.
- Cold to touch.
Ceramic shower trays
By ceramic shower trays, we mean the ones you’re used to seeing in bathrooms… the ones that have always been found in the oldest of homes. It’s the same material used to produce sinks and bathtubs. It was and continues to be a very commonly used material for bathroom fittings as it’s rather resistant to water wear and can remain unaltered for years. Plus, it’s also resistant to all types of cleaning products unlike resin with which certain products must be avoided. However, the resistance to impacts is not all that high and a falling object can cause difficult-to-repair cracks.
The design is traditionally white and is very hard to differentiate from acrylic. Unlike resin trays, ceramic ones can’t be customized meaning they may be more complicated to fit into certain spaces. As far as safety, it’s the slipperiest material of all the types used in bathrooms. You must use some type of shower mat on ceramic trays to prevent slipping. The main advantage is the price as it’s the cheapest shower product.
Advantages of ceramic shower trays
- Easy to clean; any product can be used.
- Resistant to wear.
- The cheapest option.
Disadvantages of ceramic shower trays
- Very low resistance to impacts.
- Cracks cannot be repaired.
- Very little room for design possibilities.
- Very slippery.
- Very cold to touch.
Natural stone shower trays
Natural stone shower trays are one of the loveliest-looking choices. They’re beautiful and available in all sorts of models and materials: ceramic tile, marble, slate, granite…
Because of the material, they’re one of the most expensive options yet also one of the most resistant. The main disadvantage lies in the lack of any type of anti-absorbent property since it’s essentially natural stone meaning moisture can gradually infiltrate to the inside of the tray. This causes cracking and even fungi growth. To avoid such problems, a waterproofing and bactericide treatment must be applied often which leads to ongoing maintenance costs.
Advantages of natural stone shower trays
- Many design options.
- The most physically resistant choice.
Disadvantages of natural stone shower trays
- One of the costliest options.
- Continuous maintenance expenses to prevent fungi growth and cracking.
With floor-level showers, the shower surface is the same as the rest of the floor so the entire bathroom has a very attractive and uniform design. Plus, the colour, design and texture options are practically unlimited. The characteristics also offer a spatial advantage as you don’t have to fit anything into the bathroom since it’s just another part of the surface.
The main disadvantage is the installation work; it’s the most complicated of all the shower floor choices. This means higher costs and more time for the construction work in comparison to a shower tray which can be installed and working in just a couple of days.
And let’s not forget that since this type of shower is often designed in a uniform manner where the entire bathroom surface is the same, you’ll have to replace the whole bathroom floor if you ever feel like a change. When it comes to safety, it all depends on the material chosen and the non slip level.
Advantages of floor-level showers
- Unlimited design options.
- Resistant and easy-to-clean.
Disadvantages of floor-level showers
- The anti-slip factor depends on the material chosen; not all are non slip.
- This type of installation is the most complicated, slowest and most costly.
- They’re often designed as uniform flooring throughout the bathroom which means you have to change the entire floor when replacing the shower.
A bathtub is the final choice for a shower floor. They still continue to be the favourite in many homes because of their immense resistance to wear and the fact they can last for years and years. Plus, as a two-for-one, they can be used for a quick shower or a relaxing bath; hot water and bubble fans won’t easily give theirs up. Bathtubs are almost always ceramic.
The advantages (cleanliness, resistance to wear) and disadvantages (slipperiness, low resistance to impacts) are the same as for ceramic shower trays. But there are also a few more disadvantages. Firstly, it’s not the most environmentally-friendly choice as they use more water than showers which is also a disadvantage for people’s pockets. In addition, they pose a spatial problem as they occupy much more room than any shower tray.
Advantages of bathtubs
- Wear resistant.
- Two-for-one: can be used for baths and showers.
Disadvantages of bathtubs
- Higher water consumption: bad financially and for the planet.
- Low resistance to blows.
- Very cold.
- Very slippery.
Now that you know about all the different options and their pros and cons, it’ll be easier to choose the best one for your shower floor. In our opinion, resin shower trays are better than all the rest because of their quality, resistance, durability, design and comfort – all at a very competitive price.