Shower tray problems

A shower tray is a floor mounted waterproof base onto which a shower enclosure is fitted. Traditionally made from stone resin and capped with acrylic or enamel and modern shower trays are slimmer, lighter and although stone resin is still extensively used, steel, plastic, composite and solid surface materials are now widely available. Shower trays are essentially quite simple, strong and stable products which are susceptible to few issues.

Common shower tray issues

Surface cracks

Surface cracks mostly affect stone resin and acrylic capped shower trays often visible within the wet showering area. Cracks can appear for various reasons including structural movement, impact damage and insufficient support under the tray or a production fault. If a crack appears in the surface of a shower tray it should not be ignored because water can escape and the fault may worsen with time. Specialist companies can repair cracks, dents and marks in shower trays and baths although this will depend upon the severity of the damage and the materials used in the construction of the tray. The area around the shower tray waste outlet is particularly vulnerable as this is the thinnest and therefore weakest part of the base.

Shower tray surface damage

Damage to the surface of a shower tray, other than cracks, such as scratches, chips and dents can affect all types of shower trays regardless of construction. Minor damage to ceramic, enamel and acrylic finishes can often be easily repaired with kits readily available from plumber’s merchants and DIY stores or by professionals who offer a wide range of surface repairs.

Solid surface and composite shower trays can be polished or repaired by cutting away the damaged area and inserting a plug which is then polished, the repair is often invisible. The manufacturer should be able to offer advice regarding damage and how it may be repaired.

Surface delamination

Acrylic capped shower trays can occasionally delaminate. Delamination occurs when the bond between the acrylic capped surface and structure of the shower tray (usually stone or sometimes foam in cheaper products) fails allowing separation. When delamination occurs the surface can swell when hot water is applied to the shower tray or move up and down when pressed resulting in cracks. The shower tray cannot be repaired and should be replaced; the fault should be covered under the manufacturer’s warranty.

Twisted shower trays

The problem of twisted shower trays usually only affects stone resin construction. This type of shower tray is formed by pouring resin into moulds. Sometimes the shower tray can become twisted in the casting process, more commonly, but not exclusively, affecting larger rectangular trays. When a twisted shower tray is installed it will be almost impossible to level. Check the shower tray by placing it onto a flat level surface and test for rocking or run out with a good quality spirit level. The shower tray is defective and should be replaced by the manufacturer.