The Anatomy of a Shower and How to Install a Floor Tray
Learn all the main components of putting together a shower stall, including installing a floor tray, acrylic wall and a bath screen.
Unless a shower is used in a wet-room design, an enclosure is needed to prevent the surrounding area from getting wet. In most cases this takes the form of a shower tray and a stall. Screens or shower curtains are used when a shower is above a bathtub. A third option is to create a large, walk-in shower using screens, or tiled or glass-block walls.
This type of shower stall is an option in large bathrooms. A "drying area" separates the entrance and the shower, making a door or curtain unnecessary. A walk-in shower can be installed in much the same way as a standard tray and stall. Alternatively, you can build one yourself. Stud walls are the easiest option. Use water-resistant wallboard rather than drywall for the interior walls. This provides a good surface for tiling and gives a fully waterproof finish. Alternatively, build a glass-block wall.
Anatomy of a Shower
Plumbing requirements vary depending on the type of shower you choose. A shower stall with an acrylic tray is shown here.
Installing a Shower
Plumbing requirements differ depending on the shower type — clear instructions should be supplied with your shower. As a general rule, you will want to route 1/4-inch water supply pipes using as few elbows as possible. If you have a masonry wall, the pipes need to be hidden in the wall in protective sheaths. Because walls inside the shower will be tiled and waterproofed, where possible provide emergency access to the shower shut-off valves from the other side of the wall behind the shower. Alternatively, put the valves somewhere more accessible farther down the pipe route, but make sure you label them carefully. Waste pipes will also need to be installed with a P-trap and zinc drain pipes. You will need a rubber gasket around the drain to seal the connection.
Installing a Shower Screen
A screen is required if you are installing a shower over a bathtub. They are attached to the wall at the shower end of the bathtub. It is essential that the rim of the tub is flat to create a watertight seal. If your tub has a curved rim, then shower curtains are a better option.
Installing a Shower Tray and Stall
Basic instructions for installing a tray and stall are given here, but you should always follow any specific guidelines given by the manufacturer or requirements directed by local code officials. Put the tray in place before you begin to tile the walls or lay any flooring. Choose a position for the shower that will allow you to secure the stall into a wooden stud or a solid wall. There are two main types of trays, each installed by a different technique. Once you have installed the tray, the next step is to tile the walls within the shower stall. The bottom row of tiles should overlap the top of the tray rim. After tiling, add the stall as you would install a screen. Then seal the joints between the stall, tray, walls and floor with bathroom caulk. Add the shower valve, and connect the supply and waste pipes as required.
Installing a Solid Resin or Ceramic Shower Tray
Place the tray with its drain outlet in a good position to connect to the waste pipes. Mark the position of the drain and the tray on the floor.
Remove a section of the floor in the position you marked using a jigsaw. The hole must be big enough to house the trap.
Remove a second section of flooring next to the first, but outside the tray area. The drainage pipe for this type of tray runs under the floor, so you need to provide access to make the connection with the trap. To create a permanent access hatch, screw furring strips around the edge of the hole to support the section of flooring you have removed. (You should be able to reach under the shower from the access hole.)
Carefully spread a thin bed of mortar over the marked-off area for the tray to sit on.
Screw the trap to the drain as for a sink. Place the tray on the mortar bed and check if it is level. Adjust the mortar if needed. Clean the edges when tray is level.
Allow the mortar to set for at least 24 hours. Connect the shower trap with the waste pipe, using the access hatch you made in the floor.
Use a dispenser to apply a continuous bead of bathroom caulk around the edge of the tray.
Installing an Acrylic Shower Tray and Stall
Set the shower tray in place and check it is level, then using the fasteners provided, attach the tray to the wall studs (Image 1).
Seal the gaps around the joint between the tray and the wall with a bead of caulk (Image 2).
Clip together the side panels of the shower according to the manufacturer's instructions (Image 3).
Attach the panels to the studs with screws. Be sure to check that the shower is level and all connections are tight (Image 4).
Installing a Shower or Bath Screen
Mark the attachment points of the channel. Drill pilot holes through the tiles and insert plugs. Screw the channel in place. Hold the channel sections vertically (Image 1).
Carefully slide the panels into their channels. Make sure they are vertical, and resting on the rim of the shower tray or tub to provide a seal (Image 2).
Screw the hardware provided into the side of the channel to secure the screens in position (Image 3).
Use a dispenser to apply a bead of bathroom caulk down the outside edge of the channel. Don't apply caulk on the inside edge (Image 4).