Choosing the perfect shower tray can be as pivotal as selecting the right bed; it's a decision you'll live with daily. In this focused comparison, we delve into the distinctions between Wet Room Shower Trays and Acrylic Trays, two leading contenders in the realm of bathroom design.

Wet Room Vs Acrylic Trays 4

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As you peruse through the 'Shower Tray Buying Guide', you may find yourself at a crossroads between the contemporary wet room shower trays and the classic acrylic options. Each brings a unique set of attributes to the table, from the seamless integration and simplicity of wet room trays to the cost-effective and versatile nature of acrylics. Understanding the nuances between these options will not only refine your bathroom's functionality but also its aesthetic, ensuring your choice is well-informed and tailored to your home's needs. Let's begin by assessing the inherent benefits of the Wet Room Shower Tray.

Difference between Wet Room and Bathroom
A wet room is a waterproofed bathroom where the shower area is not enclosed by a shower tray and screen, but is instead open, often at the same level as the rest of the room. The entire room is designed to handle water exposure with a gradient floor leading to a drain, making the entire space effectively the shower area. Wet rooms are finished with materials such as tiles, vinyl or micro cement, all of which require specific waterproofing to prevent leaks. They are known for their sleek, modern appearance and accessibility.

The Case for Wet Room Shower Trays

In the intricate dance of bathroom design, the shower tray plays a pivotal role, often setting the stage for the entire aesthetic and functional flow of the space. Wet room shower trays are becoming a popular choice for their streamlined look and the way they integrate into the modern bathroom ethos. However, as with any design choice, they come with their own set of pros and cons that should be carefully considered.

Embarking on this detailed exploration, we will first outline the key advantages and potential drawbacks of wet room shower trays. This structured approach aims to provide a balanced view, ensuring that each facet is given due attention. Following this, we will transition into an in-depth discussion of each point, offering a comprehensive look at why these features may or may not be conducive to your specific bathroom vision.

Advantages of Wet Room Shower Trays:

  • Improved accessibility, particularly beneficial for those with mobility issues.
  • Simplified cleaning and maintenance, thanks to fewer seams and joints.
  • Enhanced durability and longevity, reflecting the quality of materials used.
  • A wide array of customization options, allowing for a personalized bathroom design.
  • A positive impact on property value, appealing to contemporary homebuyers.

Potential Drawbacks:

  • Generally higher cost in comparison to more traditional options like acrylic.
  • More complex installation process that may require professional expertise.

With the scene set, let's delve deeper into the myriad of advantages that wet room shower trays offer, starting with their unparalleled ease of accessibility. This characteristic is not only a nod to inclusive design but also a testament to the functionality that can coexist with sleek, modern aesthetics.

Check article: What is a shower tray?

Pros: Easy Accessibility 

One of the standout features of wet room shower trays is their floor-level access, which offers a seamless transition from the bathroom floor to the shower. This design is not just aesthetically pleasing; it's a practical bonus for the elderly and those with reduced mobility. By eliminating steps and ledges, wet room trays reduce the risk of trips and falls, making the showering experience safer and more comfortable for everyone.

Pros: Ease of Cleaning

The cleaning regimen for wet room shower trays finished with tiles or vinyl is straightforward due to the non-porous and smooth surfaces these materials offer. Tiled surfaces, in particular, allow for the use of a wide range of cleaning products without the risk of damage, ensuring the space can be maintained in a hygienic state with minimal effort. Vinyl finishes also provide an easy-to-clean surface, requiring just a simple wipe-down to keep the area looking pristine. Both options result in a shower space that not only looks clean but also reduces the time and effort required for maintenance.


Pros: Durability and Longevity

In the landscape of wet room shower trays, the final finish is a substantial factor in the longevity and durability of the installation. Tile finishes are renowned for their robustness, offering unmatched longevity with a strong resistance to cracking and scratching. With proper care, a tiled surface can maintain its pristine appearance for a considerable length of time. On the other hand, vinyl finishes, although they may not boast the same long-term durability as tiles, still provide a resilient and waterproof surface that holds up admirably under regular usage.

Find offers for wet room waterproofing materials

However, it's not just the surface finish that's important. The material composing the base of the wet room tray plays a pivotal role in the overall integrity of the shower area. A quality tray should be strong yet lightweight and designed to prevent any leakage that could lead to long-term damage. XPS foam, known for its rigid structure and moisture resistance, is an exemplary material for such a base. It serves as a reliable foundation that supports the finish, ensuring that the beauty of the tiles or the sleekness of the vinyl is not only surface-deep. The combination of a sturdy, leak-proof base with a durable finish makes for a shower tray that stands the test of time, offering peace of mind and a lasting investment in any bathroom.

Pros: Customizability

The modern wet room shower tray is designed with personalization in mind. Standard sizes range from 800x800 to 1000x1500, accommodating a variety of bathroom dimensions. Whether you need a compact corner tray or a large rectangular area, there's a solution to fit every bathroom's dimensions. The array of available shapes and sizes ensures that these trays can be customized to meet the exact needs of your bathroom's layout, resulting in a seamless integration and a bespoke appearance.

Moreover, the adaptability of wet room trays extends beyond standard sizes. For those bathrooms with unconventional dimensions or unique design features, wet room trays can be adjusted to fit even the most atypical spaces, including those with curves, angles, or specific patterns. This level of customization assures that no matter the challenge your bathroom space presents, there is a wet room tray solution that can be tailored to meet it.

For those interested in exploring the full spectrum of customizable options, a bespoke configurator tool is available:

Visit bespoke configurator

This resource can be invaluable for envisioning the possibilities and pinpointing the perfect fit for your individual space without the need to navigate through complex catalogs or technical specifications. Remember, the right wet room tray not only adds to the functionality and aesthetics of your bathroom but also ensures that it reflects your unique style and meets your precise needs.

Pros: Property Value Increase

Incorporating a wet room shower tray into a bathroom design not only elevates the space's functionality but also its market appeal. The sleek and modern look of a well-executed wet room shower is highly desirable, potentially increasing the overall value of the property. This aesthetic and practical upgrade can make a significant difference when it comes to renting or reselling a home.

Cons: Higher price

While it's true that wet room shower trays may come with a higher price tag compared to traditional acrylic options, this cost reflects the premium quality and added value they bring to your bathroom. Investing in a wet room tray is not just about paying for a product but investing in a feature that elevates the entire bathroom experience.

It should be noted, however, that the higher costs associated with wet room trays are largely due to the more complex installation process. This complexity might necessitate additional expenditure on skilled labor and installation services. Beyond the tray itself, one must also consider the cost of the chosen floor finish—be it tiles, mosaic, timber, or concrete—which adds to the overall expense. Vinyl flooring can be a cost-effective alternative, potentially lowering the total cost while still achieving the desired waterproof and aesthetic qualities.

Choosing a wet room shower tray is, therefore, a consideration of value over cost. For those who prioritize longevity, aesthetic appeal, and a spa-like bathroom environment, a wet room tray is a worthwhile investment that transcends its initial premium, offering enduring quality and style.

Cons: Complex Installation

The installation of a wet room shower tray is recognized for its complexity and typically requires professional expertise to ensure it is executed correctly. The intricacies of the process, from ensuring a watertight seal to achieving the precise gradient for water drainage, mean that it is often beyond the scope of a standard DIY project. This complexity can lead to higher installation costs, as it necessitates the involvement of tradespeople who specialize in this type of bathroom fitting.

However, for the advanced DIY enthusiast equipped with the right tools and a detailed understanding of the installation process, it is not an insurmountable task. There are ample resources available for those who choose to undertake this project, including comprehensive articles that outline each step of the installation and videos that provide visual guidance.

To assist in this endeavor, whether you are a professional or a DIY aficionado, we have provided a link to an in-depth article that covers the entire process of installing a wet room shower tray. Additionally, for a more dynamic learning tool, we also offer a link to an instructional video. These resources are designed to help navigate the complexities of the installation, offering insights and practical tips to achieve a successful and satisfying result.

Article about Wet room Kit shower tray installation instructions

The Acrylic Shower Tray Option

In the diverse world of bathroom remodeling, the choice of a shower tray is as much about practicality as it is about style. Acrylic shower trays have long been a staple in bathrooms due to their blend of functionality and affordability. These trays offer a straightforward yet effective solution that can adapt to a wide range of bathroom designs. While they may not always match the high-end aesthetic of wet room trays, acrylic options bring their unique set of advantages to the table.

As we embark on this exploration, we'll outline both the benefits and limitations of acrylic shower trays. This balanced approach is designed to provide a comprehensive view, highlighting how these trays could be the perfect fit for certain bathroom setups and user needs.

Advantages of Acrylic Shower Trays:

  • More affordable than many other options, making them accessible for a variety of budgets.
  • Simpler installation process that can often be managed without professional help.
  • Easy to clean and maintain.

Potential Drawbacks:

  • Standard sizes and shapes might not fit all unique bathroom designs.
  • May not be as durable as more premium materials like stone resin or tiled over wet room trays.

With this context in mind, let's delve into the specific benefits of acrylic shower trays, starting with their notable cost-effectiveness. This aspect makes them a popular choice for those looking to upgrade their bathroom on a budget while still achieving a clean, modern look.

Pros: Cost-Effectiveness

Acrylic shower trays shine when it comes to affordability. They offer an attractive price point, significantly lower than many other alternatives. This cost advantage makes acrylic trays a viable choice for budget-conscious renovations, allowing homeowners to allocate funds to other aspects of their bathroom remodel or to save money altogether.

Pros: Installation Simplicity

The installation of acrylic shower trays is straightforward, often requiring less time and fewer specialized tools than the installation of a wet room tray. Their lightweight nature contributes to easier handling and positioning, which can be particularly advantageous for DIY enthusiasts or professionals looking to complete a project swiftly and efficiently. The simplicity of the installation process is a key reason why many choose acrylic trays for quick bathroom updates.

Pros: Low Maintenance

Acrylic shower trays stand out for their low maintenance requirements, a feature that adds to their overall appeal. These trays are inherently resistant to staining and minor scratches, attributes that contribute to their lasting aesthetic appeal. The surface of an acrylic tray is non-porous, which not only makes it resistant to stain absorption but also facilitates easy cleaning. A simple wipe-down with a soft cloth and mild cleaning agents is often enough to keep an acrylic tray looking pristine. This ease of maintenance is especially beneficial in busy households where time and effort for extensive cleaning routines are limited. Furthermore, the material's resilience to mold and mildew growth ensures a hygienic shower environment with minimal upkeep. The combination of durability, stain resistance, and ease of cleaning makes acrylic shower trays a practical choice for those seeking functionality without the need for constant care.

Cons: Less Customization

Acrylic shower trays, while practical and cost-effective, present certain limitations when it comes to customization. These trays typically come in predefined sizes and shapes, which can be a drawback for those seeking a unique bathroom design or needing to fit a non-standard space. The range of styles and finishes is also more limited in comparison to materials like stone resin or tile, potentially posing a challenge for homeowners who have a specific aesthetic in mind. Furthermore, the adaptability of acrylic trays to custom bathroom features such as built-in seating or unconventional drain placements is not as extensive as other options. This could lead to design compromises in certain bathroom renovation projects, particularly where a bespoke or tailored look is desired.

Cons: Durability Concerns

While acrylic shower trays are known for their practical benefits, they do have some durability concerns when compared to more robust materials like stone resin or those used in wet room installations. The nature of acrylic means that it may not withstand the test of time as effectively as its sturdier counterparts. Over extended periods, acrylic trays can be prone to wear and tear, especially in high-traffic bathrooms where they are subject to frequent use. This susceptibility can manifest in the form of scratches or slight deformations, particularly if heavy objects are dropped on them. Additionally, while acrylic is resistant to minor scratches and stains, it may not fare as well against more severe impacts or abrasive chemicals, leading to potential damage over time. These durability concerns might make acrylic trays less suitable for households looking for a long-term, heavy-duty solution in their bathroom. Despite these factors, they remain a popular choice for many due to their affordability and ease of maintenance, but it's worth considering these aspects when planning a bathroom that will see a lot of use or needs to last for many years without significant maintenance or replacement.

Read How to get rid of limescale and soap scum of your shower screen


Head-to-Head Comparison: Wet Room Trays vs. Acrylic Shower Trays

When it comes to choosing a shower base, the decision often comes down to comparing wet room trays with acrylic shower trays. Here’s a detailed comparison based on key aspects:

  1. Installation:
    • Wet Room Trays: Installation can be more complex, often requiring professional assistance to ensure correct gradient and waterproofing.
    • Acrylic Trays: Typically easier and quicker to install due to their pre-fabricated design, making them a favorite for DIY projects.
  2. Cost:
    • Wet Room Trays: Generally more expensive upfront due to the need for additional waterproofing materials and potential professional installation.
    • Acrylic Trays: More budget-friendly, offering a cost-effective solution with a lower initial investment.
  3. Maintenance:
    • Wet Room Trays: Easier to maintain in the long run, especially when tiled, as they can withstand harsh cleaning agents.
    • Acrylic Trays: Require regular cleaning with non-abrasive cleaners to prevent scratching and damage to the surface.
  4. Aesthetics:
    • Wet Room Trays: Offer a more modern and seamless look that can be customized to fit the bathroom's design.
    • Acrylic Trays: Have a wide range of pre-made designs but may not match the bespoke, integrated appearance of wet room trays. Color finish limitation as well.
  5. Accessibility:
    • Wet Room Trays: Offer level-floor access, making them an ideal choice for ease of use and accessibility. This feature is especially beneficial for those with mobility challenges.
    • Acrylic Trays: Typically have a raised edge, requiring a step to enter, which may not be as suitable for barrier-free access needs.
  6. Durability:
    • Wet Room Trays: Constructed with materials that are often more durable and resistant to wear, such as ceramic or stone.
    • Acrylic Trays: While sturdy, they can be prone to scratches and may not have the same long-term durability as wet room trays.
  7. Resale Value:
    • Wet Room Trays: Can increase property value due to their luxurious appeal and custom design.
    • Acrylic Trays: Less likely to impact property value significantly but can still offer a fresh and updated look.

By evaluating these factors, homeowners can make an informed decision on which type of shower tray best suits their needs, preferences, and budget.

Making an Informed Choice

In conclusion, the decision between wet room shower trays and acrylic trays hinges on a balance of factors such as installation complexity, cost, maintenance, aesthetics, accessibility, durability, and potential impact on resale value. While wet room trays offer a luxurious, modern appeal with customization and easy accessibility, they come with a higher cost and more complex installation requirements. On the other hand, acrylic trays provide a budget-friendly, low-maintenance solution with simpler installation, though they may lack the durability and bespoke design of wet room trays.

Ultimately, the right choice depends on individual needs, preferences, and the specific circumstances of your bathroom space. Whether you lean towards the sleek sophistication of a wet room or the practical affordability of acrylic, both options have their unique advantages that can enhance the functionality and style of your bathroom. Consider all aspects carefully to ensure that your selection not only meets your immediate needs but also aligns with your long-term satisfaction and comfort. Remember, the best shower tray is the one that complements your lifestyle and adds value to your daily routines.

By weighing the pros and cons outlined in this guide, homeowners can confidently navigate the decision-making process, ensuring a choice that brings both practical benefits and aesthetic pleasure to their bathroom renovation project.

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Matt R.

Expertise: Customer Support, Sales, Underfloor Heating, Shower Drainage

About Matt

With years of dedicated service in customer support and a dynamic role in sales, Matt stands out as a knowledgeable and reliable expert, especially in the realms of underfloor heating and shower drainage solutions. His journey through various facets of customer interaction and product introduction has not only honed his skills but also enriched his understanding of client needs and industry trends.

Areas of Specialization

Underfloor Heating: Matt's strongest suit lies in underfloor heating systems. His in-depth knowledge spans various aspects of this field, from installation nuances to maintenance tips.

Shower Drainage: With a confident grasp of shower drainage technologies, including linear shower drains and wet room shower trays, Matt provides valuable insights into modern bathroom solutions.

Blog Contributions

Matt's blog posts are a testament to his extensive experience across three key fields: customer support, sales, and product knowledge. Each article he pens is infused with practical advice, industry knowledge, and a deep understanding of customer perspectives.

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