Building a Shower Tray: A DIY Guide for Home Renovation Enthusiasts

What is the best shower pan material?

Building a Shower Tray: A DIY Guide for Home Renovation Enthusiasts

A well-constructed shower tray not only adds functionality to your bathroom but also enhances its aesthetic appeal. If you’re a DIY enthusiast looking to create a custom shower experience, building your own shower tray is a rewarding project. However, it’s important to address any potential issues that may arise, such as white marks on black shower tray. By taking proper care and using suitable cleaning methods, you can ensure that your shower tray remains free from these unsightly marks. This guide will walk you through the process, from planning to finishing touches, ensuring a successful and durable installation.

Understanding Shower Trays

A shower tray, also known as a shower base or shower pan, is the foundation of your shower enclosure. It collects water and directs it towards the drain, preventing leaks and water damage. Shower trays come in various materials, including acrylic, fiberglass, stone resin, and tile. While pre-made trays are available, building your own allows for customization to fit your specific space and design preferences.

Planning and Preparation

  1. Design and Measurements: Determine the size and shape of your shower tray. Consider the available space, the type of shower door you plan to use, and your overall bathroom layout. Precise measurements are crucial for a successful build.
  2. Material Selection: Choose a material that suits your budget, style, and skill level. Tile offers versatility and a classic look, while acrylic and fiberglass are easier to install but may have limited design options.
  3. Tools and Materials: Gather all necessary tools and materials before you begin. You’ll need measuring tape, a level, a saw, waterproof membrane, mortar, a trowel, tile (if applicable), grout, sealant, and safety gear.

Building the Shower Tray

  1. Prepare the Subfloor: Ensure the subfloor is level, clean, and free of debris. If your subfloor is wood, install a cement board layer for added stability and moisture resistance.
  2. Install the Drain: Position the drain according to your measurements and secure it to the subfloor. Connect the drainpipe to the plumbing system.
  3. Create the Slope: The most crucial aspect of a shower tray is a proper slope towards the drain. This ensures efficient water drainage and prevents pooling. The recommended slope is 1/4 inch per foot. Use mortar to create a gradual slope from the edges of the tray towards the drain.
  4. Waterproof the Tray: Apply a waterproof membrane over the entire surface of the tray, including the curb and the area around the drain. This is a critical step to prevent leaks and water damage.
  5. Tile Installation (Optional): If you’re using tile, lay the tiles over the mortar bed, ensuring they’re level and evenly spaced. Use tile spacers to maintain consistent grout lines.
  6. Grouting and Sealing: After the mortar or adhesive has dried, apply grout to the spaces between the tiles. Allow the grout to cure, and then apply a sealant to protect it from moisture and stains.

Finishing Touches

How to properly install a shower tray?

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  1. Install the Shower Curb: If your design includes a curb, construct it using bricks, mortar, or a pre-made curb kit. Ensure it’s properly sealed to prevent leaks.
  2. Install the Shower Door: Attach the shower door according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Check for proper alignment and ensure a watertight seal.

Related: What is a Good Size for a Walk-in Shower with Bench?

Maintenance Tips

  • Regular Cleaning: Clean the shower tray regularly to prevent soap scum and mineral buildup.
  • Inspect for Leaks: Periodically check for leaks around the drain and sealant. Repair any leaks promptly to avoid water damage.
  • Reseal: Reapply sealant to grout lines and around the drain as needed to maintain water resistance.

Additional Tips

  • Consider a Shower Niche: Incorporate a niche into your shower wall for convenient storage of toiletries.
  • Consult a Professional: If you’re unsure about any aspect of the construction process, consult a professional plumber or tile installer.


Building a shower tray is a fulfilling DIY project that can significantly enhance your bathroom. With careful planning, proper preparation, and attention to detail, you can create a custom shower tray that meets your needs and complements your bathroom’s style. Remember, to prioritize safety and proper waterproofing to ensure a long-lasting and enjoyable showering experience.

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