Focusing on the shower area, in particular the shower tray

Regardless of the context, it offers considerable safety advantages


When setting up a shower area, the shower tray is an essential component, even if a duct could be adopted as an alternative. However, the shower tray is a solution that offers the greatest advantages and safety regardless of the context, whether it be a completely new bathroom or a renovated one.
In the past, the classic white ceramic shower tray was available and the choice would have been very simple. In recent years, through fashion and technological evolution, shower trays in other materials have come onto the market. Obviously, the best shower tray doesn't exist, and any choice has advantages and disadvantages. The choice can be heavily conditioned by the context in which it will be installed, but also by technical or aesthetic reasons. Let us try and identify which materials, and therefore which shower trays, are available today, indicating their advantages and disadvantages.

 

Porcelain or fire clay sanitary ware

"Feldspar" porcelain or hard porcelain, is a compound in which feldspar is present, hence the name, kaolin and quartz. Sometimes clay is added. Once it has been fired, at temperatures ranging between 1000° and 1500°, it acquires particular characteristics such as heat, scratch, shock and chemical agent resistance. Due to its composition it is possible to obtain extremely different manufactured articles, which vary from very refined porcelain to high voltage insulators.

 

Advantages

  • Although the thickness still remains rather important, it has been considerably reduced in more recent "fireclay" artifacts.
    NB
    They may be considered as high temperature fired items (at around 1200° C) made from low porosity clay with high cohesion and mechanical resistance, glazed on the surface. With this technique, sanitary ware and articles of considerable size are manufactured, as well as those subject to deformation or those which are difficult to produce if made with vitrified mixtures.
  • Some companies offer colored ceramic shower trays coated with enamel that gives the surface a strong resistance to slipping.
  • They are easy to clean and may be used with abrasive acids and detergents.
  • The colour remains unchanged over time.

Disadvantages

  • Despite the improvement in design, most ceramic trays remain aesthetically less inviting than alternatives made of other materials.
  • They are cold to the touch, and the surface is rather slippery, especially when compared to rough surface trays
  • Over time, due to objects being dropped or the settling of the surface on which it rests, a shower tray could crack which would affect both its usability and impermeability.
  • If the surface is damaged, a ceramic shower tray cannot be restored.

 

Technical data

Measurements: The range of possible sizes is quite wide, starting from a minimum size of 70x70cms up to almost 200 cms in length (only a few companies make custom cuts)
Installation: The ceramic shower tray is generally installed before laying the floor, so it must be supplied to the plumber when preparing the screed. But it can also be installed above the floor.
Maintenance: Regular washing with water and a bleach-based detergent is sufficient, using a soft sponge, to remove soap residue and prevent the formation of lime scale

 

RESIN SHOWER TRAY

A vast category of organic polymers is identified with resin, produced through synthesis, which combined with mineral mixtures create a solid compound. This compound has many characteristics including hardness, compactness and malleability. Normally the surface is treated with a compound based on polyester resin, gelcoat, in order to waterproof the surface underneath and define its coloring.

 

Advantages

  • Different finishes can be obtained: starting from the classic smooth tray to the stone, slate, leather, brushed concrete and more with almost infinite varieties.
  • Various colours are available, usually in a limited number of four or five, but there is always the possibility of choosing between various RAL colours
  • They have a thickness that varies between 3 and 4 centimeters, they can be provided with or without a raised perimeter edge.
  • Most resin trays have an anti-slip treatment that guarantees maximum grip and total safety
  • It is made from a type of material which means that scratches occurring over time can be restored using a special kit
  • It is a material that is warm to the touch

 

Disadvantages

  • If the shower tray does not have a Gelcoat protective film - polyester resin - it will tend to be more vulnerable to stains and the action of aggressive substances will lead to a consequent colour change over time
  • The resin base determines the risk of slightly varying the colour over time
  • It is affected by very high temperatures and thermal shocks
  • It is more expensive than ceramic and acrylic


Technical data

Measurements: Resin shower trays can be cut to length and width, it can be adapted to an irregular space, that includes, for example, a protruding column
Installation: it can be installed above the floor or flush to the floor
Maintenance: For everyday cleaning, you just need to apply neutral soap to the shower tray, with a soft, non abrasive cloth and rinse with water. Never use solvents, acids or alcohol. In the case of difficult stains, "magic erasers" available in the shops can be used.
It is a polycondensed melanin foam compound with formaldehyde, dried, crushed, mixed with and subjected to heat treatment. The identification code is MF 16780 and 7728 DIN). It acquires excellent cleaning properties when in contact with water. If hair dyes are used, immediately rinse the shower tray with soap and water, once you have finished showering. To remove the remains of limescale, we can use a household limestone remover.

 

ACRYLIC STONE - CORIAN

Acrylic stone, universally known under the trade name "Corian", is a composite made of pure acrylic polymers (1/3 acrylic resin) and natural minerals (2/3 aluminum oxide). Although it is a synthetic material it has properties which are not comparable to those of others based on resins, precisely because of the high quality components used.

 

Advantages

  • It is resistant to direct sunlight and its colour remains unchanged over time
  • In the event of a shock, it does not splinter, unlike ceramic of marble
  • Any scratches or injuries can be restored by direct intervention on the damaged surface
  • It is a warm, soft and velvety material
  • It is available in a wide variety of colours
  • It is a non- porous material and is compact throughout its thickness
  • It is an anti-bacterial, inert, non-toxic and ecological material

 

Disadvantages

  • It has a higher price than the shower trays listed above, justified by the fact that it has no real defects in this application

 

Technical data

Measurements: Acrylic stone shower trays can be cut to size in length and width or can adapted to fit a restricted space and uneven surfaces
Installation: it can be installed above the floor or flush to the floor.
Maintenance: Cleaning is really simple: a cloth with soapy water or a common neutral detergent is sufficient. Aggressive ones are not recommended because they tend to make this type of resin dull. Thanks to these simple cleaning products and a circular movement, a good result is assured. If the stains are resistant you can use a non-abrasive sponge with an ammonia based surface cleaning solution that should be rinsed with hot water and dried with a soft cloth.

 

MARMOGRES

It is a mixture of raw materials similar to those used for sanitary ware porcelain - vitreous china - it is therefore an almost completely vitrified, non-absorbent material with excellent mechanical resistance. The use of ceramic clays, feldspars, kaolins and sand that have been fired at extremely high temperatures means that they are shock, scratch and chemical product resistant.

 

Advantages

  • It is a material that is absorption, abrasion. shock and bending resistant
  • Any scratches or injuries due to wear over time can be restored using a specific kit
  • Offers the same sensation of warmth to the touch and the same aesthetic result of a natural marble
  • Unlike a simple resin, it can also be cleaned with bleach and similar products
  • It is a shapeable and moldable material

 

Disadvantages

  • The range of colours is reduced, the shade of the shower tray is tied to the type of inert products used in the mixture

 

Technical data

Measurements: shower trays in Marmogres can be cut in length and width or can be adapted to restricted spaces, such as in the presence of a protruding column
Installation: it can be installed above the floor or flush to the floor
Maintenance: You just need to clean and rinse the shower tray with soap and water or with liquid or cream detergents

 

ACRYLIC

The term "acrylic" is generally referred to as polmethylmethacrylate - PMMA - a plastic material formed from polmers of methyl methacrylate, also known by commercial names such as Plexiglas or Perspex, to name just two of the best known. It has a very wide use, often as an alternative to glass, due to its transparency and unbreakable qualities. Shower trays made with this material are the cheapest ones, compared to other types of the same size and height.

 

Advantages

  • It is light, flexible and quite hard
  • It can reach considerable dimensions
  • Reduced thickness
  • It is non- slip

 

Disadvantages

  • If it comes into contact with heat sources or ultraviolet rays from the sun it tends to turn yellow
  • Residues of shampoo and soap in the long run may leave indelible marks
  • Acetone, bleach, perfumes, after-shave or very aggressive disinfectants can permanently damage the surface

 

Technical data

Measurements: The range of available sizes is quite wide, starting from a minimum size of 70cm x 70cm up to almost 200cm in length. Although it is a plastic material, it is better to avoid cutting the material to adapt to certain spaces or uneven surfaces.
Installation: It can be installed above the floor or flush to the floor
Maintenance: you just need to clean and rinse the shower tray with soap and water

 

Enamelled steel

Steel is one of the most used and widespread alloys based on iron and carrion, in the industrial sector. There are many different types, each related to different design and market needs. Enamel is a glass-based waterproof coating that can be applied both to ceramics and to metal. When applied to metal, it guarantees protection against rust and acids. The chemical composition is a mixture of silica, sodium carbonate and potassium.

 

Advantages

  • Enamelled steel is a fully recyclable product
  • It is reliable and long lasting, and can preserve its properties over time, even with daily use.
  • It is light, heat and pressure resistant
  • It is hygienic, the pore-free surface does not allow bacteria to settle.

 

Disadvantages

  • The range of colours is limited
  • If the surface becomes severely damaged, it could rust and consequently, a hole could form
  • The use of aggressive detergents may cause the surface to become opaque

 

Technical data

Measurements: The measurements are standard, starting from a size that varies from 70 to 180 cms in length
Installation: it can be installed above the floor or flush to the floor.
Maintenance: It is easy to clean, even stains left by water and limescale residues can be easily removed with a soft cloth. The use of aggressive and polluting detergents is not necessary.