Installing Shower Tray: Step-by-Step Guide

Photo clean public hospital bathroom with handrail soap and paper towel dispenser selective focus closeup

A shower tray can be installed by the savvy do-it-yourselfer and save quite a bit of money. We explain how to install it with step-by-step instructions using tub feet or support.

Installing Shower Tray: Options for Tub Installation

Shower Tray on Tub Feet

A shower tray can never stand directly on the subfloor but must always be raised. The culprit is the drain, which rises about ten centimeters down. Therefore, one option for mounting is tub feet – this is a square frame with an adjustable foot in each corner, plus one in the middle. The shower tray rests on this frame and can be easily aligned even if the surface is somewhat uneven. For example, you must fill the cavity between the floor and the shower tray with aerated concrete blocks.

Shower Tray in Tub Support

An alternative to the feet of the tub is the tub carrier. A polystyrene body, adapted to the respective shower tray, is placed on the subfloor, and the shower tray is put down. Additional feet are thus not necessary. In addition, it does not require aerated concrete blocks because the tiles are glued directly to the styrofoam body.

Floor-Level Shower

As a third option, you can build a floor-level shower. Characteristically, there is no step between the bathroom floor and the shower tray. This makes the shower suitable for people with limited mobility or – as is common in modern bathrooms – as a walk-in shower without a shower enclosure. Water splashes on the floor are drawn back into the wet area with the help of a squeegee. This design has three options: A super-flat shower tray (with feet) is sunk so deep that the top edge of the shower tray and the top edge of the floor tiles form an alignment. Or a tileable shower board with an integrated drain is used, the screed is sloped into the shower area, and a shower channel or drain is installed.

Installing Shower Tray: Materials List

  • Shower tray
  • Liquid waterproofing with paint roller and sealing tape
  • Pencil
  • Spirit level
  • Tub edge insulation set
  • Sound insulation tape
  • Drain set
  • HT pipes
  • Deep primer
  • Tile adhesive
  • Tiles
  • Silicone

For installation with tub feet:

  • Tub feet
  • Tub edge clamp support
  • Aerated concrete blocks
  • Saw

For installation with tub support:

  • Toothed spatula
  • Building foam/assembly foam.
To raise a shower tray, either tub feet or tub supports are used
To raise a shower tray, either tub feet or tub supports are used.

Installing Shower Tray: Step-by-Step Instructions With Tub Feet

Step 1: Prepare and Seal the Shower Area.

Before the actual installation can start, you need to clean the work area. Dirt, such as little stones on the subfloor or old tile adhesive, will otherwise interfere with the waterproofing. The wall and the floor must be as smooth and dirt-free as possible. After cleaning, the shower area is sealed. The wall and floor are given a coat of liquid waterproofing – this works best with a paint roller with a medium-length pile. Apply the waterproofing in at least two coats to the minimum thickness specified by the manufacturer. To ensure that all areas receive at least two coats, paint powder is added to the waterproofing during the second round. There is the special sealing tape for the corners, which you stick on the wall before painting. Then you also paint the liquid waterproofing over the sealing tape.

Step 2: Installing the Shower Tray With Tub Feet.

To install the tub feet, place the shower tray on the floor with the bottom side facing up. The tub feet are pre-assembled on a frame that can be flexibly pulled apart and shaped. Now place this frame on the tub and adjust it, so the feet are positioned as far out as possible. The screws for fastening should be supplied with the frame. You then use these to screw the tub feet firmly to the shower tray.

Place the shower tray in its final position and align the height on the feet by turning them. The slope for the water is already incorporated into the tub and does not need to be considered. Transfer the lower edge of the tub to the wall with a pencil. Flush with this line, and mount tub edge clamp supports. The shower basin rests on these so it does not wobble later. You also need to mark the position of the drain hole on the floor. The edges of the bathtub that lie against the wall are given bathtub edge sealing tape. Stick this onto the shower tray according to the instructions and fold it in towards the inside of the tray. Apply sound insulation to the sealing tape to decouple the shower tray from the wall.

Step 3: Install the Drain Set.

Before the shower tray is positioned, you must assemble the drain set or siphon according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Then place it on the marked position on the floor and connect the drain to the existing drain pipes using HT pipes. When the siphon is readily connected, place the shower tray in its position and on the tub edge clamp supports. Depending on the mounting system, tighten the supports with screws. Once the shower tray is fixed, connect the upper part of the siphon to the prepared drain set. You must tighten the screw connection only hand-tight so as not to damage anything.

Now you can check if all connections are tight. To do this, take a watering can or bucket and run about five liters into the shower basin. After that, feel all the connections of the sewage pipe with your finger to see if there is moisture. If so, you need to readjust the connections again. Stick the prepared tub edge sealing tape to the wall and press it firmly. Then paint the sealing tape with the liquid sealant, taking special care to ensure no gaps at the transition to the wall.

Step 4: Underpinning the Shower Tray.

Cover the cavity between the tub and the floor with aerated concrete blocks to create a smooth surface for the subsequent tiles. To do this, paint the substrate in the area of the stones and floor tiles with a deep primer so that the adhesive adheres better. Then cut the stones with a saw, so they are about one centimeter shorter than the distance between the tub and the floor. Glue the aerated concrete blocks to the floor with tile adhesive. Be sure to indent the bricks inward so the last tile (including adhesive) is flush with the tub’s edge. Once the adhesive is dry, you can start and finish the tile work. Finally, a silicone joint is drawn between the tiles and the shower tray. Finally, install the shower enclosure according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Photo bathroom demolition and renovation, extension, restoration and reconstruction
Photo bathroom demolition and renovation, extension, restoration and reconstruction

Installing Shower Tray: Step-by-Step Instructions With Tub Support

Step 1: Prepare and Seal the Shower Area

This step is identical for both types of shower tray installation.

Step 2: Install Tub Support and Drain Set

Now prepare the tub support for installation. Depending on the manufacturer and system, first, mount spacers on the tub support on the sides facing the wall. Then place the tub support in the desired position and insert the shower tray. Outline the support with a pencil on the floor and mark the tub drain on the polystyrene. In addition, you need to transfer to the support where the already existing sewage installation is. Put the shower tray aside for the time being and assemble the drain set. This is also positioned on the tub support to draw the exact location.

You will need to cut away the styrofoam so that the drain set and extending HT pipes have enough room and fit outside the tub support on the wastewater installation. Before connecting the drain set to the sewage installation, check if everything fits with the tub support. If so, you can install the siphon and remove the tub support again. Since it will be difficult to get to the pipes later, checking for leaks is advisable by filling a cup of water into the drain set and checking the transitions with your finger.

If everything is tight, you can treat the entire floor in the area of the tub support with deep primer to bind dust and increase the adhesion of the adhesive. Then apply tile adhesive to the floor with an 8-tooth trowel and place the tub support in the mortar bed. Align the support using a spirit level so that it sits straight. A slope does not need to be worked in, as the shower tray already has one integrated.

Step 3: Install the Shower Tray

With the polystyrene support, the shower tray is also given a tray edge seal and sound insulation tape for decoupling. First, stick the sealing tape onto the shower tray and fold it away inwards. Then the sound insulation tape follows. However, both are only installed on the sides against a wall. Now place a thin film on the tub support so it protrudes about ten centimeters – this protects the construction foam, with which the shower tray is fixed next. To do this, trace the contour of the tub support with construction foam on the foil – moved slightly inwards – and press the shower tray firmly onto it. Make sure that, if possible, no foam overflows to the outside and adheres to the visible area of the shower tray.

Cut the foil flush with the shower tray when the foam has dried according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Then firmly adhere the prepared tub rim seal to the wall and apply the liquid sealant completely. Again, pay attention to the transitions between the wall and the sealing tape so that there are no gaps but a full surface seal. The shower tray is now installed, and you can start tiling the wall and floor. Between the shower tray and the tiles, you draw a silicone joint as a finish. Once the work is completed, you can install the shower enclosure.

Photo bathroom interior with white walls, a shower cabin with glass wall, a toilet and sink

Advantages and Disadvantages of the Types of Installation

Tub Feet

Advantages Disadvantages
Due to the adjustment possibilities, the feet are
can also be used on uneven surfaces.
The tiled surface must be made with aerated concrete blocks.
be produced. Especially for circular showers this is a
a challenge, especially for circular showers.
The height of the shower tray can be adjusted.
In addition, the feet are also available in different
heights available.
The shower tray rests only on five points;
The weight is also transferred to the floor only

Tub Support

Advantages Disadvantages
The installation is relatively simple. The final height of the shower is fixed
and can not be adjusted.
The thermal insulation and sound decoupling are
are significantly better with the tub support.
The price of the tub support is about the same
same level as the shower tray itself.
The shower tray lies on the entire surface and not only
The support can be tiled directly
and the shape is optimally matched to the
shower tray.

Photo modern twin bathroom with sinks, toilet and shower

Tips and Tricks for Installing the Bath

  • You can use mosaic tiles to set accents in the bathroom and pick them up again in the area under the shower tray. Especially in round showers, these are also sufficiently flexible to maintain curvature.
  • Silicone joints are maintenance joints and must always be checked for their condition. If they are tearing or peeling, you will need to remove the old silicone and redraw them.
    Sewage lines from the drain set to the main line should be installed with one percent, preferably a two percent slope. For every meter of pipe length, this corresponds to a height difference of two centimeters.
  • Specially prefabricated corners made of sealing tape are available for inside and outside corners of showers and walls.
  • Self-adhesive sealing tape is glued to the wall and then painted over with liquid sealant. On the other hand, sealing tape without adhesive film is pressed into a wet layer of liquid sealant and then painted over again.
  • To avoid water damage, it is necessary that the liquid waterproofing and also sealing tapes are applied very carefully. If you are unsure about the thickness of the liquid waterproofing layer, apply another layer to be on the safe side.
  • Make sure that the shower basin and the support must match each other. You cannot combine the two parts indiscriminately. If there is no tub support for your desired shower tray model, the only option is to install it with feet.
  • Instructions for the installation of a bathtub are quite similar. However, here the siphon system differs because the bathtub also has an overflow to prevent water damage from flooding.
  • The deeper you can go into the substrate with the siphon, the lower the entire shower will end up. So with a shallow shower tray, you only get a small step up if a floor-level installation is impossible.
  • Nowadays, an inspection opening is no longer necessary. However, if you want one, it is recommended to install it with tub feet instead of tub supports.
  • There is also a backsplash for some shower trays to cover the area between the tub and the floor.
  • For the installation, it makes no difference what material the shower tray is made of. Both shower trays made of sanitary acrylic and steel enamel or mineral casting can be mounted in both ways.
Jemma Huyett
Design My Home | Online magazine about the design and improvement of homes and grounds