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How to install a walk in shower tray

Guide written by:
Jeremy, construction site supervisor, Cardiff

Jeremy, construction site supervisor, Cardiff

118 guides
Installing the tray for a walk in shower requires some preparation. From getting your space ready to putting in the drainage channels and installing the waste kit, follow our helpful guide to installing your wet room or walk in shower tray.

Important features

  • Preparing the surface
  • Positioning the tray
  • Gluing
  • Finishing touches

Preparing to install a walk in shower tray

The trickiest part of setting up a walk in shower tray is preparing the spot where it will be installed. This involves cutting out a space in the floor to accommodate the tray itself, as well as the waste and drain pipe, before using mortar to create a perfectly level surface. Once this has dried, you'll then need to set up the drainage system and install the tray itself; these final steps should be fairly straightforward.

Required skills

Installing a shower tray requires a few basic building and plumbing skills: stripping out material; mixing and applying mortar; measuring the gradient and levelness of surfaces; connecting drain pipes; installing a waste, and so on.

Time required

Approx. 6 hours

Number of people required


Installation steps

1. Preparing the surface
2. Positioning the tray
3. Fitting the tray
4. Finishing touches

Tools and equipment


Personal protective equipment

Installing a walk in shower tray in 4 steps

1. Preparing the surface

Stripping the surface

Firstly, you should take out enough flooring to accommodate the size of the tray and the necessary supporting elements. You should go deep enough to allow a slope of about 5% for the shower drainage system, allowing enough space for the mortar and the depth of the shower tray itself.

Putting in the drainage system

Take precise measurements of the position of the plughole or outlet of your shower tray, so that you can factor this in when stripping out the flooring. Put the drainage components in place and connect to the outflow pipe. Generally all the components will be made of PVC and assembled by gluing. Once the glue has dried on your drainage assembly, test the seal by letting some water flow into the waste.

The drainage system needs to be held in a cavity underneath the tray, with enough space to work around the waste for any potential future repairs.

There are two options:
  • dig deeper than would be necessary for the shower tray alone in order to create an open space for the drainage parts. You can then build a special support frame for the pipes and waste or use a riser kit;
  • cut a special channel in the floor material to accommodate the drainage parts.
Once you've created the cavity for your drainage system, lay the base for your tray (typically either a resin-based mortar, or a specialist waterproof mixture). The surface should be perfectly flat and level. You must also check the height up to the original floor level; the gap should correspond precisely to the depth of your shower tray. Allow the base to dry.

2. Positioning the tray

Once the mortar is dry, you can set down the tray. Check that it's perfectly level and has contact with the layer of grout across its entire surface.

Check that the plughole is well lined up with the drainage system below it and connect it to the waste. Test the seal again with the tray in place. Once this is done, disconnect and remove the tray in preparation for the final assembly.

3. Fitting the tray

Stick the tray down using a specialised silicone glue applied with a sealant gun. Apply the glue evenly across the surface of the tray (in parallel lines around 40 mm apart and ending 15 mm from the edge).

Since this is where you will permanently secure the tray, make sure you connect the plughole and waste correctly. Apply even pressure across the tray once in position to assist adhesion and check that it's level using your spirit level.

4. Finishing touches to your shower tray

Wet room shower trays

The assembly should be allowed to dry completely before you proceed to the tiling stage. The important thing here is to create a watertight seal at every joint. Since tile grouting becomes porous over time, this seal tends to deteriorate. For best results, you can always use a waterproof resin base (which will increase the hold of your tiles).

Walk in shower trays

Once the assembly is completely dry, create a final seal all the way around the shower tray using a sealant gun. Then, you're done!

Protecting the walls

Whether you're renovating or building from scratch, you've got a choice of tiles, panels, plaster, mosaic, waxed concrete… The list goes on. Whatever you choose, the material needs to be made water-resistant, either through the use of chemical products or physical barriers.
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Guide written by:

Jeremy, construction site supervisor, Cardiff 118 guides écrits

Jeremy, construction site supervisor, Cardiff

I'm a trained electrician who started off working in large-scale industrial projects. Most of my early career was spent taking on huge electrical installations. I like to think that no job is too big for me, and after all the experience I'd gained, I started managing teams of electricians.

I like to learn on the job, so around ten years ago, I moved into building and construction. As a site manager, I've overseen the building of small residences, sport facilities, and even theatres!

Working with my hands is something I love to do in my free time as well. For four years now, I've been restoring our home in the Welsh countryside. I even built a conservatory for my wife, who loves watching the sheep behind our house.

Whether it's patios, interior design, roofing, plumbing or electricity - I love giving it all a go! I've even made my family DIY converts and together we've built almost everything we have from scratch. My experience, both in the field and in my workshop, has taught me a lot and I'm happy to share what I've learned. No matter how big or small your project is, I'm here to answer your questions and help you choose the right tools and equipment.

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