Choosing between a wet room vs a shower tray: which is best for you?

wet room or shower tray?


When it comes to bathroom design, choosing between a wet room and a traditional shower tray is a key decision for both aesthetics and functionality. Both options have their advantages, and which is right for you could be dependent on the structure of your bathroom space. Each needs to be cared for differently too, which may sway your decision one way or the other. If you haven’t renovated a bathroom before, you may not know which option is the best for your needs and style. 

If you’re struggling to know which one is right for your project, or maybe you just want to understand the difference between the two - keep reading as we take you through all the pros and cons and answer some of the most asked questions to help make your decision easier.

What is the difference between a wet room and a shower tray?

Wet rooms and shower trays are best known for their accessibility-friendly designs, making them great choices for people with mobility issues. However, in more recent times these showers have become a stylish modern choice. They are great for opening up your bathroom, creating a luxurious feel, and being easy to get in and out of, but what's the difference between the two?

A wet room is an open-plan shower room. It may have one screen in certain circumstances, however there are no doors and the shower’s drainage is ground-level with the rest of your bathroom rather than in its own sectioned-off space.

A shower tray however is part of a separate shower cubicle, with its own drainage and a shower screen to section it off from the rest of the room. As it is separated from the rest of your bathroom and tends to have a small edge to step over, shower trays may be less accessible than a wet room for certain people.

What's cheaper, a wet room or a walk-in shower?

Of course, design and accessibility aren’t the only differentiating factors between a wet room and a shower tray. For anyone planning to carry out a new bathroom renovation, price and budget play a role in making your final decision.

Wet rooms typically require more groundwork than a shower tray. To create a wetroom, the entire space will need to be tanked by installing a plastic or rubber membrane and drainage to ensure that there are no leaks and that your space is safe from water damage. This is important due to the drain being fitted directly into the floor.

When installing a wet room, a certain amount of professional work is required to ensure that the space is safe and secure, this is the reason that you will find the price tag is often higher than a shower tray. The average price for a wet room can be anywhere from £4,000 to £9,000 for full installation. 

One of the larger costs included in the building of a wetroom is materials, especially if you’re looking to use tiles on every surface in the space. If you’re looking to reduce the costs of installing a wet room for your bathroom while keeping the same sleek designs, then browse through our collection of Luxury SPC flooring tiles that boast the same stunning tile effect at a fraction of the cost. With a variety of waterproof tiles to choose from you’re sure to find the perfect, affordable solution for your new wet room.

Whilst not as complex as installing a full wet room, a shower tray will still require appropriate installation to ensure proper drainage and prevent water damage. A shower tray can cost around £300 - £550, making it a much more cost-effective option. However, the bonuses of mobility and style that come with a wet room may make the price more appealing to you. It’s all down to your needs and preferences when carrying out your bathroom renovation.

Which is best; a wet room or a shower tray?

Both wet rooms and shower trays have pros and cons and despite their differences, both offer a more modern and accessible experience than your regular shower. However, when renovating your bathroom you of course want to make sure you’re putting your money in the right place. We’re going to take you through the pros and cons of each option for your bathroom to help you find the best match for you. 

Pros of having a wet room

More accessibility - When it comes to wet rooms there is no doubt that it’s the more accessibility-friendly option for those with limited ability to step up. It offers more room for families with young children or people who need support while showering. It can also be big enough to implement more customisations than a shower tray such as adding a shower seat or space to park a wheelchair.

Open layout - If the style you’re going for is an open, spacious bathroom then a wet room is a great option. It can help your bathroom feel less claustrophobic and is especially good if you have a small bathroom and want to create the illusion of space.

Easy to clean - Wet rooms don’t have a lot of nooks and crannies and without the addition of a step they are much easier to clean with a sponge or mop.

Cons of having a wet room

More expensive -  With a bigger installation job needed to ensure water can drain away properly without leaving any dampness or ruining your floors, wet rooms require a larger budget. However, if you need a wet room for accessibility reasons you may be able to access financial support to help fund these costs.

Slip hazards - Due to the lack of screens wet rooms don’t have good insulation and can make your bathroom wet and steamy. This can result in your bathroom floors becoming slippery if the incorrect flooring solution is chosen. However, you can combat this with proper ventilation and non-slip flooring.

Pros of having a shower tray

Affordable -  One of the biggest advantages of having a shower tray is that it’s much more cost-effective than a wet room. It’s great if you don’t have a huge budget for your renovation but you still wish to have a sleek, modern design that will open up your bathroom.

Versatile -  Shower trays can be great for smaller bathrooms and can be fitted into small corners that may not be suitable for a standard shower over a bath. There are also differing size options and the ability to add doors or screens depending on the desired look. This means they’re versatile to suit your needs and the space you’re working with.

Stylish -  Shower trays offer a clean, spa-like feel, with glass windows and chrome finishes, and if you’re looking to sell your house this feature can be very appealing to buyers. If you want to increase the appeal of your bathroom even more with trending designs and modern finishes, then read through our guide on bathroom trends for 2024 and turn your dream bathroom into a reality.

Cons of having a shower tray

Less accessible - As mentioned earlier, despite being more accessible than your average shower over bath or cubicle option, shower trays still have a small step and less space to add necessary modifications for people with limited mobility. 

Temperature - If you choose a glass screen rather than doors, these are less suitable for keeping heat in. If you have a cold bathroom or enjoy taking hot showers, then you may find yourself a little more exposed to the cold and needing to turn up the heat.  

Trickier to clean - While a shower tray offers easier cleaning than a cubicle, there are more corners and edges to consider when it comes to maintaining the cleanliness of the shower. 

Upgrade your wet room or shower tray with panels from The Panel Company

Whether you’ve decided to splash out on a luxurious wet room or are looking to create a modern-looking bathroom with a modern shower tray, a great way to keep your bathroom up-to-date and stylish is with some quality shower panels to complete the look.
Here at The Panel Company, we have everything from wood effect bathroom wall panels to marble shower panels and waterproof SPC flooring so that you can create the bathroom of your dreams.


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