What is an anti-slip shower tray?

Type this into Google and you will be bombarded with lots of options to purchase anti-slip shower trays but no answer to your question.

This is hardly surprising because anti-slip shower trays are not defined in any standards. When things are not defined and are in effect unregulated it leaves the door open to lots of colourful marketing.

I have seen first-hand anti-slip shower trays in showrooms that claimed to conform to a standard- with lots of fancy letters and numbers. It looked great, great to a consumer, great to the sales people who don’t know what they are selling.

But in fact these claims are misleading and rely on the acceptance that we actually do need anti-slip shower trays, and also that as a consumer we trust a brand when they tell us that a shower tray is anti-slip.

A consumer to an extent can be forgiven for this but as a seller/specifier you have an obligation to understand what you are selling. How can you effectively sell a product if you don't know what it is you are selling?

These are examples of what I mean;

‘Anti slip rated – UNE ENV 12633:2003’. Looks mightily impressive, doesn’t it? How many of us actually have access to these standards to get the detail? For starters you must pay for these documents, as an example this standard on the BSI website costs £130 for non- members.

Turns out that this standard is ‘Method of polishing specimens prior to the measurement of slip and skid resistance’ PRIOR to measurement and nothing to do with anti-sip properties of shower trays. Unbelievable but true.

Numerous examples exist- the classic ‘Anti-slip option available’- that’s it- nothing else. It says anti-slip so it must be so!

Another example, ‘Anti-slip properties in accordance with BS 14527’. Can you guess what this means? I bet you can by now.

Enough, this is the industry that I have grown up in, an industry that I love and an industry that I will share what I have learnt on my anti-slip journey.

Let’s start at the start.

For any shower tray be sold within Europe it must be CE marked in accordance with BS EN 14527- Shower trays for domestic purposes. This title in itself is confusing, (nothing is easy) as ‘Domestic purposes’ is defined within the standard as ‘includes use in hotels, accommodation for students, hospitals and similar buildings.

Within this standard no reference is made to anti-slip properties. That must be repeated- no reference is made to anti-slip properties. Take a moment to digest that. For a shower tray, used in wet, barefoot and soapy conditions, no reference to anti-slip properties. How can a shower tray then be anti-slip if the standard that all shower trays must meet does not define any test methods or parameters?

I can hear some of you thinking- this man is mad- how could this be true? It is.

The only time that the standard, BS EN 14527 acknowledges that shower trays are dangerous is in the form of Annex B, these are the exact words

‘When wet, the surface of the majority of shower trays will show an increase in the potential for slipping. This is particularly the case when soap, shampoo, bath oil, etc are used. It is important that designers, installers and users are aware of this’

So then what actually is an anti-slip shower tray- if it is not defined? And does that mean that trays that are not anti-slip are in fact slippery?

I have spent three years looking at all of this and am happy to share all that I have learnt. It is not all doom and gloom, a few pertinent questions will ensure that you either buy, sell or specify the anti-slip shower tray that is right for you, of which there are many to choose.

Over the coming weeks and months I will explain various methods of shower tray manufacture, various methods of making a shower tray anti-slip, various methods for testing anti-slip properties and all the associated advantages and disadvantages.

It is important to also deal with cleanability and of course comfort- turns out it is exceptionally easy to make something that is very anti-slip, but you have to be able to stand on it! I really enjoy sharing the knowledge that I have built up and deliver CPD’s accredited with both RIBA and RIAI on this subject.

If you have any questions please contact me directly at christopher.hackett@classic-marble.com.

If I don’t know the answer will know someone who will.