Written by Dale Richardson - Updated: June 23, 2023
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The shower tray in your bathroom is perhaps one of the most oft-overlooked accessories in a bathroom. They catch all of the water from your shower and prevent it from making a mess or causing water damage. Should you find a crack in the shower tray, it can be disheartening. Luckily, Fraffles is here with a good, quick fix to get it sorted in no time - so stay tuned, we've got you.
To fix a crack in a shower tray, you need to clean the area, patch it, and then fill in the crack. There's a bit more to know - so keep reading.
There are a few key details we haven't covered yet, so let's dive right in and get things figured out, shall we?
As with most DIY projects, the first thing you'll want to do is assemble your tools and clean the workspace to ensure everything goes smoothly. Let's start with what you'll need:
Read below to see what goes into a good fibreglass repair kit
There are a few things to keep an eye out for in a fibreglass repair kit. They will vary in content, but you'll want (at least):
Now with that out of the way, here's what to do.
First things first, a few notes. The repair epoxy will take a while to dry, so plan on not showering for at least a day to allow it to harden and set. Additionally, if it's a larger crack, you'll need to add reinforcement. If it's a small crack, this job will be much easier, so at least you've got that going for you.
Clean and prepare your area. Use a rag and some vinegar or rubbing alcohol to ensure all of soap scum, oil, and other grossness is up and off the work surface.
If it's a large crack, you'll need to add some support. Drill at least 6 holes (more if you feel it's needed) and add your 2-component foam beneath the shower tray. This will harden and provide support. If it's a small crack, you can skip to step 3.
Use a rotary tool with coarse sandpaper to grind a bevel roughly 3.5-4 cm wide, centred where the crack is largest.
Apply your fibreglass mesh tape over the crack or hole. Trim it so that it's slightly (~1 cm) larger than the crack itself. You may need to apply several layers, depending on how deep the hole or crack is.
Mix your filler putty and hardener as the directions on your repair kit instruct. If you have a nonwhite shower tray, this is where you add colourant to make it match up with the rest of the tray. Make sure you have something you don't mind throwing out (newspaper, cardboard, etc.) beneath the putty to ensure it doesn't make it onto your floor. If it does, it will not come up.
Spread the mixture over the fibreglass mesh tape and ensure it's evenly covering it all. Don't worry about an uneven finish, you'll be sanding this down in just a moment. If you're not using mesh tape, be sure that every single bit of the crack is entirely filled - any holes and this is all for nothing.
Allow the mixture to set fully. This can take anywhere from 3-24 hours, so be patient. It should be entirely hard and nowhere near the same putty consistency it was in previously. Once it's set, sand it with fine sandpaper to ensure it's fully smooth and even.
After this, you can use a finishing polish to wrap up the patch and make sure it blends in well with the rest of the shower tray.
This is another form of material that's commonly used in shower trays. To repair an acrylic shower tray, the process is quite similar, with a few minor changes. Here's what to do:
Drill quarter-inch (~.6 cm) holes in the acrylic, in a 30 square cm square around the damage. Be careful to not drill all the way through the base here.
Fill the holes with insulating foam to stop the acrylic from moving later on. This will (the same as above) provide a bit of support and prevent your acrylic from flexing as weight sits on it. Remove any foam that comes out with a utility knife and sand over the foam with extremely fine grit (~200-240 grit) sandpaper.
Drill holes at either end of the crack, avoiding drilling entirely through the acrylic.
Use 2-part polyester filler to repair the damage, spreading it evenly over the holes and crack.
Once it's dry, sand the whole area so it's smooth and flush with the rest of the shower tray. Remove any dust by wiping over the whole area with denatured alcohol.
Apply bath repair paint to make a smooth, evenly-coloured surface and add a final layer of urethane once it's dried. Buff it all down so that it's fully smooth and perfectly in line with the rest of the tray.
Whether you have an acrylic or fibreglass shower tray, repairing a crack isn't too hard, regardless of the size. As long as the crack or hole isn't the size of the entire shower tray, it can generally be patched. If it's a massive crack - just replace the tray, though. You'll likely do more harm than good trying to drill through and support the tray.
Either medium of shower tray material can be easily patched with a bit of support from foam and repair epoxy. If you're ever unsure of the quality of your repair, you can always sand it down and try again. Should you feel that it needs to be replaced entirely, though - listen to your gut. You don't want to risk water damage beneath your shower tray, that'll get expensive quite quickly. Now go get repairing!
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