Build Shower Niche

 

Here is where you will see some of the best tips and tricks that will allow you to build shower niche without all the problems that can and may arise. It’s always nice to have things work out perfectly but that is simply not the case very often and especially when it comes to renovations.

Build Shower Niche

 

Here is the second part of the two-part post on shower niches so if you missed the first part just click “Building Shower Niche” and the link will take you there.

 

For this second segment, we are going to look at some tips and tricks you can use to create your niche to look its best. When you have finished walls, and the tiles get changed for different one’s then you’ll be required to make some modifications.

 

So let’s take a list of what we are going to cover.

 

  • The first thing on the list is the walls.
  • Secondly we are going to waterproof the walls.
  • Next we will measure out the walls for the tiles.
  • We will fix the niche cavity to accommodate the new tiles.
  • Then tile and grout the niche.

 

 

The first thing on the list is the walls

 

When you first have the opportunity to prepare the walls, you can shim them if need be to keep all the walls nice and flat which would be great but that may not always be the case. So whatphotograph of wall preparation I’m going to show you here is what to do and how to make a new tile selection work for the walls and niche.

 

So first we’ll check your walls for any unfinished build up of mud from the Tapers, wall deflections from warped studs from behind the wall board. You want to know what your up against when you start the job. Use levels and speed squares to check the walls and corners out for how level and plum they are and how square all the corners are.

 

The picture will show the wall and niche we will be working with below.

 

 

Secondly we are going to waterproof the walls

 

The next step is to waterproof the walls where we are going to use a product called kerdi. First we’ll cement in all the corners and wall panels that we would have measured out to length and cut before mixing up the unmodified thin-set required for cementing the kerdi to the wall. The pictures below will illustrate the concept.

photographs of waterproofing walls

 

Next we will measure out the walls for the tiles

 

The next step is to measure out the tiles against the walls and niche to make them work. In this case, the tiles will not measure correctly around the niche, so some tricks of the trade need to be performed to make it happen.

 

Tip:

 

  • When you’ve taken the time to get everything ready for the walls to be waterproofed, and then a change of plans come up to use different tiles this is what you can do. Check out the measurement of tiles and grout gap from first starter course to bottom of niche. The size in this case is too short. So I make the gap a tiny bit larger now the tiles will come to the lower part of the niche.

 

Using a laser, I can set the height for my first course and begin.

photograph of laser measurement

We will fix the niche cavity to accommodate the new tiles

photograph of niche cavity

After cementing the tiles to reach the bottom of the niche, I then check the tiles against the height of the niche. Once again they are coming up too short and this time you already have the grout gap set so its time for a new trick.

 

Next Tip:

 

  • After you have measured for the max height, you now have to get rid of the extra space that in this case is 2 1/2 inches of too much extra space. The trick here is to create a header that is 2 1/2 inches high by the depth and length required to fill the above gap.
  • By laminating 1/2 plywood, you will be able to create the header you need. The next thing you will want to do is gift wrap the header with kerdi, screw it up in place and cement and waterproof the screw holes in the header.

 

photograph of niche cavity measured

Then tile and grout the niche

 photograph of build shower niche

Now that the niche is built to the proper measurements, the rest of the tiles can be cemented in place, and the walls can be grouted.

 

As you can see, there were a few modifications to be performed to have the new tiles match up to suit the niche using the full tiles without any cutting. Now you’ve seen one way to build shower niche using some simple tips and tricks to get the job done.

 

 

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22 Comments:

  1. Hi Travis,
    You have a very detailed article. I just finished remodeling 2 bathrooms in my home which included new tile. It was a very time consuming job, but once everything was measured and marked the process went along fairly well. Of course there is always something that goes wrong. In my case, the walls were not completely flat.

    Your recommendation on using kerdi for waterproofing is right on. That is the product I used and it works wonderfully.

    Do you have any suggestions on the best grout sealer to use?

    I will share your site with my friend who is getting ready for a bathroom remodel.

    • Travis Smithers

      Hi Val good to know you used the schluter system for your two showers as that is one of the best systems available today for doing waterproofing for showers.

      As for your question on a good grout sealer to use I always go with TEC Boost which is an aditive that you use to mix with your powdered grout instead of using water. By using the boost product you will have grout that will be resistant to stains, mildew, grease and the list goes on for the life of your shower.

  2. Wow, this is a very informative website! I’ve never done and remodeling to anything, but if I did, I would be confident that I can do it all by myself. I’ve got to show this to my husband, he will love this too.

    • The great thing about learning the steps to how the renovations are done is its easier to do it yourself or at least you’ll have a better idea if you need someone else to do the renovations if you feel it is beyond your capabilities. Having the knowledge to understand what needs to be done makes your decision that much better for you to decide what you want to do or hirer out to somebody more qualified.

  3. Katerina Markakis

    Hello!
    I have been thinking for quite a few months now to renovate my bathroom but since I am on a rather tight budget I might have to do it myself. Your post helped me so much on learning how to install a a shower niche. It is actually not too hard. I will try your tips. Thank you so much for sharing! I appreciate your effort to explain everything!

    • Travis Smithers

      Thanks for the visit Katerina and shedding some light on what is required to do different renovations is what this site is all about. Giving you the knowledge that can possibly help you with a DIY project is the goal so you will know what your capable of doing when you know what is required.

  4. I read your article about Building a shower niche. I should say that you have done an excellent job in choosing a unique niche. Your review is very clear and detailed with all the required pictures. By reading your article, I feel quite impressed. The video that you have input at the end of the post is quite amazing. Overall you are doing a great job by explaining everything.

    • Hi Shivaram, glad you liked the post. I am seeing about making it easier for people to make a better informed decision on whether or not they want to do renovations themselves or hirer a professional. By understanding the details of what is involved you will know if the type of renovation you are planning on having done is what you want or feel capable of doing. It is always best to know what you are getting yourself into.

  5. Great article on building showers – really learned a lot! I have one question ( which is why I ended up on this page ) to do with the string shower switch. Our seems to be cutting out every now and again and we were wondering if it is due to it being left on for too long ( is the switch burning out? ) Thanks for your help

    • Where I live we do not actually use string shower switches but I have seen the concept of the pull string light fixtures. Usually as they age the switching mechanism and the socket can start to wear and have problems where they become intermittent and required to be replaced. Having one in the shower would also have the high moisture content to deal with as well so the waterproofing of the unit would be another factor for life expectancy.

      I would replace the shower light with a new waterproofing fixture to work the way you require it to operate.

  6. If I ever have to remodel a bathroom. These instructions will be a lifesaver. My bathroom is getting to the point where it might need to be redone soon. I like how it is very step by step based. I also like the pictures to help. Thank you for this very informative article!

    • Hi Bryan and glad you liked the post there are a few others that also go into explaining all about building custom showers and there will be much more to follow.

  7. Hi there Travis,
    I will definitely refer to this site (particularly to this page) if I do decide to remodel the bathroom. You have brought up some great details that have bitten me in the rear in the past. Particularly in plumbing up the walls.
    I’ve been naive enough to have faith in the past that the walls were straight and flat, when neither was the case.
    Yup remodeling a room in an old house is so much fun. lol.
    Like I said though, if I do wind up going for it, I’ll need to come back and refresh my brain as to how to tackle prep issues before it’s too late in the game.
    Thanks for sharing this!
    Brian

    • Hi Brian and just so you know, you’ll also find that even the newer homes will usually have issues with walls being out of plumb and not as square as one would like. The thing is when your painting walls you may not always notice things as easily. When you tile the walls things become more apparent and the larger the tile they don’t bend so you could have some serious issues. Another thing to remember is mosaics that come on the sheets are so thin and small that they will show every wall deviation as you can’t back butter them to flatten out the wall space. So prep work is the answer for great looking tile work.

  8. Travis,
    Every shower/tub that I have done has not been very square. This is a big problem with tile in the corners. Do you have a recommendation on how to square up a corner before putting up tile. I am talking about the vertical corner up and down.
    I like the idea of a niche in the shower and how you have shown step by step to get it done.
    John

    • I have another post “Build Bathroom Shower” that has links to other posts that each talk about different aspects when dealing with putting a shower to getter. In that post, you will learn different tips and tricks to create an entire shower the way you want the proper way.

      I have also put in the option of the university videos for anybody not wanting to wait for my different posts to be published on different topics on how to do correct renovations if you need the information now. Whether you do the work yourself or hire out it is always best to know how its done, if you want to save money.

  9. We haven’t really made a lot of progress with ours yet and I must say it is so stressful all this DIY – but I know it will be worth it in the end.

    I am struggling where to find all the suppliers for certain materials to be honest… how did you locate yours? Did any try and rip you off? This is what I am concerned about.. should have planned things a bit better but too late to stop now.

    • Where I work as an actual contractor, I deal with main suppliers that I purchase products from on a regular basis. There are times I need certain products that I must track down a particular supplier for what I want and that also includes having things shipped from the Internet from online purchases.

      I’ve never dealt with having any problems of being ripped off. For my site here, I deal with mainly Amazon and Clickbank, which have a good reputation so I use them for myself and customers.

  10. Wonderfully explained Travis and I like your work.

    I have my own bath remodel company and was just writing about how important it is to waterproof walls.

    Very detailed explanation on how to carve out a shower niche/recessed shampoo box CORRECTLY.

    Too many do it wrong and forget to angle the bottom towards the drain so water doesn’t collect on top, lol 🙂

    • Good to hear from a fellow bath installer and I believe as we keep putting the word out there, less people will be having problems with their showers once they start understanding and knowing the proper procedures. I’ve been seeing a lot more people doing their own renovations these days, so I’m trying to spread the word on how to do the different types of jobs. Good to hear you’re doing the same.

  11. Hi Travis, I LOVE your pages, I’ve enjoyed reading how you build up a shower niche so much.

    I generally love decorating but when it comes to tiles and resurfacing the walls I tend to stay away. And it costs to get it done professionally so my bathroom’s been really old (+10 years). Your instruction makes it look easy to do, and I think it’s fascinating.

    Thanks for the great page – I’m not sure if I’d actually get up tomorrow and build my shower niche, but it’s certainly motivating!

    Ray

    • The biggest thing I find now that I’m doing the DIY segments on my website. Is all the request I receive from customers and people wanting to know how to do the work. Not everybody will go out and do the work themselves and some people should not attempt to do the work. They find having the knowledge of what goes into the job makes there decisions much more informative and better when deciding on what they wish to get done in their homes.

      Just knowing how things are done can save you hundreds to thousands of dollars when planning your renovations. It’s this knowledge that people are in search of getting to get the most out of their renovation budgets.

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