Tips and Tricks for building shower niche in this 2 part series for the perfect look of lining up your tiles and grout lines like a professional tile setter.
This first post gives you the basic understanding when setting up for a shower niche, but the second part will show you the actual tips and tricks to getting your grout and tiles to line up in the second part.
Building Shower Niche
When it comes to building showers these days a lot of people are looking to have some form of a niche to put their shampoo, soap, etc. on.
One of the key tips that I will mention to you right now before we get any further is when you purchase tiles regardless of cost the size that the manufacturers say they are are not the actual size. For instance when you buy a 12″ x 12″ tile you will find if you measure it, you’re probably getting anywhere from an 11 5/8 up to 12 3/8 inch tiles. So when you’re setting up for a niche to have a proper measurement for height and width, you need to know the exact size of your tile and grout gap to line things up correctly, or it’s not going to work.
The second post “Build Shower Niche” for part 2 will explain in a lot more depth about how to do this and achieve the best possible look even when you change the tiles for a different size altogether.
There are a few different styles of showers to consider:
- Bathtub with tiled walls
- Shower with acrylic base and tiled walls
- Totally custom shower tiled from floor to ceiling
Regardless of which type of shower you choose to build, you can have a niche in either type of shower shown above. When your planning on installing a niche, you only need to be concerned about what you can do with the wall design to create the niche required.
The real consideration is the type of niche and at what stage are you planning on the install.
- Right from the beginning before any of the build has started and knowing what tiles you will use.
- From the beginning of existing walls and knowing what tiles you will use.
- Before or during the build but without knowing the tiles to be used.
Right from the beginning before any of the build has started and knowing what tiles you will use
When you plan on building a shower and know what tiles you are using, you can place your niche at the proper height and width to match up to the tiles your using. Doing this is the easiest way to configure your niche when creating a new shower. You can set the size of the niche by height and wide during the framing stage. To make sure the structural integrity is still there, you would frame with a header while giving you the size required to make the niche match up to where you want your grout lines and tiles to appear on the wall.
With newly constructed walls, you can make your niche wider than 16″ oc (oc = off centre).
- You’re using a 1ft x 2ft tile on a horizontal lay where you can have one full tile set into the wall at full size.
- You could also stack one niche above the other 1ft x 2 ft with a 1ft x 2ft tile spacing between the two niches.
- You could create one bigger niche by having two tiles in the niche for 2ft x 2ft.
- Another option could be 1ft x 4ft by making the niche wider.
As you can see when you are building from scratch, the choices are yours to make the niche the way you want.
From the beginning of existing walls and knowing what tiles you will use
With this scenario, you can only do the above niches if you alter the current structure of your walls which is possible but is not as simple as from new construction. So where going to look at this one from the point of view where we are not going to alter the structure but merely add a niche. By just adding a niche you are only going to open up the wall so that you can fasten some horizontal cross members for the top and bottom of the niche between two existing wall studs.
Now that we are dealing with existing walls your studs are on a 16″ oc with some older homes ranging from a 12″ or 24″ oc depending on where and when the house was built. We will look at the 16″ oc as the new standard.
- With the same 1ft x 2ft tile on a horizontal, only a centre portion of the tile that can fit between the studs can be used.
- The concept of having two niches will still work one above the other with a tile between them.
- You can still do the stack with the two centre portions of the tile in the niche.
- The fourth option is not going to work because of the studs at 16″ oc.
Before or during the build but without knowing the tiles to be used
The hardest and sometimes will not even match up when you have no tiles to get any measurements from until after the niche is in place. If this is the case what can you do. As a contractor, people are always wanting things to be perfect and having things matching up yet half the time you do not get the options of starting the project from the beginning but get called in to finish something and make it look great. Well, the good news is I have another post following this one that will show you tips and tricks to create that perfect look after the fact. In part 2 of Building Shower Niche, this post is for anybody needing to know how to build your niche after the walls and niche are in place and now it’s time to tile with different tiles.