Shower Niche - Stuck in the mud with the "how to"

kelvarMarch 3, 2014

Who would have thought this should be so hard. We are stuck in the ditch going around and around about a shower niche. Some questions...
1. If you frame it yourself, what did you use for shelves within, wood that is tiled, some sort of thinner granite, back to back tile somehow?

2. If you used a tile ready niche, does it stick out slightly when the rim is laid upon the studs? If so, how did you tile this to make blend in?

3. What we think we're seeing is that the niche tile wont line up right with the wall's not the "right" overall height (the right multiple of wall tile heights) to blend in seamlessly. I know that may make no sense.

  1. How did you tile your niche? With the same tile cut to fit, mosaic complementary tile? How did you get the grout lines to line up with the wall tile?

I know this must sound dumb and probably very obvious to a lot of you, but we really can't get our hands around this to figure it all out.

I need someone to walk me through the basics...I'm obviously lost. Or making this harder than it actually is.

Thanks for any help you can give.

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Go to the john bridge forum and paste this text into the search box:
1(c). Niches There is a thread with multiple images. Huston Remodeler has done some nice work. One poster here on GW used him to do her bathroom and she is very happy.

Another search on the JB forum:
Niche pictures

As I am working on my niche, I drew and drew, until I got the tile to lay were I wanted it to lay, with respect to the other tiles. Then I double checked everything, before I started the installation.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 2:24PM
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I know how difficult this can seem. We took forever, and our first fight over the shower was where to start laying the tiles! As you can see in this photo, we split a tile for the top and bottom. This did two things, allowed us to line up the niche exactly with a grout line, and then when we cut the final tiles for the bottom and the top to fit into the spaces left it looked more balanced than having 7 full tiles with one shorter at the top (since wall height is 8 feet, with shower base and grout, top tile would have had to be cut to fit anyways).

I debated over what to use for shelving materials. I ended up going with a granite shelf on the bottom to match our vanity top, and a glass shelf as the granite is quite thick and I didn't want it that thick. You may notice the extra grout line on the top of the niche. My DH mitered all the edges/corners and we just didn't have the tools/technical expertise to mitre and cut out a piece to fit around the corners, so we cut tiles to fit and added an extra grout line. If I was really OCD, I could have had the glass shelf line up with the added grout line, but I decided form follows function in this case, as I figured it was handier to have small items on bottom shelf and bigger bottles on top.

We used the same tile as the shower, and a mosaic tile for the back. We will be using the same mosaic for the backsplash with the same granite on the vanity.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2014 at 3:55PM
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Nice pics of your shower Raehelen. I did the same thing, split the difference between the top and bottom, centering my centerline of 9, 12" tall tiles, along the horizontal center of my shower. I have 8 foot ceilings too.

I am going to be working on my niches today to hopefully finish this stage up. We just got back from a week long trip to Seattle (I waved at you Raehelen ;) So now its back to work. Mitering corners was one of my thoughts about turning a corner. I haven't decided yet how to treat the corner of the partial wall. Regarding my niche, I just overlaid the perpendicular 4" niche side tiles with the fitted field tile. I have two more cut surrounds to do for the face of the niche.

I wasn't going to put the bottom sill on last but now I am. I wanted to have it be first so that the tiles would set on top of the sill and then water drain off with the slope. But I had 2 options of stone for the sill and I am going to put it on last so that I can use either option. I have a modified shower curb for one option and then I also have a 4" deep 3cm marble that would match my counter. The 4" would have been too shallow to set it first then tile around it. The shower curb is more like 5-1/4" deep. The left over marble was due to a mistake on my first counter. They had the backsplash left over so I kept it. I hope it will not be a problem with my revision. I will caulk the seams of the sill, but I don't think it is ideal. Now I have the option of putting in the shower curb or the remnant backsplash for my sill. I never asked anyone about this installation change. I looked at a bunch of pictures and once in a while saw the sill installed in this order, especially if the sill tiles were the same as the field tiles and all the seams were mitered.

Note the permenataly installed tile wedge :/ I put it in backwards to take advantage of the widest part. Now it is stuck in there. I will have to cut the darn thing with my Fein Tool.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2014 at 7:04PM
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In our master bath we framed it ourselves and used granite for the shelves. Since we put our 4x4 square tiles on the diagonals on the top half of the shower we didn't have to worry about the grout lines lining up exactly, but we did center it and we centered the 3x6 subway tiles on the bottom half of the shower and the lines do line up:

    Bookmark   March 7, 2014 at 10:03PM
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