Need guidance on how to build shower niche

chicgeekJune 22, 2012

Hi Everyone,

We are having a 3/4 bath remodeled in about 2 weeks. Contractor we are using (who has done alot of work for us in the past and does great tile work) doesn't have much experience building shower niches...and we want 2 of them. Says most of his clients want shelves, which is fine in our other bath/shower, but this shower is pretty small and we really don't want anything jutting out.

Can you direct me on how you built yours? Or direct me to a website that can help? Thanks.

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You can buy manufactured niches or custom build your own.

Manufactured, follow the installation instructions.

To build your own, frame out the opening, line it with cement board, then cover it with a topical membrane. I pitch the shelves a bit for drainage.

Some membranes can be applied over drywall, so if the back of the niche is the back side of the drywall on the "other side" of the wall, you can apply the membrane to that.

Skip through most of this thread and you'll find some niche photos. In this case it's Kerdi membrane for waterproofing. But Nobel, Hydroban, RedGard, etc, all are fine. Some of the "paint on" membranes may need reinforcing fabric in the corners.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2012 at 5:35PM
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Much better to build and waterproof your own, so that your installer can lay it out to full tiles.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2012 at 4:16PM
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DH built all of our niches. I don't think he found them difficult to do. He framed them out between the studs (while framing out the walls, pitching them properly), installed the hardibacker, and then applied Hydroban. We had to size and locate them around stuff in the walls (e.g., pipes, electrical wiring that couldn't be moved), and we took storage needs, and aesthetics into consideration as well (the wider, rather than taller shape of the niche in the MB was done so deliberately, to play off the field tile's shape/orientation).

Once the tile started going up, DH did have to do some last minute (late at night!) adjusting or tweaking of the niches (and then get three coats of Hydroban on the revised niches before the tile guy arrived at 8:00 AM sharp the next morning!). In some of those instances, it had to be done regardless, and in some, it was our choice to move the niche up, down, or over an inch or more in order to avoid losing that inch or more of niche space (in order to allow for full tiles around the niche, or to allow for pattern continuation, etc.).

Our tile guy was meticulous about following, and continuing the tile patterns throughout, above, below the niches, and in keeping full tiles around the niches as well, so despite the extra work (and the late night grumbling by DH), we were more than willing to do our part to facilitate this.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2012 at 10:35AM
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