How do I build a shower niche?

Discussion in 'Shower & Bathtub Forum & Blog' started by amateurplumber1, Aug 12, 2014.

  1. amateurplumber1

    amateurplumber1 Member

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    I have my shower completely torn apart right now. How can I build a niche that doesnt look like complete crap? Thanks guys!
  2. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

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    Layout is key to getting a niche to look good. This requires you to plan out your tile sizes, grout lines, etc. and the overall size of the niche so that it looks planned rather than an add-on. You can spiff it up with some contrasting tile, LED lights and other things, but that all depends on the look you are after.

    Then, there's the long-term reliability aspect - it must be built properly and waterproofed. Too many variables to address until you've decided on what base materials you plan to use for your shower construction: conventional, paint on surface membrane, sheet membrane, etc. Each manufacturer will have their tested, recommended methodology on how best to build it.
  3. johnfrwhipple

    johnfrwhipple Bathroom Design & Build - North Vancouver, B.C.

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    Building a custom shower niche

    Start with your tile layout and plumbing layout.

    What style are you looking for?

    [​IMG]

    If you need shower niche design inspiration check out this Ideabook.

    I love this niche I made with a side lit glass divider....

    [​IMG]

    The niche below is the new favourite with my clients.

    [​IMG]
    .​
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2014
  4. amateurplumber1

    amateurplumber1 Member

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    Yeah, I guess this question is a bit premature. I thought it would be easier to set it up before, but I guess it makes sense that I need to figure out my layout first. Man, my gosh, that niche (and showers) look amazing. If mine looks half as good as that I'd be thrilled.
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2014
  5. johnfrwhipple

    johnfrwhipple Bathroom Design & Build - North Vancouver, B.C.

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    Framing Considerations for Custom Shower Niche Builds

    Typically I center the niche and allow 1.5" of built up from the framing to the finished tile.

    [​IMG]

    This niche will be one full tile. 12" tall by 24" wide. The opening you see now measures 14" x 26". When I framed it - it was 15"x 27". What's better about my build is the bottom of the niche is sloped so water can drain out. You might think this is common sense but many top selling niches are poorly designed pieces of crap made from foam! whoops - did I just say that?

    Try and work out an X and Y axis first. Use the grout line at the lower point of the niche as one constant. Full tile up to the ceiling is idea with the top tile calculated for a 1/2" cut.

    This niche was for a Vancouver steam shower. Down Lit light feature of my design.

    [​IMG]
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2014
  6. johnfrwhipple

    johnfrwhipple Bathroom Design & Build - North Vancouver, B.C.

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    Location:
    North Vancouver, BC
    Hydro Ban Niches

    [​IMG]

    The lower niche is a great place to shave your legs.

    Mitered Tile Edges Make a Niche!


    I have some more photos here on a discussion called "building a better shower niche".

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]

    Above you can see a niche in progress. The bottom niche is set and I used a scrap of drywall edging to hold the top tile in place.

    In behind these niches yo want to see waterproofing. The dark material is a waterproofing product called Ardex 8+9. The white thin-set designed to be used in thicknesses over 1" and down to 1/4" easy - that's called Ardex X32.

    [​IMG]

    You can see the extra tile I used while setting the sides to keep things square.
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2014
  7. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

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    I have to ask, how much standing water sits in a niche once it is tiled and grouted? John's example was after sitting for many hours...with the tile and grout, you might get a little dampness part way into the grout, but by the next day, it's dried out, and probably way before that. So, there'd be no liquid water to seep through the thing. If you're really worried about it, it would take you all of a couple of minutes to eliminate that possibility entirely. If you install it properly, neither the surface nor the foam of it is damaged by moisture. (The foam is extruded polystyrene, AKA styrofoam, the same material as the common coffee cup, but much denser.) The odds of any manufacture's premade niches meeting your exact size requirement, though, isn't all that high. There's at least a handful of companies that make niches, and making your own isn't all that hard, lots of choices.

    It's nice, but not essential, to minimize the wall tile cuttings to make the niche fit, as is the visual impact of minimizing cuts inside. It's all about lining the grout lines up, and the visual impact...but, that has nothing to do with whether it will function.
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