How To Build a Tile Ledger in a Shower?

Discussion in 'Shower & bathtub Forum & Blog' started by ejacobson, Apr 10, 2008.

  1. ejacobson

    ejacobson New Member

    Messages:
    16
    How can I build a ledger for a shelf using tile?

    I want to make a removable corner shelf out of Mahogony or Teak. I want it removable so it can be replaced or cleaned. My plan is to construct it out of a cluster of wood slats that rest across two ledgers (One ledger on each corner wall). I'll probably use a bead of silicon to help attach the shelf but its support will come from gravity as it will rest over my ledgers.

    I think I can pull this off by building tile ledgers that consist of three or four tiles in a row on each corner wall. This picture shows the profile of one wall. The thing I need help with is how to build out the tiles that will act like the ledger. How can I do this? What goes where the question mark is? Perhaps a small piece of Hardibacker attached to the main layer of Hardibacker....? Any suggestions?

    Attached Files:

  2. spryde

    spryde Sr. IT Analyst

    Messages:
    19
    Location:
    Mid-Michigan
    New or existing shower? New Shower? Drywall + Kerdi (although I would probably put a niche in). Existing? Hardiboard may work but I would definitely make sure the top is slightly sloped to allow draining. The John Bridge forums www.johnbridge.com are wonderful when it comes to tile.

    SP
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 10, 2008
  3. ejacobson

    ejacobson New Member

    Messages:
    16
    This is new. I have the hardibacker up already. Yes, I've been trying to get an answer on the John Bridge tile forum but nobody there will deal with my question for some reason. Thanks!
  4. Basement_Lurker

    Basement_Lurker One who lurks

    Messages:
    668
    Location:
    Victoria, BC
    usually you would install a ledger, but actually leave a gap inbetween the tiles and embed the shelf. Is it your intention to have a shelf in the shower that is not fixed? Or do you plan to fix it down to the top of the ledger tile?

    Why don't you cut a piece of backerboard that is approximately the same thickness of the tile and dimensions of the ledger tile, and thinset/screw it to the existing backerboard and then install your ledger tile on that?
  5. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

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    21,815
    Location:
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    You sometimes don't get a lot of answers until the evening...many of the people that do answer are pros...they do have to make a living...
  6. Jeff_08

    Jeff_08 New Member

    Messages:
    34
    Location:
    Chicago area
    Would you be opposed to using suction cups to mount the shelf in the corner rather than dealing with tile ledgers? To me that would be easier unless you plan on putting heavy items on it. A company called Alsto sells a teak corner shelf for around $40 that attaches with suction cups.
  7. ejacobson

    ejacobson New Member

    Messages:
    16
    Sanjeev,

    My intention is to have the shelf rest on the ledger such that it can be removed by lifting up. Your idea is exactly what I was picturing. Do you think that it will be sound water-proof-wise. I'm concerned that water would hit the top edge of the tile ledger (that sticks out) and seep through the grout line and get behind the tile.
  8. ejacobson

    ejacobson New Member

    Messages:
    16
    Jadnashua,

    If you are referring to the John Bridge forum, I've had this question posted for over a week. I got one answer that I did not like and after I posted my reason for not liking it, the moderators seemed to stop responding. The post began on this thread with post 44...

    http://www.johnbridge.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=59892&page=3

    I actually don't like the way John Bridge's forum is moderated. Each distinct question is forced to be part of one long thread. IMHO, it is not effective because all one's questions get buried inside a long thread with a generic name like "Eric's Bathroom Remodel". It makes it extremely difficult to find solutions in other people's threads too. I would much rather have a thread about "Tile Ledgers" than have to next that discussion in a larger discussion about "Eric's bathroom remodel". A Tile Ledger discussion doesn't necessarily have to be associated with my bathroom remodel. It can be its own distinct topic.

    Anyone, I think my questions keep getting lost because of the John Bridge moderation technique. Sorry to rant!
  9. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,815
    Location:
    New England
    If your post falls down too far in the pile, add anything to it to bump it to the top...the volume there makes it hard to notice sometimes. I think some of the reluctance to doing what you propose is nobody has a good feeling of it working well. Their rationale for one project, one thread, is often the background information is needed to provide a decent solution...spreading bits and pieces all around makes it tougher. Personally, I never search on titles...I use keyword searches - it usually gets me the info I need.

    You may just want to thinset an additional tile or even say a SS strip or maybe angle into the mortared seam to support your slats. If you put a tile on edge, you would probably want some way to polish the edges or shape them which only works well with a through-body porcelain or stone.

    There are some high quality chrome plated brass baskets that would work as well that should last a very long time. Because all of the construction is brass, chrome, and SS, corrosion shouldn't be a problem. Ginger makes a big selection is size, finish, and style.

    A more permanent solution that would work is to use one of the small corner devices made by BetterBench people, although that would be tiled, it would be both robust and last.

    Finally, building a niche probably is more conventional, works well, and shouldn't be at risk for falling off. Noble and various other companies make preformed ones if you don't want to take the time to construct a custom sized one.
  10. ejacobson

    ejacobson New Member

    Messages:
    16
    Jim,

    What is an "SS Strip"?

    You bring up a good point about the tile edges. I didn't even think about that problem
  11. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,815
    Location:
    New England
    stainless steel. If you had a shop weld an L-shaped piece, you could mortar it in between the tile on edge for a holder. You might also have them weld ribs on it to hold your slats apart and keep the outer one from sliding off the end.. If you wanted more surface area, you could do the same with SS angle.

    A much simpler thing would be to just mortar in a corner shelf - stone would allow you to polish the edges - either granite or marble, or even corian or a similar solid surface material.
  12. Basement_Lurker

    Basement_Lurker One who lurks

    Messages:
    668
    Location:
    Victoria, BC
    Screwing/thinsetting in a 2nd furring piece of backerboard and then installing the ledger tile would definitely work for your "removable shelf idea, but since the ledger tiles are only sticking out a 1/4" from the tile shower surround, the shelf wouldn't have much much to sit on....which in my opinion would allow it to easily be bumped off. And lets not forget that if you do decide to do it this way, you will somehow have to water proof that pronounced top edge of the ledger backerboard and/or tile, and so the mortar or silicone would not make for a flat surface on which to rest a shelf on.

    Usually, a tile setter would install a permanent shelf by using and existing row of tiles as the ledger and actually recessing/embedding the edge of the shelf into the wall to make it fixed and then cutting the next row of tiles around it.

    I think that you should consider Jeff_08's suction cup shelf idea if you do not want a permanent fixture. I used to have a suction cut shampoo/conditioner bottle holder in a marble slab shower, and it worked fine.
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