Anything that adds convenience to your day and value to your home is a plus. In the bathroom, one great option for shower enclosures is designing and installing a tile shower nook. Built into the wall and then finished with tile, a nook gives you the perfect place to stash shampoo, conditioner and soap, without taking up shower space or having to hang a clumsy shower caddy. It makes the shower look more customized, and it adds functionality and style. If you’re thinking about taking on a weekend shower remodel project that you’ll simply love, here are some of the basic steps involved with adding a tile shower nook:
- Pick a place. Before you do anything else, you must figure out where you want your new nook. Use a stud finder to locate studs in the wall, because a sturdy foundation makes for the best anchor for anything that must be attached. Try to determine where wiring or pipes might run, and avoid those spots. Also avoid an exterior wall that lacks insulation, as your bath products otherwise will be chilled in the colder months. You may also want to line up your niche with the grout lines, although this is optional.
- Mark the area. Once you’ve decided where to place your nook, mark the area that needs to be cut with a china marker, which doesn’t stain or discolor tile. After marking it, measure it and remeasure it to make sure your nook will be square and level.
- Cut out the space for your nook. Wearing a dust mask and working slowly, use a tile saw to cut out tile from a small portion of the wall that you’ve marked. Only cut as deeply as the tile during this step. Next, cut through the existing backer board to leave an exposed hole in the wall. Starting with a small hole allows you to look through the opening to determine whether pipes or wiring are behind that part of the wall. Once it’s established that the area is clear, cut the opening to your niche outline. Make sure everything’s straight and square. Make sure your nook is deep enough (typically 4 to 6 inches).
- Frame out the nook. Measure the space between the studs in your opening, and cut two pieces of a 2-by-4 that will be the top and bottom bases. They probably will be about 16 or 32 inches long each, depending on the planned width of your nook. It’s better to cut them a bit long and trim some off than to cut too short! Install the bottom one at a slight angle, downward toward the tub, so any water will run back into the shower rather than accumulating. This can be done by adding a shim along the back edge for the 2-by-4 to sit on. Even a grade slope of 1/16 of an inch can be sufficient.
- Put in a back wall and side walls. Your best bet to avoid future leaks and the bigger problems that accompany them is to use backer board as the shell for the nook. Cut a piece that will fit as the back wall, then cut pieces of backer board for the two sides and the top and bottom of the niche. The backer board, usually made with cement, generally is secured to the framing with thinset adhesive and screws or nails. Make sure everything’s level and that your bottom shelf is angled slightly downward toward you so water will run back into the shower.
- Tape the seams. Use tile backer tape or fiberglass mesh tape to tape the backer board seams, and then apply quick-drying thinset to seal the seams and crevices. Waterproof the seams with a waterproofing liquid and then coat the whole niche with two coats of a waterproof applicant.
- Tile the niche. Using bullnose around the edges and regular tile inside, apply tile to backer board within the niche, using thinset. Tape will hold the tile in place temporarily as things set. Apply grout between the tiles, and use caulk along the seams at corners and along the bottom as needed.
Once you’ve completed your niche, you may find yourself inspired with other ideas for the bathroom, whether that means putting in a new door or rethinking the vanity. Any time you’re tackling a shower remodel, you want the best products at the best prices — which is exactly why you want to visit ModernBathroom.com. From shower door enclosures
to fixtures and faucets, we offer bathroom products at factory-direct prices that can save you up to 70 percent off retail costs. We have several showrooms for Southern California customers to view products such as shower enclosures in person, but we also provide free shipping to the 48 contiguous states for our customers who are farther away. Ready to learn more? Come check us out at ModernBathroom.com today, and find the right sinks, faucets, shower enclosures and other products for your next remodeling project!