How to Tile a Shower Niche

Written by tara hornor
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Turn any niche into a tiled shower in just a few days. This method requires a little extra material and expense, but will waterproof any surface.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Membrane for waterproofing showers
  • Tile
  • Thin set
  • Grout,
  • 2 - 2x4s,
  • Roofing nails for installing the membrane (shower pan only)
  • Quickcrete,
  • Pitch kit,
  • Durarock or Mastic
  • Adjustable height drain that allows a membrane to be tucked into it

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  1. 1

    Build a curb. Use two 2x4 s to build a form for your shower's curb. A 3-1/2" x 3-1/2" curb along the entry to the shower is typical. Install your drain. Cut drain pipe about ¼ of an inch above floor. Glue down your drain.

  2. 2

    Build a shower pan. First, install a pitch kit. Follow the instructions that come with the pitch kit. The thin set will adhere to the membrane. Here are a few critical points to keep in mind while installing the membrane. Only use one piece of membrane for the shower pan. (This is because seams will leak even if it takes years to do so.) Always tuck the membrane into the shower drain. The correct drain will allow this. Don't forget to install the membrane before the thin set is cured. Next, tuck the membrane tightly into the corners to prevent it from tearing. Be sure to wrap your curb with the membrane because it is not waterproof. Secure the membrane to the studs or walls. Keep all nails and cuts in the membrane at least 4 inches from the floor. When folding the corners, place the folds on the wall rather than in the corner. Another tip is to cut back the sheetrock or stud to make room for the fold.

  3. 3

    Seal the walls. Every name brand manufacturer of membrane calls for the use of the membrane on the walls. This is the easiest way to waterproof your shower, but it is also the most expensive. If you choose this method, use Mastic to install your membrane to the sheetrock. To save money, remove the sheetrock and use concrete board such as Durarock. This is a much stronger method. Overlap the shower pan membrane with the Durarock. Don't buy the costly waterproofing strip to seal the butt joint on your Durarock. Cut your scrap membrane into a 4"-wide strip and use this instead.

  4. 4

    Install tile in your niche by placing the tile on the walls first. Work from the floor up. If you choose, include an accent band about 4 feet high. Also include a border with the same accent tile to trim out the shower. Grout after the tile is set.

Tips and warnings

  • You may have trouble finding the membrane, pitch kit, and drain at your local do-it yourself centre, so just head to a flooring store for these items.

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