How to Frame a Built-In Shower Niche

Written by dan aragon
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A built-in shower niche can add the style element and the functionality that your new bathroom remodel deserves. Building a small niche in your shower is limited by the space between and the depth of the framing studs. A size that can usually be attained is about fourteen inches wide and about three inches deep. This size accounts for the distance between the wall studs and the width of the studs that was used to build the bathrrom wall.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • One 2-by-4 board to match the width of the existing wall studs
  • One sheet of Concrete backer board (sold in 3 foot by 5 foot sheets)
  • Tile or your choice
  • Tile adhesive
  • Tile grout
  • Electronic Wall Stud finder
  • Key hole saw
  • Measuring Tape
  • Level and Straight Edge
  • Pencil
  • Saw
  • Framing Square
  • Drill with screw driver tips
  • sponge covered trowel
  • 3 inch wide putty knife
  • Razor utility knife

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  1. 1

    Locate the studs on the wall that you intend to build your niche in. It is important to accurately locate the studs.

  2. 2

    Mark vertical lines on the wall next to the two studs that the niche will go in to using a level to ensure the lines are straight up and down (plumb).

  3. 3

    Mark horizontal lines between the vertical lines to create a box outline on the wall where you want the niche.


  1. 1

    Drill a hole into the wall inside the box that you marked on the wall to allow your saw to fit into.

  2. 2

    Cut along the horizontal lines that you marked. Cut slowly until your saw runs into the vertical wall stud and then stop without cutting into the wall stud.

  3. 3

    Cut along the vertical lines next to the inside of the wall studs to completely remove the exiting wall covering. You should now have a accurate square hole cut into your shower wall.

    Niche Framing

  1. 1

    Measure between the two wall studs accurately; you'll want the boards you install to fit a bit tight so that they hold themselves in place.

  2. 2

    Measure and cut two pieces of wall stud boards to match the existing wall studs to fit into the niche hole across the existing vertical wall studs.

  3. 3

    Test-fit the two boards horizontally between the existing wall studs. They should fit snugly but not too tight.

  4. 4

    Install the two horizontal boards flush to the edges of the horizontal cuts that where previously done. The face of the horizontal boards should not show. Use two-inch long wood screws to secure the boards to the existing wall studs.


  1. 1

    Measure and cut enough concrete backer board to completely cover the inside of the new rough frame opening.

  2. 2

    Use tile adhesive to glue the concrete backer board in place, making sure to create an even surface for the tiles to be installed on.

  3. 3

    Install your chosen tile onto the surface of the concrete backer board using tile adhesive. Apply the tile adhesive to the backs of the tiles individually as you install them. This is called "buttering."

  4. 4

    Use a tile saw to cut tile pieces as needed to completely cover the inside of the new shower niche. Let the tile adhesive dry overnight.

  5. 5

    Use your chosen tile grout to fill in the joints between the individual tiles using a sponge-covered trowel, making sure to wipe away excess tile grout. Follow up with a thorough wipe-down using a wet sponge to remove the residual tile grout.

Tips and warnings

  • Measure your tallest shampoo bottles to ensure that the size of your niche will accomodate them.
  • There are preformed shower niches that you can buy to make the job easier.

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