How to install a preformed shower niche

Written by f.r.r. mallory
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How to install a preformed shower niche
Shower niche recessed into the wall above the tub. (bathtroom image by vnlit from

Showers have steadily grown in popularity, particularly in master bathroom installations where a shower may be constructed of sheet marble or other expensive stone. Modern showers often include glass walls as well as a variety of shower amenities such as multiple shower heads, steam shower options, seats and of course, niches or shelves for the placement of products. Because showers are wet environments, installing niches used to present construction difficulties. Today, niches are pre-constructed, waterproof and easy to install in almost any size or shape. This makes a niche more affordable, and it adds to the function and ambience of the shower.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Tape measure
  • Preformed shower niche
  • 2-by-4-inch boards
  • Nails
  • Waterproof fasteners
  • Wall board
  • Cement board
  • Membrane tape
  • Membrane

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  1. 1

    Stand inside the rough-in of the new shower. Note the location of shower heads, taps, windows and other features such as drains, seats, glass walls, etc. A shower niche should be at a comfortable height and located out of the direct or frequent flow of shower water. Mark potential locations on the walls. If you share the shower with other family members, have each person stand inside the shower and see if the location and height work well for everyone.

  2. 2

    Select a shower niche of the size you want to install. Add framing in the shower walls to create a 2-by-4-inch board box around the niche that is tied into the regular framing of the shower. Make the rough-in opening 1/4 inch larger in height and width than the outside dimensions of the preformed shower niche so that you can adjust the level of the niche during installation.

  3. 3

    Install the shower niche into the shower wall so that the face flange of the niche will be level with the wall board or cement board that is used to support the tile walls. The flange of the niche will usually screw directly into the rough-in using screws provided with the niche. Some kits include spacers that can be used between the back of the flange and the 2-by-4-inch lumber to hold the niche at the proper distance for the wall board.

  4. 4

    Use a membrane tape between the outside face flange and the wall or cement board. Some manufacturers may also suggest specific membranes to be used inside the niche during the tiling process. These membranes are generally used to create better adhesion between the niche material and the thin-set mortar. They also provide an extra layer of waterproofing. Follow the manufacturer's direction for membrane installation.

Tips and warnings

  • Make sure you install your niche right side up, with the angled bottom on the bottom. This angle allows water to run out of the niche during showers.

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