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How to Build a Custom Tile Shower Niche

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Today I am showing you how to build a custom tile shower niche step by step with PVC trim boards, cement board and shower tile. Why would you build a shower niche from scratch? Building a shower niche from scratch allows you to build any size and it’s cost effective.

If you are looking to see more shower niche and small bathroom makeover ideas, be sure to click through this 5×8 bathroom renovation we recently completed.

tiling a shower wall with a window

How to build a shower niche with cement board

A few days ago I shared our new walk in shower with 12×24 large tiles at the lake house and many of you emailed asking where we got the shower niche. Click through this post, “how to install bathroom shower tile” to see the full bathroom shower remodel.

The picture below shows a niche that Jim made out of 1×4 pvc boards so that the niche would fit between the 2×4 framed walls behind the Durock cement board.

You will find several tile shower niche ideas on Google and while many of them are gorgeous, they can cost thousands of dollars if you do not do your research. Shower niche tiles range from subway tile to mosaic tile – each offering a different look and style.

Can you make your own shower niche?

Yes, you can make your own shower niche. If you want to make your own niche, purchase 1×4 pvc boards, cut them to size like shown below and screw them together with galvanized screws.

Jim marked the size on the cement board below and cut out a hole to fit the shower niche. Be sure to use a level to ensure your shower niche is straight.

We opted to build a 14×20 custom shower niche to fit along the opposite wall from the shower head.

installing a shower niche

Jim cut the niche hole to size with a sawzall.

I remember saying to him, “umm you would be able to open your eyes if you wore safety glasses!” -ha.

drilling and cutting out a hole in durock cement board to install a shower niche

Once the hole was cut in the cement board, Jim covered the back of his homemade custom niche with cement board. Cement board is necessary to prevent water damage, moisture buildup as well as provide a base to adhere tile to.

Use galvanized screws to fasten the cement board to the back of the pvc niche walls.

screwing durock cement board to the backside of shower niche

14×20 Shower Niche

The next step was to slide the custom 14×20 shower niche into the hole.

installing a tiled shower niche bathroom remodel

Using galvanized screws, fasten the tile niche to the 2×4 wall studs.

We used Loctite tile adhesive caulking to seal the seams between the cement board and pvc trim pieces used to build the niche. I do not have a picture of Jim sealing the seams with Loctite but do not miss this step! The Loctite adhesive prevents water from seeping behind to the cement board.

screwing a shower niche in a shower wall

Building a tile shower niche is the same process as tiling shower walls (see our tiling installation here) except the tile cuts are much smaller and more precise. I wish I had pictures of me cutting the tiles for this install.

I have only tiled one or two other times (see my first tiling project here in our old kitchen) and it was years ago so needless to say, it took me a while to make the cuts but once I got the hang of it, it was pretty simple. Jim was a good teacher! 🙂

Once the shower niche was installed, we covered the niche with the same tile we used on the shower walls.

A bathroom remodel is one of the best home improvement projects you can do that will add value to your home. Whether you hire a bathroom designer to assist you or you do it yourself, you cannot go wrong when it comes to updating a bathroom.

How to Build a Shower Niche with Shelves

Wondering how to tile a shower niche? We used the same tile (we used Kolassus White 12×24 tile in this bathroom shower) in the niche as the shower walls, we created a seamless modern shower niche for a fraction of the cost of purchasing a ready made shower niche. Click through this post, shower tile installation post for full before and after.

We purchased marble threshold pieces at Home Depot to create the shelf in the middle and bottom of the niche along with white metal protection profile trim pieces for the niche edges.

Looks great right?! I love how the entire shower and niche came out :).

Kolassus white tile shower niche with 2 shelves

How much does it cost to build a niche in shower?

The shower niche cost for materials was under $500. Keep in mind, Jim did all the work himself so that saved a lot of money in labor. When purchasing shower tile for a niche, make they are easy to cut and lining up seams will be an easy process.

The materials involved for this small 14×20 niche were the pvc trim pieces, 2 marble thresholds, 2 Schluter metal trim pieces in white (see trim pieces here), tile, mortar and the cement board backer. We used the remaining tile we had left over from the shower wall tile installation project and the Loctite adhesive we had on hand.

If building your own shower niche is not an option, you can purchase ready made shower niches already tiled. They are more expensive but certainly an option.

Meet Jessica

What started as a hobby, Jessica’s blog now has millions of people visit yearly and while many of the projects and posts look and sound perfect, life hasn’t always been easy. Read Jessica’s story and how overcoming death, divorce and dementia was one of her biggest life lessons to date.

diy fire pit

Come Enjoy a Stay at our Lake House

Our newly renovated waterfront lake house retreat with 1500 SF (7 beds), 3BR, 2BA, open concept living room + kitchen + lower level w/ arcade game is the perfect destination for your next getaway.

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