installing shampoo niche in shower [Archive] - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile


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07-24-2001, 10:00 PM
I just finished the framing for our bathroom remodeling project and I am now ready to install the concrete backerboard in the shower. However, I would like to put in a couple in-wall niches for shampoo bottles, soap, etc... and was wondering if anyone has any experience building/installing/tiling these niches. I wasn't sure exactly how to frame this and apply the backerboard. I did see in the professional forum that a few had mentioned, so I checked it out. Unfortunately, (1) it doesn't explain how you install their product very well - particularly how you frame for it and tile over it. At any rate, I would be extremely interested to hear any and all hints or comments about the process. Thanks in advance for your time and comments.

kind regards,
in Kansas City, Missouri

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Rob Z
07-24-2001, 10:03 PM
Hi Mark

I'll ask Art to check in and make sure you get the info you need. He is a Bonsal rep in FLA, but will be glad to help.

Good night,


Bud Cline
07-24-2001, 10:51 PM

Take another look at the Bonsal niches. These little guys have to be huge time savers and easy to install, I don't know what they cost but Art can fill us both in on that score. As far as framing your own, we can do that with you also.

Art, what do they retail for?

07-25-2001, 04:03 AM
The Niches retail for approx. $55.00 each for the 2 tier and peaked versions, $50.00 for the square and the soap dish is approx. $40.00.

To install the niches, you will need to do your measurements just as you would if you were building your own, and place cross members between your studs. The cross members will rest against the lip that surround the Niches.

Apply a liberal bead of silicone to the back side of the lip on the Niche and set in it place. The lip on the Niche is 1/2" thick, so it will meet up with the backer board.

Mud and tape the joints and install your tile.

Mark, contact Bonnie Johnson at 1-800-738-1438 ext,115 if we don't have a distributor in your area, she will take your credit card # and ship directly to you.

Thanks for your interest and if I can be of further assistance please let me know.


Rob Z
07-25-2001, 08:06 AM
Thanks art

07-25-2001, 01:50 PM
I just found out that we have a wholesaler in your area who recomends you contact a company called, McIntyre-Mann at 816-421-3170. They will be able to supply you with the Niches.


07-25-2001, 10:04 PM
Thanks everyone for the helpful comments.

I think we will probably use the two-tiered wide bonsal niche (the 21" X 12") on the shower wall opposite the showerhead. However, on the shower wall opposite the shower door (the largest wall) I would like to build a shower niche the "old-fashioned" way, since I don't think there are any pre-fab niches that are big enough. I'd like to go one that is both functional and somewhat of a design element - probably 24" square. (my wife has a LOT of shampoo bottles, conditioners, cremes, soaps, etc... Boy, I should have bought stock in Bath & Body long ago! - sorry for the digression)

So, I really have two sets of questions - ones dealing with the bonsal installation and ones on building/framing/installing a home-made niche.

First, on the Bonsal niche. Art, are the listed dimensions on the website ( the outside dimensions of the niche excluding the lip? (meaning there would be 12" of horizontal shelf space for the 21" X 12" niche) I ask because our house is 75+ years old and some of the stud spacing is less than 16"OC - just a hair over 12". This leads me to my next question - what is the depth of the bonsal niches? (I assume they'll fit in standard 2X4 framing?) As far as the framing, I think I understood your comment about the crossmembers. Basically frame 2X4's b/t the wall studs so that the top & bottom of the niche part are flush with the two crossmembers above and below it, right? If this is wrong, feel free to redirect me. I'll probably have a few more questions later but I think that covers it on the bonsal niche - should be able to order one tomorrow. Flattile, I called the McIntyre-Mann # a hair after 5pm and noone answered - not sure they're still around but I'll try again in the morning. Thanks for the head's up though.

OK, now for constructing a shower niche the old-fashioned way. Do I need to make a 4-sided plywood box of some kind to attach to the wall studs and then attach the backerboard to the box?? If so, any helpful hints on the wrong or right way to do this? If not, I'm all ears on the process. As far as attaching the backerboard for the niche (or anywhere in the shower for that matter, do you all recommend some kind of special cementboard screws or do you use galvinized roofing nails of some kind? Ok, that's probably enough questions for one night. Thanks again for all your replies! Very helpful, great stuff!

in KC, MO

07-25-2001, 10:14 PM

For the two-tiered wide bonsal niche (the 21" X 12" wide one) - Do you know the heighth of the two separate niches/holes? Trying to make sure my sweetie's ridiculously tall shampoo/conditioners will fit in the top half.) THanks.


Bud Cline
07-25-2001, 10:57 PM

A 24" square homemade niche is huge but thats up to you. I point this out because a niche that big can hold a bunch of stuff if designed properly. By that I mean shelves. I use Corian, cut to required size, usually run a router on the face to soften the edges. Comes in any color you can imagine but I use mainly "buff" and "white". These are 1/2" thick waste pieces I buy from a cabinet shop. The dimension are cut to fit the substrate (less 3/16") then the Corian is simply stacked into the tile application. Works great.

07-26-2001, 05:38 AM
The dimensions of the PF-304 Niche as you look at it from the front is 15 1/4'' wide and 24'' tall. From the Back side, 12 7/8 x 21 5/8. Hights of the shelves 11 3/4'' and 5 1/4'' top and bottom respectively.

The depth is 3 3/16''.

Sorry about the confusion on the printed literature and the actual sizes. By the way when you fabricate on your self, don't to water proof it.


Kirk Downey
08-09-2001, 07:48 PM
Do you slope the shelf?

John Bridge
08-09-2001, 08:19 PM
Yes -- ever so slightly.

08-16-2001, 01:29 PM
Art, Everyone,

THanks for the helpful comments. Another quickey question, Art. ON the Bonsal PF-304 Niche, what's the width of the front facing of the shelf between the two niches/openings.

The reason I ask, is the wife and I are going to pick out tiles this weekend and I'm wondering if tiling the front of the shelf is going to present a potential headache in making it look good.

Our house is 76 years old and the other bathroom has the original 1-inch hex tiles on the floor and 3"X6" "subway" tiles on the walls. We'd like to stick with this size and type of wall and floor tile in the "new" bathroom. THus, I'm wondering what kind of problems tiling the front of that niche shelf will pose with 3X6 tiles. Any thoughts suggestions or should I just go ahead and break out the beer now! (my wife REALLY wants the same 3X6 tiles in this shower.)

Look forward to your comments.

Mark in KC

Rob Z
08-16-2001, 04:01 PM

I'll let Art know that you have a question about the bonsal product. He's in the middle of buying a house, and may not be looking for this otherwise.


08-16-2001, 05:22 PM

Buying a house, Buying a if that's some excuse for my verrry important question. ;>) Just kidding. No problem at all. Thanks for the help!

Believe me, I've got plenty to do before I get the Bonsal niche ordered and intstalled. Looks like this cat is gonna spend his Friday evening installing the bath fan and roof vent. Any expert tips or suggestions I should know with regard to it? I had wanted to install a soffit vent but unfortunately, our house doesn't have soffits on that part of the roof line. So I guess a roof vent is the way to go - it's only 2 and a half feet straight up from the bath fan, so not a long run. Hopin' to have it done with a cold one in my hand by dusk! We'll see!

08-16-2001, 06:35 PM
Hopefully the tile you picked out has available bull nose.

You will need to cut a strip of tile for the face of the devider face and carry the bull nose from the top and the bottom, as well as along the all of the edges of the recessed areas.

The installers here will walk you throght this, I just sell em'.

How did that ceiling fan/roof vent project go? If the beer is too cold for your hand, switch hands periodically!


Bud Cline
08-16-2001, 06:43 PM
I attached the flex hose of an exhaust fan to a piece of 3" PVC, ran the PVC through the sidewall of the house and turned down a 3" 90 elbow.

I then took a piece of aluminum screen (screen door), cut a 3-1/4" circle, hand formed it over a Q-ball for shape.

Then ran a string thru the convex, across about ten holes then back thru the concave.

I then gently placed the screen into the 3" 90 and using the string for a handle positioned the screen where I wanted it then removed the string.

A few dabs of silicone to hold it in place and "eureka" a weatherproof bugproof exterior exhaust vent. And no roof penetration to leak either.

So now do I get my own saturday morning DIY program?

08-18-2001, 02:07 AM
Or so more posts and maybe I too can have my own show. Now what would I call it?

No the Stooge idea was already used, dang!

I'm sure if these guys put there heads into it, we will come up with a real winner!