Framing in a New Shower Niche
If you are about to tile a shower, now is the time to frame in a new shower niche. I just framed in a new shower niche as a part of a full Master Bathroom Remodel and videotaped a short video to explain how I did it.
Installing a new shower niche can get pretty complicated based on the size of the niche, the age of your home, and the location of the niche. This tutorial only covers a basic shower niche on a wall that isn't load bearing AND is in modern 2x4 stud framed wall.
If you are framing in a niche on a load bearing wall or a longer niche than mine (around 2' wide or wider), you'll most likely need to use a double 2x4 header with 2x4 supported sides. BUT, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND googling the requirements for your type of niche to be sure.
Watch the video for a more detailed explanation and a look at me actually doing the work.
This wall doesn't support the floor above it, so I knew I could cut pretty much any size niche into it. BUT, if I had gone wider than about 2', I would have used a double header (2 layers of 2x4) to prevent sagging from the weight of the framing above it.
I made sure to mark center on my wall then cut into the 2x4 that was in the way of the new niche. This is tricky, you don't want to cut the drywall behind it. So, I started with my circular saw, to get a nice straight and deep start on each cut. Then carefully used my Reciprocating Saw to finish the cuts. A Skill Saw would have been even better, but I don't have one of those.
I used 2 1/2" wood screws to secure the new niche frame in place. Always make sure everything is level and square as you work.
It's also REALLY IMPORTANT to slightly angle the bottom piece down at the front to allow for proper water drainage in the niche. Then as you add the hardiboard and tile, always make sure that the slight angle is still there. Angling all 3 layers for drainage is the best practice for shower niche installs.
Hardiboard and RedGuard were used here. They both provide extra protection against water.
This gets more complicated (sorry) but if you're careful about the height of the niche and plan ahead, you can get it to line up with the tile and avoid any small slivers of tile or hard cuts.
I also framed this niche with Schluter Aluminum Edging. You can find this style at Lowes and Home Depot or order other styles and finishes on Amazon. You can find more info about my tile install in this blog post.