Keeping bottles of shampoo and bars of soap on the edge of the tub is adequate, but storing them in an easily reachable tiled niche reduces clutter and adds a nice visual touch to a tub surround. Bay Area tile contractor Jane Aeon details her process for installing a shower niche that is properly flashed and waterproofed. Aeon starts by locating the niche on the wall, then framing the space. A trio of waterproofing materials (flexible flashing, vapor retarder, and caulk) ensure that the wall behind the niche will remain dry. A cement-backerboard substrate allows a longer working time with tile, and a slightly sloped bottom lets water drain out instead of pooling in the niche. To finish the job, Aeon tiles the niche using the same process she uses when tiling a wall. This article includes a sidebar about prefabricated shower niches.
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