The neatest, most aesthetically pleasing in-shower storage solution available, the shower niche is becoming increasingly ubiquitous in bathrooms around Australia. While there are several shower niche designs available, it is important to take care when installing them.
What is a shower recess?
Also known as a shower recess or a shower nook, a shower niche is a small, recessed shower shelf into which items like soap, shampoo, conditioner, and so forth can be stored.
More permanent than alternatives such as shower caddies, floor racks and floor baskets; and capable of holding much more than humble soap shelves, the shower niche is gaining in popularity. The reason for this rise is simple. A shower wall recess is the best ‘shower decluttering’ solution that anybody has yet to come up with.
The market for them continues to grow and they available from all the major suppliers, such as Reece and Bunnings.
However, there is a negative side to the shower nook. Unlike less permanent alternatives, a shower recess is a built-in fitting. These inserts needs to be installed with appropriate attention given to tiling, waterproofing and so forth. Particularly in the case of retrofits, this can be tricky.
How to choose a shower niche?
Size matters when it comes to a recessed shower shelf and so does depth. Consider everything you want it to accommodate. Do you only need space for shampoo and soap or several bottles of shampoo and conditioner, combs, razors, and a face cloth?
All things considered, bathroom niche sizes tend to measure anywhere between 600mm and 300mm in length; from 300mmm to 400mm in width; and 70mm to 80mm deep.
Placement is also critical and must account for the all-too-familiar experience of fumbling in the shower with soap in closed eyes for the next piece of equipment. In general, the spot directly below the shower head is already taken by the taps, so installation to the left (or right) – depending on the left or right-handedness of most household members – makes the best sense.
Placement of the shower wall recess is generally about 150cm above the floor, though for shorter people or in cases where children are the major users, the bathroom niche height may need to be lower.
Style is, of course, also an important consideration. There are two main types of shower recess kit available, a Tile shower niche and a Finished shower niche. Within those two categories there are two variations of tile shower niche, namely a custom tile niche and prefab niche (which come in standard sizes); and also two varieties of Finished niches, namely membrane bonding niches and retrofit niches.
Shower wall recess installation
Installing a shower is not as easy as it may sound. However, unexpected problems can be avoided by following these rules.
For starters, waterproofing shower recess is critical and should never be skipped and retrofitting of shower niches should only be attempted by professionals because the chances of water running into the wall cavity are too high. In other words, DIY is not an option.
Bathroom niches must always integrate with the waterproofing membrane and the wall structure should not be compromised. On top of that, never install a shower niche on an outside wall.
In cases where the bathroom niche will be tiled, the process should proceed one tile at a time. It is best practice to start from the bottom and work your way from the sides to the top. In order to make sure there are now hollow areas or air pockets, ensure there is sufficient cement used.
Some noteworthy shower recess ideas
1. EziLay XPS Shower niche
Lightweight and 100% waterproof, this shower recess is made from an extruded polystyrene core, layered on either side with a cement polymer mortar that is embedded with a fibreglass mesh. It can be easily tiled, and resists moisture build up.
Measurements: 630mm x 430mm x 100mm
2. Mondella Rumba shower recess shelf
Suitable for tiling over, this shower wall recess features a lightweight, durable Sheet Material Compound construction. Importantly, this bathroom niche co-ordinates with other bathroom accessories from the collection of the same name. It is available from Bunnings.
Measurements: 356mm x 407mm x 98mm
3. Radiant ThermaNiche bathroom Niche
This prefab shower recess features a liquid applied waterproof sealant and therefore can be relied upon to resist rotting, degrading, or leaking. It also features a one-piece, high density polystyrene core.
Measurements: 365 x 425 x 70mm
4. Universal Tile Over shower recess shelf
Manufactured from a Polyurethane Foam and featuring a fall ratio of 1:30, this shower niche is AS 3740-2010 and AS 3588-1996 compliant. This bathroom niche is suitable for tile application and custom options are available upon request.
Measurements: 420mm x 360mm x 70mm
5. Tile Shower Niche
Manufactured from a Polyurethane Foam, this shower wall recess is also available in customised options. It comes with a 7-year warranty, is AS 3740-2010 and AS 3588-1996 compliant, and allows an additional 3mm per side for the application of glue when checking into wall frames.
Measurements: 360mm x 1200mm x 105mm
6. Copper Bathroom Niche
Fully customisable, this Australian made shower niche is made from solid 3.0mm copper. It provides a real focal point in itself and is a great addition to any shower.
Measurements: Fully customisable
7. Prefab shower niche
Suitable not only for showers but also bathrooms and wet rooms, this lightweight shower niche features a waterproof, liquid-applied sealant. As such, it is waterproof and tile ready. It is also HCFC- and CFC-free and has a compressive strength rate of 300k/Pa. This translates to a strong, secure bond between the reinforcing fibreglass mesh and the cement mortar.
Measurements: Size: 350 x 600 mm x 92mm
8. Stainless steel shower niche
Available in one, two, and three shelf models, this stainless-steel shower niche may be purchased as standard or customised.
Measurements: 300mm x 300mm x 70mm