In this post I’ll show you how to find the best shower niche size for your shower remodel project.
I’ll go over shower niche dimensions of all the popular prefab / preformed niche products, and tell you what you need to know to make an informed decision.
I’ll also provide you with a handy list of the most popular Prefab Tile Ready, and Prefab Finished shower niches available from the biggest manufacturers.
Even if you plan to build a custom niche, you should still check out this post because you may find a Prefab that fits your needs. This will save you big $ on niche construction and waterproofing.
This is Steve from SKG Renovations with another addition to my Redblock shower niche series. I sure wish I had this info handy when I installed my first prefab shower niche!
I hope you enjoy it!.
Determining Shower Niche Dimensions
Standard Bathroom Niche Sizes
Assuming that you are considering installing a prefab “tile ready” foam board shower niche, the most popular standard shower niche dimension is 12″ wide x 28″ high x 3-1/2″ deep. This is based on sales volume of the biggest brand of prefab foam shower niches*. The second most popular dimension is their 12″ x 12″ niche.
Stud Bay Width
If you’ve chosen a general location for your shower niche, the first thing you need to check is if the space between the studs will fit the niche size you’ve chosen.
Every shower niche is designed to be mounted between two adjacent studs in your shower wall, whether it’s a prefabricated Shower Niche or a finished niche.
The problem is that your chosen stud bay may not be the standard 14-1/2″. It will not likely be any larger than this, but it may be too small for your prefab niche.
See my Shower Niche Planning post for more info.
Shower Niche Depth
Shower niche depth will always be limited by the depth of the wall studs that make up the structure of you shower wall.
Because the most common stud depth has always been 3 1/2 inches, the shower niche depth of most prefab niches is also 3 1/2 inches.
That means that if your outside walls are constructed with 3 1/2 inch studs, and you decide to install a prefab niche in your outside shower wall, the back of the niche will be in contact with the exterior sheeting.
Most older homes, condos, & apartments in the US were built with 3 1/2 inch deep exterior stud walls. But now, most modern homes in the US are built with 5 1/2 inch deep exterior stud walls. Interior walls in most newer homes still retain the old 3 1/2 inch standard.
So… If you decide to build a custom shower niche in a newer home, and you’re installing it in an outside shower wall, you’ll have the option to make the shower niche depth a couple of inches deeper…
However, as a bathroom remodeling professional I always advise against this, because this extra space should always be filled with insulation… no exceptions. The closer the back wall of your niche gets to the exterior sheeting, the more problems you will have with condensation and mold growth behind it.
How Much Space Do You Need?
This is probably the most important question to ask yourself. Be realistic about your required bathroom niche dimensions – you don’t want any regrets after you’ve finished your shower remodel.
It’s important to consider all the liquids and bar soaps that will be used in the shower, as well as all the personal grooming tools like razors, shaving tubs – even your washing puff or shower brush (as long as your niche has a place to hang it).
Regardless how large your prefab shower niche might be, you’ll inevitably wonder where the bottom of the shower niche should be (distance from the shower floor). It’s vertical position will be an important factor to consider, especially with a bathtub / shower combo. Feel free to read my Shower Niche Height post for more insight.
Shelves in your Niche ?
If you decide that you need a bit more room than a standard 12″ x 12″ shower niche will provide, the easiest way to accomplish this is to go vertical!
A vertical bathroom niche / shower niche is WAY better than a horizontal niche in many ways. A few shelves in a vertical niche will increase your shower storage significantly, without the need to alter the structure of your shower wall (as you would with a horizontal niche). I’ll provide more info on this topic in the next section.
Going vertical means that you’ll need to buy a taller prefab shower niche (or build your own custom niche), then get some shelves to install in it.
More shelves will obviously multiply your shower niche dimensions and your storage space. The higher you go, the more shelves you can install, and the more stuff you can put into it.
You should also consider your bulk sized bottles if you routinely use them in the shower. This will determine the required height of the shelf space.
Do you need a space for your bar soap and razor? You should seriously consider installing a smaller shelf near the top of your bathroom niche/ shower niche. All you need is 3″ space is the perfect height for these narrow items.
As well, you should think about installing as thin a shelf as possible.
Most of the tile ready foam board niches have the option to buy a super thick shelf. The reason it’s so thick is because it is made of flimsy foam board, so a thinner shelf would not be structurally sound. As such, it eliminates a huge amount of interior storage space, especially after the niche is tiled.
Instead, think about installing a glass shelf (about 3/8″ thick), or a stainless steel shelf (only 3/32″ thick) to maximize the storage area of your niche. Just keep in mind that a glass shelf is super slippery, so it’s maybe not the best choice for bar soap storage. Glass is also very difficult to keep clean and stays perpetually wet if you don’t slope it outwards.
Horizontal Shower Niche
During your process of deciding your bathroom niche size, you may decide that you need a horizontal niche instead. A horizontal shower niche spans two or more stud bays (horizontally) on the back wall of your shower.
You may be compelled by the one super large horizontal niche shelf, or you may just like it’s bold design statement.
Either way, when you increase your shower niche dimensions horizontally, you can create some serious structural problems as well as some serious increases in construction cost.
Popular Prefabs Compared
Below, I’ll show you the most popular shower niche sizes (bathroom niche sizes) available for prefab shower niche.
But before I do that, you need to know a bit about the different prefab niche classifications.
First of all, these niches are referred to in four different ways – prefab shower niche, prefabricated shower niche, preformed shower niche, and pre-manufactured shower niche. All of these terms mean the same thing 🙂 .
Secondly, there are two main types of prefab niches, each with a couple of sub-types.
1. Tile Ready Shower Niches:
- Plastic (ABS) shower niches
- Foam Board shower niches
2. Finished Shower Niches:
- Membrane Bonding shower niches
- Retrofit (Non-Membrane Bonding) shower niches
Now that you know the scoop, here’s the list :
Tile Ready Shower Niches
Foam Board Tile Ready Shower Niches:
*Schluter Kerdi SN – Tile ready foam shelves are available for these niches as well depending on the model chosen or you can buy the separately.
12″ x 28″ x 3-1/2″
12″ x 20″ x 3-1/2″
12″ x 12″ x 3-1/2″
12″ x 6″ x 3-1/2″
Wedi Niche – These niches are coated with a thin cementitious layer which helps the tile to bond and increases surface rigidity (my favorite tile ready niche!). They also have tile ready foam shelves that can be mounted into most of their models.
12″ x 5″ x 3″
12″ x 9″ x 3″
12″ x 13″ x 3″
12″ x 13″ x 3″
12″ x 19″ x 3″
12″ x 38″ x 3″
Noble Niches – Some of these niches come with integrated shelves, and some have arches or peaked top profiles.
13-1/4″ x 48″ x 3-7/8″
13-1/4″ x 30-1/2″ x 3-7/8″
13-1/4″ x 26-3/4″ x 3-7/8″
13-1/4″ x 21-1/2″ x 3-7/8″ (Options: shelf or square, peaked, arched top)
13-1/4″ x 13-1/2″ x 3-7/8″
7-1/4″ x 21-1/2″ x 3-7/8″ (Options: shelf or square, peaked, arched top)
7-1/4″ x 7-1/4″ x 3-7/8″
Laticrete ( Hydro Ban ) Preformed Niche – Some models contain fixed shelves. The interior is coated with a material that allows for secure mortar bonding.
12″ x 12″ x 3-1/2″
12″ x 20″ x 3-1/2″
8″ x 8″ x 3-1/2″
12″ x 12″ & 12″ x 6″ (x 3-1/2″ deep)
12″ x 12″ & 8″ x 6″ (x 3-1/2″ deep)
Plastic (ABS) Prefabricated Shower Niches:
USG Durock Prefab Shower Niches – Interior is coated with a nonwoven fleece membrane to allow better tile adhesion with standard thin set mortars.
13-3/4″ x 22″ x 3-5/8″
13-3/4″ x 13-3/4″ x 3-5/8″
EZ-Niche – Has no tile bonding fleece like the Durock niche. The manufacturer says you can bond tiles to its surface with modified thin set mortar. I am skeptical about this – polymer modified thin set mortar has a hard time sticking to plastics. There are no shelf options with this niche as far as I know.
7″ x 8″ x 3-5/8″
8″ x 14″ x 3-5/8″
11″ x 16″ x 3-5/8″
14″ x 14″ x 3-5/8″ (with or without arch)
14″ x 22″ x 3-5/8″ (with or without arch)
14″ x 36″ x 3-5/8″ ( Horizontal niche )
Finished Shower Niches
Membrane Bonding Shower Niches:
Redblock Stainless Steel Shower Niche – Bonds to waterproofing membrane, integrated tile border flange, non-slip perforated shelves, 316 stainless steel for enhanced corrosion resistance. Currently available in brushed SS finishes.
10″ x 14″ x 4″ (2 storage levels)
10″ x 28″ x 4″ (3 storage levels)
Easy Drain Stainless Steel Shower Niche – Includes a plastic inner niche that bonds to waterproofing membrane. A finished stainless steel niche inserts into this plastic inner piece. There are no models with shelves. Avail. in brushed SS finish as well as 3 other powder coated color finishes.
6″ x 12″ x 4″
12″ x 12″ x 4″
24″ x 12″ x 4″ ( Horizontal niche )
36″ x 12″ x 4″ ( Horizontal niche )
48″ x 12″ x 4″ ( Horizontal niche )
Retrofit (Non-Membrane Bonding) shower niches:
Generic Stainless Steel Shower Niche – Does not bond with waterproofing shower membranes.
12″ x 12″ x 3-1/4″
24″ x 12″ x 3-1/4″ (Horizontal)
Apple Creek Ceramic Shower Niches – Does not bond with shower waterproofing membranes. Most have integrated shelves / soap holders.
11-3/4″ x 11-3/4″ x 3-5/8″
11-3/4″ x 11-3/4″ x 3-5/8″ (with 3 compartments)
Kohler Acrylic Shower Niches – These models are made of a formed acrylic (plastic) and are designed to be used with their custom wall panel system. They come in a few different colors and all have integrated shelves.
17″ x 62″ x 3-1/2″
14″ x 64″ x 3-1/2″
9″ x 64″ x 3-1/2″
6″ x 61″ x 3-1/2″
I hope I’ve covered the topic of shower niche sizes and shower niche dimensions adequately. And I hope this post can be a valuable resource for the different prefab shower niche size options out there.
I hope I’ve also shown you that size is important when it comes to shower niches, but there are also some other important considerations.
Please leave a comment below to let me know if this post has been of any help to you, or if I can add anything to make it better.
This post is for information purposes only and should NOT be interpreted as professional advice. You should always consult a licensed local contractor before undertaking any remodelling work in your home. Click here for my full Personal / Professional Disclosure.