The Pinnacle of Shower Niche Evolution- The Redblock Shower Niche Insert
The stainless steel shower niche by Redblock Industries represents the ultimate evolution of the Shower Niche Insert
Most people familiar with the term “shower niche” have likely seen tiled shower niches that have been custom built into the shower wall framing. Fewer people have seen what is termed a “finished” shower niche insert. These products are referred to as inserts because they are pre-built products that are inserted into a recess made in the tile backer board, between the framing.
See our article: What is a shower niche?
Most of these older style finished shower niche inserts are relatively cheap pre-formed niche products made of plastic, acrylic or ceramic. None of these are very attractive, they chip and/or discolor over time, and most are not designed to bond properly with any shower waterproofing membrane. Some of these drawbacks could perhaps be overlooked if you have a small shower remodel budget, but their lack of membrane bonding should never be overlooked. Although they are similar in some ways, their ability to bond with the waterproofing membrane is the defining difference between these products. The Redblock shower niche insert is the perfect representation of this new style of finished shower niches that incorporate membrane bonding features into a responsible new redesign of the shower niche insert.
No membrane bonding
The first type of these inserts (often referred to as Retrofit Niches) are mounted AFTER the membrane and tile have already been installed. The first step of the mounting procedure is to cut the niche mounting hole through the membrane and backer board. Tiles are then applied to the entire shower wall, surrounding the mounting hole, so the niche can be installed after grouting. The grout is then applied, and the niche is set into the mounting hole and it’s perimeter flange glued to the tile with a sealant. Because attachment occurs on the tile surface, these shower niche inserts are not bonded to the membrane therefore, they cannot maintain the integrity of the membrane as a whole. A bead of sealant around the mounting flange is the only defence against water penetration into the wall cavity.
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In contrast, a finished shower niche insert like the one pictured (by Redblock Industries) mounts to the tile backer board and INTEGRATES into the waterproofing membrane before the tile is installed (referred to as a Bonded shower niche insert). The mounting flange is attached to the tile backer board and the framing beneath to limit any movement of the insert within the tile assembly. Before it is screwed to the framing, the mounting flange is glued to the tile backer board as a first level of defence against water penetration. Then the waterproofing membrane is attached to the surface of this mounting flange to serve as a second level of defence. All the joints are also permanently sealed at the manufacturer to eliminate any chance of leaking. In the photos attached, this particular finished shower niche insert has fully welded joints to ensure that it’s water tight. As you can see in the image, the orange colored waterproofing membrane has a water tight attachment to the mounting/ waterproofing flange (membrane from Schluter Systems). (Redblock niche installation page).
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