How to Tile a Niche with Schluter Profiles

September 18, 2020

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Shower niches are a handy way to keep everything in your shower neatly organized. With the right tile and trim, they can also be stunning design elements within your bathroom.

Schluter-Systems offers pre-fabricated shower niches made of KERDI-BOARD that are fully sealed, quick to install, and integrate with KERDI and KERDI-BOARD shower assemblies. They come in a variety of sizes, or can be customized to fit your design. 
Please refer to our Schluter-KERDI-BOARD Custom Niche video for all of the details on how to create and install your own custom niche!

To finish it all off, a variety of Schluter profiles are available to complete your tile shower to perfection. Schluter Profiles can add bold or subtle elements of design, while ensuring the integrity of your tile installation. 

First thing’s first—tile layout! We start by placing the wall tile on the floor to mimic the layout on the wall with spacers to simulate the grout joint width. Tile layout can be an important factor in determining the position of the niche…and ultimately the aesthetic of your tile and profile installation.

In general, there will be a practical range for the height of the niche for user convenience. Within that range, we will attempt to position the niche so that the opening aligns with the wall tile installation to minimize tile cuts and produce even grout lines. Keep in mind that you need to consider your grout joint width, shower base thickness, any perimeter profiles, and thin-set mortar in your layout measurements.  In this installation, our tray and perimeter profiles are already installed. So we will calculate our wall tile layout from the top of our profile, which will determine our niche placement. 

If your tray and profiles are not installed, you will have to adjust your calculations to include these elements since they will all influence the layout and can affect the placement of your niche.

Another consideration is that the KERDI-BOARD-SN has a two inch wide flange around the perimeter that will fit where the wall board is cut away for the niche installation.

Our plan is to install the niche so that the tile and profile installed on the bottom of the niche aligns with the top of a row of wall tile.
One tip on placement of the niche; it is better to install the niche a bit lower than necessary, say 1/8”, rather than installing the niche too high. When the niche is lower, you can raise the tile in the bottom of the niche up by adding more thin-set mortar. If you install the niche too high, you will not be able to make adjustments to the tile inside the niche and will end up with slivers of tile on the wall. 

Place the niche in the desired location, making sure it is level and plumb, and trace around the flange onto the wall board. Install the niche and make sure all waterproof connections to the shower assembly are completed with KERDI or KERDI-BAND.

Please refer to the “How to install a KERDI-BOARD-SN Shower Niche video for all of the details on installing your niche.” 

Tile and profile installation can now begin. There are different options when installing profiles in shower niches. The profile anchoring legs can be installed on the inside surface or the niche, or the anchoring legs can be installed on the wall surface. In this first example, we will be installing the Schluter-QUADEC profile in a 12 x 12 niche. QUADEC provides a modern, square edge. Universal inside/outside corners help to easily frame the niche. 

Again, remember, we figured out tile layout so that the top of the 2nd row of tile on the wall aligns with the bottom of the niche. It is best to set the tile at the same time as your profiles to allow for any adjustment that may be required while the thin-set mortar is still workable. Ideally, any tile cuts will be equal on each side of the niche. 

We skim coated the inside surface of the niche with thin-set mortar to help provide a secure bond. This can be done using the flat side of the trowel or a dry wall taping knife. 

Next, we install the tile on the back of the shower niche. This will allow us to hide any cut tile edges. Spread thin-set mortar on the back of the tile with the flat side of the trowel, and then apply additional mortar using an appropriate sized notch for the tile format. Firmly embed the tile on to the back of the shower niche. 

Next, we’ll prepare and install the profiles and tile on the sides of the niche. Keep any corner pieces for the profiles in mind when determining your measurements. Measure and cut the profiles to the dimensions of your niche. Since we are using aluminum QUADEC, we will use a chop saw with a non-ferrous metal cutting blade for quick, clean cuts. “Check out our Tips & Tricks Video on the best practices for cutting all profile materials.” 

Apply thin-set mortar to the area where the QUADEC will be installed. Install the universal corner piece into the end of the cut section of the profile with thin-set mortar. Press the QUADEC into the thin-set mortar. Installing the anchoring legs on the inside of the niche allows us to adjust the profiles so they are flush with the wall tile. 

Continue installing the remainder of the QUADEC and tile inside the niche. We install the top tile first in order to allow the side tiles to support it. Align the profiles as you go. 

Keep in mind that the bottom piece of tile may be set with additional thin-set mortar such that it is sloped to prevent water from pooling in the finished application. Using small tile wedges or spacers behind the profiles can help to make sure everything is flush and precise. 

Clean any excess setting material immediately from the profiles and inside the niche. Finally, allow the tiles to set and then grout the assembly to finish the installation. Again, make sure to immediately clean any grout from the face of the profiles.

This installation example is complete. 

Now let’s take a look at installing Schluter JOLLY with the anchoring legs on the wall, in a custom niche. JOLLY provides a discreet, thin reveal. For this installation, we will begin with installing the wall tile. 

We figured our tile layout so that the 6th row of wall tile and the JOLLY profile end up flush with the tile inside the niche. Install the wall tile using a notch size that is appropriate for the format to achieve full coverage, stopping one row from where the profile is to be installed. We skim coated the inside surface of the niche with thin-set mortar to help provide a secure bond. This can be done using the flat side of the trowel or a drywall taping knife. 

Next, we install the tile on the back of the shower niche. Installing this piece first will allow us to hide any cut tile edges. Spread thin-set mortar on the back of the tile with the flat side of the trowel, and then apply additional mortar using an appropriately sized notch for the tile format. Firmly embed the tile on to the back of the shower niche. Then the side pieces, and finally the top and bottom. 

Once again, keep in mind that the bottom piece of tile may be set with additional thin-set mortar such that it is sloped to prevent water from pooling in the finished application. 

Next, we will prepare the profiles for installation. 

We are installing the JOLLY with the anchoring legs on the outside of the niche and will abut the adjacent pieces. If you install the JOLLY on the inside of the niche, you need to miter the profiles. 

Measure and cut the profiles to the dimensions of your niche. Since we are using the aluminum JOLLY, we will use a chop saw with a non-ferrous metal cutting blade for quick, clean cuts of the profile. 

Apply thin-set mortar to the area where the JOLLY will be installed. Press the JOLLY into the thin-set mortar and align such that the profile will be flush with the surfaces of the tile inside the niche. 

Apply additional thin-set mortar over the anchoring leg and solidly embed the wall tile. Align the profiles as you go. Install the remaining pieces of JOLLY and the surrounding wall tile in the same manner. 

It is best to set the tile at the same time as your profiles to allow for any adjustment that may be required while the thin-set mortar is still workable. It’s important to make sure they are flush and even to provide a clean finish. Clean any excess setting material immediately from the profiles and inside the niche. Using small tile wedges or spacers along the profiles can help to make sure everything is aligned properly. 

Finally, once the tile has set, grout the assembly to finish the installation. Again, make sure to immediately clean any grout from the face of the profiles. 

This installation example is complete. 

With proper planning and execution, a niche tiled with Schluter Profiles can provide not only functional storage, but enhance the design of your shower.

Please refer to the “How to install a KERDI-BOARD-SN Shower Niche video for all of the details on installing your niche.” 

Tile and profile installation can now begin. There are different options when installing profiles in shower niches. The profile anchoring legs can be installed on the inside surface or the niche, or the anchoring legs can be installed on the wall surface. 

In this first example, we will be installing the Schluter®-QUADEC profile in a 12 x 12 niche. QUADEC provides a modern, square edge. Universal inside/outside corners help to easily frame the niche. 

Again, remember, we figured out tile layout so that the top of the 2nd row of tile on the wall aligns with the bottom of the niche. It is best to set the tile at the same time as your profiles to allow for any adjustment that may be required while the thin-set mortar is still workable. Ideally, any tile cuts will be equal on each side of the niche. 

We skim coated the inside surface of the niche with thin-set mortar to help provide a secure bond. This can be done using the flat side of the trowel or a dry wall taping knife. 

Next, we install the tile on the back of the shower niche. This will allow us to hide any cut tile edges. 

Spread thin-set mortar on the back of the tile with the flat side of the trowel, and then apply additional mortar using an appropriate sized notch for the tile format. Firmly embed the tile on to the back of the shower niche. 

Next, we’ll prepare and install the profiles and tile on the sides of the niche. Keep any corner pieces for the profiles in mind when determining your measurements. Measure and cut the profiles to the dimensions of your niche. Since we are using aluminum QUADEC, we will use a chop saw with a non-ferrous metal cutting blade for quick, clean cuts. “Check out our Tips & Tricks Video on the best practices for cutting all profile materials.” 

Apply thin-set mortar to the area where the QUADEC will be installed. Install the universal corner piece into the end of the cut section of the profile with thin-set mortar. Press the QUADEC into the thin-set mortar. Installing the anchoring legs on the inside of the niche allows us to adjust the profiles so they are flush with the wall tile. 

Continue installing the remainder of the QUADEC and tile inside the niche. We install the top tile first in order to allow the side tiles to support it. Align the profiles as you go. 

Keep in mind that the bottom piece of tile may be set with additional thin-set mortar such that it is sloped to prevent water from pooling in the finished application. Using small tile wedges or spacers behind the profiles can help to make sure everything is flush and precise. 

Clean any excess setting material immediately from the profiles and inside the niche. Finally, allow the tiles to set and then grout the assembly to finish the installation. Again, make sure to immediately clean any grout from the face of the profiles.

This installation example is complete.

Now let’s take a look at installing Schluter JOLLY with the anchoring legs on the wall, in a custom niche. JOLLY provides a discreet, thin reveal. For this installation, we will begin with installing the wall tile. 

We figured our tile layout so that the 6th row of wall tile and the JOLLY profile end up flush with the tile inside the niche. Install the wall tile using a notch size that is appropriate for the format to achieve full coverage, stopping one row from where the profile is to be installed. We skim coated the inside surface of the niche with thin-set mortar to help provide a secure bond. This can be done using the flat side of the trowel or a drywall taping knife. 

Next, we install the tile on the back of the shower niche. Installing this piece first will allow us to hide any cut tile edges. Spread thin-set mortar on the back of the tile with the flat side of the trowel, and
then apply additional mortar using an appropriately sized notch for the tile format. Firmly embed the tile on to the back of the shower niche. Then the side pieces, and finally the top and bottom. 

Once again, keep in mind that the bottom piece of tile may be set with additional thin-set mortar such that it is sloped to prevent water from pooling in the finished application.

Next, we will prepare the profiles for installation. We are installing the JOLLY with the anchoring legs on the outside of the niche and will abut the adjacent pieces. If you install the JOLLY on the inside of the niche, you need to miter the profiles.

Measure and cut the profiles to the dimensions of your niche. Since we are using the aluminum JOLLY, we will use a chop saw with a non-ferrous metal cutting blade for quick, clean cuts of the profile.

Apply thin-set mortar to the area where the JOLLY will be installed. Press the JOLLY into the thin-set mortar and align such that the profile will be flush with the surfaces of the tile inside the niche.

Apply additional thin-set mortar over the anchoring leg and solidly embed the wall tile. Align the profiles as you go. Install the remaining pieces of JOLLY and the surrounding wall tile in the same manner.

It is best to set the tile at the same time as your profiles to allow for any adjustment that may be required while the thin-set mortar is still workable. It’s important to make sure they are flush and even to provide a clean finish.

Clean any excess setting material immediately from the profiles and inside the niche. Using small tile wedges or spacers along the profiles can help to make sure everything is aligned properly.

Finally, once the tile has set, grout the assembly to finish the installation. Again, make sure to immediately clean any grout from the face of the profiles. 

This installation example is complete.

With proper planning and execution, a niche tiled with Schluter Profiles can provide not only functional storage, but enhance the design of your shower.

—This video comes from Schluter, one of ProTradeCraft's advertisers. See all of Schluter's content.

 


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