How to Build a Shower Bench

A shower bench.
  • 20-40 hours
  • Advanced
  • 2,500-7,000

A shower bench can be an exceptional accessory. Obviously, the bench can be used for sitting while still showering and can accommodate a wide range of uses such as placing bathing items within easy reach. A shower bench also can be an invaluable bathing accessory for the infirmed and elderly and not a mere convenience at all. Depending upon the person, a shower bench can also help maintain balance while bathing.

Before proceeding with this project, decide whether to anchor the bench to the wall or floor. Before drilling and adding screws to your shower stall, make sure you contact an authorized plumber to make sure you drill where you will do no harm.

Follow the steps below to produce a great shower bench that will not only enhance your lifestyle but increase the value of your home.

Step 1 - Determine Size and Shape

Assuming the shower stall has already been installed, determine the size and shape of the bench in accordance with the size of the shower. Make sure to select the bench location as well as determine the height of the mortar bed. The height of the mortar bed needs to be added to the height of the bench. If the selected height for the mortar bed is three inches and you are going to install an 18-inch bench, rough out a spot that is 21 inches.

Step 2 - Frame

A shower bench.

When framing out the bench, include a slight slope of about a ½ inch for every foot allowing water to run off. Always remember to deduct the plywood thickness (in this case it is ¾ inch) used for the bench top. Also deduct ½ inch for the tile backboard. Make sure to use pressure treated wood to construct the bench box frame.

Step 3 - Make a Plywood Top

After the bench has been framed, attach the plywood top. Use galvanized screws to securely anchor the plywood top to the box frame for the bench.

Step 4 - Moisture Proof and Pan Liner

Once you have secured the bench rough top, install moisture proofing (pan liner) along the shower bottom just like the installation of a normal shower pan. Do likewise for the top of the bench including another 6 inches on the walls above the bench in order to overlap the shower pan correctly.

Step 5 - Install the Backboard

A shower bench.

Always remember to install the backboard from the bottom up so all upper pieces will overlap the lower pieces of the bench. Make sure to use galvanized screws to attach the backboard to the plywood.

Step 6 - Cover the Seat

Now finish up by covering the shower bench seat with a thin layer of mortar on the backboard. Here you can place whatever pre-measured granite or marble you have chosen to use (most likely the same as the shower enclosure). Place a heavy object on top of the marble or granite to make sure the adhesive takes. Also, allow sufficient drying time – at least 48 to 72 hours before using the shower.