How to Install Recessed Shelves in Your Shower

Lead Image for How to Install Recessed Shelves in Your Shower
What You'll Need
Wood planks
Stud finder
Tape measure
Wood glue
Galvanized screws
Wood scraps

Recessed shower shelves are a great convenience. They not only hold your shampoo and body wash, but also save valuable shower space. Installing recessed shower shelves is generally easy, but it does require the use of power tools and attention to detail.

Step 1 - Determine Location of Shower Shelves

Use a stud finder to locate the studs that surround the shower stall. You will be basically using the side or the rear of the shower stall as the pipes are in the front. Mark the center of the studs in the area where you want the shower shelves to be located.

Step 2 - Mark Section with Pencil

Using a square, mark the area where the shelves will be located. Make sure that you only mark the area that is between studs. Generally, you can cut through 1 stud in order to make a 32-inch shelf. Mark for both the height and width, then draw the lines.

Step 3 - Cut the Hole

Once the marks are made, you can cut the hole where the shower shelves will go. There are different types of saws that can be used for this process. A reciprocating saw can be used, but may prove to be too large for a small space. A jigsaw or a circular saw are also good options. Drill a hole in the corner of the rectangular shape that you made and set the blade of the jigsaw in the hole. Cut around the lines.

Step 4 - Make Top and Bottom Plate

Next place the top and bottom support plate. If you have some scrap 2x4-inch lumber, this is a great place to use it. Cut them to fit the horizontal measurement and secure them to the studs with the screws.

Step 5 - Make Recessed Shelf

Measure the dimensions of the hole and start to build the shelves. A basic wooden carcass made out of wood planks is good for the shelf housing. Butt the edges together and secure them with wood glue and screws. Test the carcass to see if it fits. Remove and seal it.

Step 6 - Seal Wooden Shelves

Apply some wood sealant to the shelf to protect if from the water in the shower. Let it dry and apply another coat. You may need to use several coats for completely seal up the joints.

Step 7 - Install Shower Shelves

Apply silicone caulking around the perimeter of the hole and place the shelf carcass onto the supports. Use the drill to secure the shelves to the supports with galvanized screws. Cover the screws with caulking for a water tight seal.

Step 8 - Install Round Over Molding

To give the shower shelves a finished look, use some construction adhesive and install round over molding around the perimeter of the shelf. Apply caulking along the inside seam and spread it thin with a small scraper.