How to Build a Shower with A Bench

Having a shower with a bench offers numerous benefits, blending luxury with practicality. A bench provides a convenient spot to sit while washing, making showering easier for individuals with mobility issues and enhancing the overall comfort of the experience.

How to Build a Shower with A Bench

It also offers a place to rest toiletries, adding functional storage within the shower space. Proper planning and meticulous construction are crucial to ensure the bench’s safety and functionality, as improper installation can lead to water damage or an unstable surface.

This article provides a comprehensive guide on how to build a shower with a bench, covering every aspect from initial planning and design to the final touches, ensuring that your new shower feature is both durable and aesthetically pleasing.

Planning and Design

When planning how to build a shower with a bench, the first step is to assess the available space in your bathroom.

Measure the dimensions of your shower area to determine how much room you have to work with, ensuring there will be enough space for both the bench and comfortable movement. Consider the location within the shower where the bench will be most beneficial—typically along one of the side walls or at the back of the shower for optimal use.

Next, decide on the size and shape of the bench. It is crucial that the bench is large enough to sit on comfortably but not so large that it overwhelms the shower area. The bench should have a slight slope towards the drain to prevent water pooling.

Another critical decision is the type of bench. You can opt for a built-in bench, which is permanently constructed and consistent with the shower walls, or a floating bench, which is mounted on the wall and provides a more modern, airy look.

Material selection is vital for both durability and design. Options include tile, stone, or wood, each offering different aesthetics and levels of maintenance.

Ensure the materials are waterproof and non-slip for safety.

Finally, create a detailed plan and sketch that includes all your measurements, material choices, and the exact placement of the bench within the shower. This plan will guide you through the construction process and help you visualize the end result.

Gathering Materials and Tools

Gathering the right materials and tools is essential for building a durable and safe shower with a bench.

Here is a list of necessary materials: cement board, waterproofing membrane, tiles, grout, thin-set mortar, screws, mesh tape, and a pre-fabricated shower pan or mortar for a custom pan. You’ll need a trowel, level, drill, saw, notched trowel, rubber float, tape measure, and a sponge for tools.

You’ll Need a Trowel

Using high-quality materials is crucial to ensure the longevity and safety of your shower and bench. Substandard materials may lead to water damage, structural instability, or mold growth, compromising the overall integrity of the construction.

Investing in top-notch products, such as a durable waterproofing membrane and robust cement backer boards, will help prevent leaks and provide a solid foundation for your tiles. High-quality tools will also facilitate a smoother installation process, allowing for more precise cuts and even the application of adhesives and grout.

Preparing the Shower Area

Before beginning the construction of your new shower with a bench, it is crucial to properly prepare the shower area.

To create a clean slate, start by removing any old fixtures, such as the showerhead, faucet, and any existing tiles or panels. Ensure all debris is cleared from the shower area, exposing the subfloor and walls. This step is vital for a smooth and efficient installation process.

Once the area is cleared, thoroughly clean the subfloor and walls to remove any remaining dust, grime, or adhesive residues. It is essential to ensure that these surfaces are completely dry before proceeding, as moisture can compromise the stability of your new installations and lead to mold growth or water damage.

Next, a cement backer board will be installed on the walls and floor of the shower area. Begin by measuring and cutting the backer board to fit the dimensions of your shower.

Use a saw to make precise cuts, ensuring each piece fits snugly against the walls and floor. The backer board provides a sturdy, moisture-resistant surface that will support the tiles and prevent water penetration.

Secure the backer board to the studs with screws, spacing them evenly to ensure stability.

For added security and to prevent any potential gaps, seal all joints between the backer board panels using mesh tape.

Apply a layer of thin-set mortar over the mesh tape to create a seamless, waterproof barrier. This step is crucial in protecting the underlying structures from water damage and ensuring the longevity of your shower with a bench.

Using Mesh Tape

How to Build a Shower with A Bench

Building the Bench Frame

01.Measuring and Marking the Bench Location

The first step in building the bench frame is carefully measuring and marking the bench location.

Using your detailed plan and sketch, mark the dimensions and placement of the bench on the shower walls and floor.

This ensures that you have a clear guide for the construction and that the bench will fit perfectly within the designated space. Use a level to draw straight lines, ensuring that your markings are accurate and align correctly with your initial design.

02.Constructing the Bench Frame with 2×4 Lumber

To construct the bench frame, you will need 2×4 lumber, which is sturdy and provides excellent support for the bench structure. Begin by measuring the lengths needed for your bench frame based on the dimensions you’ve marked on your shower walls and floor.

03.Cutting the 2x4s to Size

Once you have your measurements, cut the 2x4s to the appropriate lengths using a saw. Ensure precise cuts, as any discrepancies can lead to misalignment and structural instability.

04.Assembling the Frame with Screws or Nails

Start assembling the bench frame with all your 2×4 pieces cut to size. Use screws or nails to attach the pieces together, creating the basic shape of your bench.

Beginning with the base, secure the horizontal supports to the vertical legs, ensuring each connection is tight and flush. Add any additional supports needed for extra stability, particularly across the top of the bench.

05.Securing the Frame to the Shower Walls and Floor

Once the frame is assembled, position it in the marked location within your shower. Secure the frame to the shower walls and floor using screws, ensuring that it is firmly attached to the studs and subfloor. This step is crucial to prevent any movement or wobbling once the bench is in use.

06.Ensuring the Frame is Level and Sturdy

Use a Level to Check

Finally, use a level to check that the frame is perfectly horizontal and even. Adjust if necessary to achieve a level frame.

Ensuring the frame’s sturdiness and levelness is critical for the longevity and safety of your bench. Once satisfied, proceed to secure all connections tightly, reinforcing any areas that may need additional support.

Waterproofing the Shower and Bench

Waterproofing your shower and bench is an essential step to ensure their longevity and prevent water damage.

Begin by applying a waterproofing membrane to the entire shower area, including the walls, floor, and bench. This barrier will guard against moisture infiltration, protecting the underlying structures from potential mold, mildew, and structural decay.

Applying a Waterproofing Membrane

Start by cutting the waterproofing membrane to fit precisely over the walls, floor, and bench surface. Use a utility knife or scissors to make precise cuts, ensuring that each piece of membrane covers the intended area completely. Pay special attention to the corners and edges, where water is most likely to penetrate.

Using a Waterproofing Adhesive

Apply a waterproofing adhesive to the shower surfaces with the membrane cut to size.

Apply a Waterproofing Adhesive

Spread the adhesive evenly using a notched trowel, working in small sections to prevent it from drying out before the membrane is installed. Carefully press the membrane onto the adhesive layer, smoothing it out to remove any air bubbles and ensure full contact.

Sealing All Seams and Corners

Sealing all seams and corners is crucial to preventing leaks. Use additional strips of waterproofing membrane or waterproofing tape to cover any joints between pieces of the membrane, particularly where the walls meet the floor and around the bench.

Apply a generous waterproofing adhesive layer to these areas before pressing the strips into place.

Installing Waterproofing Tape on Bench Edges

Finally, waterproofing tape will be installed along the edges of the bench. This helps create a watertight seal where the bench meets the shower walls and floor.

Ensure the tape is properly adhered, pressing firmly to secure it. Seal all edges and corners around the bench with an additional waterproofing adhesive layer to ensure complete coverage and protection against moisture infiltration.

This step is crucial for the durability and effectiveness of your waterproofing efforts, providing a long-term solution to keep your shower and bench in pristine condition.

Installing the Shower Pan

Choosing a Pre-Fabricated Shower Pan or Creating a Custom Pan with a Mortar Bed

Using a Mortar Bed

When installing the shower pan, you can choose between a prefabricated pan and a custom pan using a mortar bed. Prefabricated shower pans are convenient, as they come ready to install and ensure consistent performance. Alternatively, a custom mortar bed pan offers flexibility in design and size, allowing you to tailor it to your shower’s exact specifications.

Ensuring Proper Slope for Drainage

Regardless of the type of shower pan you choose, ensuring a proper slope for drainage is crucial. A slope of approximately 1/4 inch per foot towards the drain is recommended to allow water to flow efficiently and prevent pooling. If crafting a custom pan, carefully apply the mortar to create this slope, using a trowel to smooth and shape the surface.

Installing the Shower Drain and Connecting it to the Plumbing

Install the shower drain in the lowest part of the pan for effective drainage. Secure the drain assembly in place according to the manufacturer’s instructions, ensuring it is tightly connected to your plumbing system. Check all connections to confirm they are leak-free and properly aligned.

Applying a Waterproofing Layer Over the Shower Pan

Once the shower pan and drain are installed, apply a waterproofing layer over the entire surface. Use a liquid waterproofing membrane or a waterproofing sheet for a custom mortar bedpan. Ensure complete and even coverage, particularly around the drain area, to create a seamless and impervious barrier against moisture. This final step is key to protecting your shower’s integrity and preventing water damage.

Tiling the Shower and Bench

Choosing Tiles That Match Your Bathroom Decor

Selecting tiles that complement your bathroom decor is a vital aspect of tiling your shower and bench. Consider the overall color scheme and style of your bathroom when choosing tiles.

Consider the Overall Color Scheme

From classic ceramic and porcelain tiles to moder

n glass and natural stone options, there are numerous materials and finishes to explore. Opt for tiles that enhance the aesthetic appeal and provide the durability required for wet areas.

Laying Out the Tiles to Plan the Pattern and Avoid Small Cuts

Before installing, lay out the tiles to visualize the pattern and ensure a cohesive design. This approach helps you avoid small, irregular cuts at the edges, which can disrupt the visual flow. By planning ahead, you can make any necessary adjustments to achieve a balanced and professional appearance.

Applying Thin-Set Mortar to the Shower Walls and Bench

Begin tiling by applying a thin-set mortar to the shower walls and bench. Select a mortar that is suitable for your chosen tile type. Mix the mortar according to the manufacturer’s instructions, ensuring a smooth and workable consistency.

Using a Notched Trowel for Even Application

Using a notched trowel, spread the thin-set mortar onto the shower walls and bench in small sections. The notches help create uniform ridges that improve the tiles’ adhesion. Hold the trowel at a consistent angle to achieve an even application across the surface.

Pressing the Tiles into the Mortar and Using Spacers for Even Gaps

Use Tile Spacers

Press each tile firmly into the mortar, ensuring complete contact and adhesion. Use tile spacers to maintain even gaps between the tiles, which will later be filled with grout. This step is essential for achieving straight lines and a polished finish.

Cutting Tiles to Fit Around the Bench Edges and Corners

As you reach the edges and corners of the bench, measure and mark the tiles for cutting. Use a tile cutter or wet saw to make precise cuts, ensuring the tiles fit snugly around the bench and any existing fixtures. Take your time to ensure accuracy and prevent damage to the tiles.

Grouting the Tiles Once the Mortar is Set

Once the thin-set mortar has been set according to the manufacturer’s guidelines, it’s time to grout the tiles. Prepare the grout mixture, making sure it is a smooth and consistent paste.

Applying Grout with a Rubber Float

Using a rubber float, apply the grout to the tiled surfaces, working it into the gaps between the tiles. Hold the float at a 45-degree angle and move it diagonally across the tiles to press the grout deeply into the joints.

Wiping Off Excess Grout with a Damp Sponge

After the grout is applied, use a damp sponge to wipe off any excess from the surface of the tiles. Rinse the sponge frequently to ensure it is clean and effective. This step will help achieve a clean and professional finish, free of grout residue. Allow the grout to cure as per the manufacturer’s instructions before using the shower.

Finishing Touches

Installing Shower Fixtures (Showerhead, Faucet, etc.)

With the primary tiling and waterproofing steps complete, you can now install the shower fixtures such as the showerhead and faucet. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to securely attach these fixtures to the plumbing. Ensure all connections are tight and test for leaks by running water through the system.

Sealing the Grout to Protect Against Moisture and Stains

To protect your grout from moisture and stains, apply a high-quality grout sealer to all grout lines. Use a small brush or applicator to ensure even coverage and allow the sealer to penetrate and cure as directed by the manufacturer. This step helps maintain the appearance and durability of your tiled surfaces.

Cleaning the Tiles and Bench to Remove Any Construction Residue

After installing the fixtures and sealing the grout, thoroughly clean the tiles and bench to remove any construction residue. Use a non-abrasive cleaner and a soft cloth or sponge to achieve a pristine finish.

Adding Decorative Elements Like Trim or Accent Tiles

Finally, consider adding decorative elements such as trim or accent tiles to enhance the overall look of your shower. These details can provide a polished and cohesive appearance, complementing your bathroom decor and personal style.


Building a shower with a bench involves careful planning, precise construction, and thorough waterproofing to ensure a durable and comfortable addition to your bathroom.

Recapping the essential steps, you begin with a well-prepared foundation, followed by installing the shower pan and drain system. Waterproofing the surface and tiling the shower and bench are critical for maintaining the integrity of your project. Grouting, sealing, and adding the finishing touches complete the process, ensuring both functionality and aesthetic appeal.

Proper planning and execution are paramount to the success of this project, with each step contributing to the final outcome.

The importance of waterproofing and meticulous construction cannot be overstated, as these measures prevent future issues such as leaks and water damage.

Building a shower with a bench not only enhances the comfort of your bathroom but also adds a personalized touch, reflecting your style and attention to detail. Thanks for reading our blog post about how to build a shower with a bench.

Photo of author

Adrian Green

Adrian is a woodworking hobbyist and has loved Woodworking since he was 10 years old. Back then in childhood, his father used to have a furniture shop. He used to help his dad and learned a lot from him about how to fix woodworking furniture, basic carpentry knowledge and also about how to work hard and take care of business. He enjoys woodworking as a hobby. He loves the feeling of creating something with his own hands, and the satisfaction that comes from seeing his finished products used by others.

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