Shower Benches – Why You Might Need One In Your Bathroom

By Sherry Holmes

Mike’s Advice / Sherry

Friday, July 5th, 2019 @ 3:07pm

As the rooms that offer the highest average return on investment, kitchens and bathrooms are smart places to spend your money. 

As a Holmes crewmember, I’ve worked on many bathroom renovation projects. If you are thinking about a bathroom remodel, you have a few questions to ask yourself. Is your remodel to improve your bathroom’s functionality – or is it purely for some cosmetic upgrades? Small aesthetic changes can have a big impact. Even something simple like changing the shower curtain, adding some new hardware, or changing up the vanity can make a huge difference. Of course, even if your goal is to make cosmetic upgrades only, I’d still recommend adding high efficiency taps, fixtures, and toilets.

When you’re renovating for improved functionality there are a lot of factors to consider. Do you want to make the bathroom more accessible? Do you want a shower, or a full tub? Are heated floors something you’re interested in? Spend your money wisely on materials, lumber, and building supplies. While we all want a space that looks great, it’s important to go beyond what my dad calls “lipstick and mascara.” It’s important to renovate to IMPROVE the space first.  The cosmetics can come when the bones are good.

Your Bathroom Features

If you are renovating or building a bathroom, consider incorporating these features:

  • Heated flooring. I hate putting my feet on cold tile. Who’s with me?
  • Curbless Walk-In shower
  • Knee wall
  • Shower niche for extra storage
  • High efficiency toilet
  • Little personal touches like a nice faucet, drain grate and 
  • A shower bench or shower seat

What is a Shower Bench?

A built-in shower bench is a seat that is framed right into the shower wall and floor, which is then waterproofed and tiled. 

These are some reasons you should consider installing a built-in shower bench:

  • Provides a foot rest for leg-shaving, exfoliating and foot scrubs (it’s a lifesaver)
  • Can provide extra surface for toiletries, sponges, and more
  • Provides a sitting option, especially important in case of mobility issues or injuries
  • If you have a steam shower, you will definitely want a shower bench

A shower bench can be custom or bought pre-fabricated.

What Type of Shower Bench Is For Me?

There are some factors you need to consider before putting in a built-in shower bench.

  • A narrow shower bench is good for resting a foot or to create an extra space for a few select toiletries
  • A corner bench leaves more floor space available

Corner Shower Benches leave more room for you and provide a seating area.

Pre-fabricated Shower Benches:

I love the prefabricated Kerdi-Board benches because they are waterproof and ready to tile. You can get triangular or rectangular ones. Which style you choose depends on how much surface area you are looking for on the bench. Preformed shower benches are not as time consuming to install, but you are limited to the sizes available.


If you have specialized needs, building a custom shower bench may be a better option for you.


Since the Kerdi-Board is flat, stable, AND waterproof, it’s also a better choice than using wood.

Custom Built-In Shower Benches:

You can build your custom shower bench using Kerdi-Board waterproof building panels. What I love about using Kerdi-Board to build a shower bench is that it’s not as time consuming as the traditional methods and I can tile it pretty much right away. 

The process is pretty simple. You use cut sections of 2”-thick Kerdi-Board and apply thin-set mortar. To bond the panels to the floor and wall substrates, apply unmodified thinset mortar to the supports. 


Waterproofing Your Shower Bench

The depth and height of a bench can be customized to the size of the bodies that will be using the bench.

Traditionally custom shower benches are constructed of wood sheathing, masonry, or wood framing. If that’s how you are building your shower bench, make sure it is waterproofed. In my opinion, the Schluter Kerdi Membrane is the best product out there for waterproofing your shower bench.

An incorrectly installed shower bench can create major issues in your bathroom. It can cause water leaks at the walls. Even in a bathroom, you don’t want water running wild. So make sure it stays where it should, and moves efficiently toward your drains. 

Ready to start your bathroom reno?

Check out 13 awesome bathroom ideas for inspiration!

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