How to Build a Tiled Handicap Shower Seat How to Build a Tiled Handicap Shower Seat

What You'll Need
Brick mortar
Bricks or concrete blocks
Masons trowel
Rags and sponges
Putty knife
Knee pads
Tile nippers
Tile spacers
Short level
Straight edges
2, 5 gallon buckets

A handicap shower setup isn’t complete without a tiled shower seat installed. This takes away the hassle of transporting and storing portable shower chairs that often break down and need replacement too often than the budget allows. Built in shower chairs are typically for walk-in showers since they have enough room for them. Here are some easy steps you’ll want to take to build your own handicap shower seat.

Step 1 -  Determine the Size, Location and Shape of the Shower Chair

You might not want an over-sized shower bench to make it impossible for others to use the shower. You could build a rectangular shower bench that runs along a side or a triangular that is installed into a corner, allowing for the most movement around the walk-in shower for a caregiver or shower taker not using the chair. You also want to determine the height of the shower chair. A minimum of a 12 inch deep seat is needed to be securely sat upon. Be sure the average person can sit at such a height with legs straight. A bench that is too short will make it hard to stand up and may cause an accident. A chair or bucket can be used to determine proper height.

Step 2 -  Make the Mortar

You can buy mortar mix from mason supply or home improvement stores. The mixture you buy will only require you to add water and mix to a consistency of butter. Follow the instructions on the label closely. You will want to use a wheel barrow to mix the mortar, using a hoe or shovel. If you want to make the mixture yourself you can just use a bag of masonry cement and mix about 15 to 16 shovels of sand and enough water to make a consistency of butter.

Be sure you are ready to start building your bench before you mix your mortar. After you get your mixture to mud consistency, you want it to let it sit for 5 minutes then mix it again. You will have 45 minutes before it starts to get to hard to work with.

Step 3 - Begin Building Your Bench

  • Spread 1 inch of mortar in the area of your bench on the shower pan material.
  • Set your first brick or block into the mortar.
  • For a rectangular bench you’ll want the first piece to go into the corner.
  • Use your level to be sure it’s straight and level.
  • Do the leveling quickly because the bricks will suck the moisture out of the mortar fast.
  • Start again with fresh mortar if it gets to dry for your liking.

Just like a mason you will now build upon the first brick with more mortar, more brick, then more mortar, filling in behind the block. You can break pieces of brick with a hammer to fill in the ends that require smaller pieces of brick. A straight-edge will be used to flush the mortar and make a nice finish. The front of the bench won’t be perfectly straight and smooth so you’ll need to use mortar to smooth it out.

Step 4 - Adding Tile to Your Shower Chair

After the bench is dried and to your liking you can now add your tiles. Mark the location of your first row, at the bottom, with a level and a contractor’s pencil. Mortar the bottom row; apply your tile by firmly pressing on the row of tiles. They should stick to the wall of the shower chair. Now continue upward, keeping them spaced on all 4 sides with tile spacers.

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