Building a Mortar and Cement Block Bench for a Shower
All these benches have been built by Harry Dunbar
All work by: Harry Dunbar
For a ceramic tile shower bench, begin building your shower as you normally would.
(My customer had built the structure and installed backerboard in preparation for this project)
I always like to finish the backerboard and sloped mortar bed first.
After the mortar bed for the shower pan is complete ... allow it to set up over night.
Since I'll be using Fat-Mud to set the blocks, I'll also complete the curb using the same mortar after the bench is completed.
Decide how big the seat is going to be and smash or cut the blocks to accomodate the size you have in mind. Building blocks or bricks come in all different sizes which make it easy to form your bench.
One bag of "Mortar-Mix" is enough for this job. Mortar-Mix can be found in every building supply outlet in 50 or 60 lb bags. Mix with water into a mixture which should spread like peanut-butter.
Your initial blocks must be set plumb and level ... using chips of broken block can help shim them into place until your mortar sets up.
Try to have some idea of where the finished surfaces of the bench will be in relation to the wall tile. Remember to slope the top surface to create positive run-off.
The surfaces of the mortar must be scraped flat and plumb, making sure to create slopes to the horizontal areas to allow water to run into the shower. You may have to let the mortar set up an hour or more before you attempt this. After 2 or 3 hours you may scrape the surfaces flat and smooth with the flat edge of your trowel. The next day a piece of brick can be used to smooth it even more should any minor humps remain.
I've used the same mud to build my curb.
Apply waterproofing as you normally would. I've chosen Kerdi membrane for this project.
I always allow the Kerdi to set-up over night before setting tile.
All complete except for the grouting.
I think a bench built in a shower adds a practical and decorative advantage to any sized shower and with a bit of planning, can be done without compromising space.