When I asked if you guys would want the tutorial for this corner shower foot rest on Instagram, I gotta say, I kind of love that it was an unanimous “Yes!” and that you guys are as into simple shower luxuries as I am! I take my shower time very seriously, which is why I really wanted to maximize the little amount of space we have for the shower in our bathroom and not phone it in with design choices. Whatever little luxuries I could squeeze into this tiny shower space, I was going to. Which is why this little shower foot rest that helps make shaving a breeze in this small space is so heaven sent.
HOW TO INSTALL A CORNER SHOWER FOOT REST
Ok so sure, you could just buy a corner teak shower “stool” for this, or a plastic suction cup foot rest for the wall, or any number of other shower/foot rest contraptions sold out there on the interwebs. But in my humble opinion, for a small shower like ours this is the most elegant, low profile way to capture the convenience of a foot rest and make it last. It blends right in with the rest of the shower, takes up such a small amount of space and in our case, the stone is the same stone we used for the shelf in the shower niche which makes it look like it’s supposed to be there. It’s so important for me to note, though that this is NOT a seat. This little foot rest should be relatively small (though you can choose just how big or small it is), but it is absolutely not meant for sitting on any way, or putting any significant amount of weight on. Trying to sit on something like this, the way it was installed, is a recipe for disaster. So don’t do it!
The foot rest was originally supposed to be installed when our bathroom was remodeled last year, but we just couldn’t decide on the best method for making it stable and 100% waterproof, so it sat untouched on a shelf in the bathroom cabinet for about a year. One day when I was sick of looking at it sitting in the cabinet and not having an easy way to shave my legs in the small space without toppling over, I finally turned to Chris and said, “We have to get this done before I lose my mind.” I was determined. So after some helpful guidance from my mom’s tile pro paired with a promise to myself to make it happen within the week, this project was underway. Now obviously you could install this during the building or remodeling process, but this tutorial is really meant for all my kindred spirits out there who aren’t building or remodeling your bathroom and have to do a good old fashioned retrofit to implement this little slice of heaven… which is a probably a good chunk of you guys!
Because you’re retrofitting your shower for this, that means you’ll be cutting into the tile and into the mortar behind it to accomplish this project. As such, this is one of those projects that isn’t for the faint of heart because if you aren’t happy with the result you may end up having to replace a couple of shower tiles to fix it (which isn’t the end of the world, but a pain nevertheless), but there are a few important prep items that I had to wrap my head around before I even touched the shower to make sure that I could do as clean of a job as possible on this project as a person who has rarely worked with tile, and make the process simple enough for you guys to execute at home. Those were:
Important Corner Shower Foot Rest Installation Preparation Tips
- I grabbed a piece of large subway tile from Home Depot that I could take home and practice my lines on with my angle grinder and my oscillating tool before I tackled the real deal in the shower. I’ve always found that if you’re using a tool that you’re relatively inexperienced with and have a delicate job ahead of you, it’s always essential to practice using that tool as much as possible so you’re confident in how it handles and its ins and outs before you tackle the project. In this case, it was beyond helpful to work with the angle grinder and the oscillating tool on a material that was exactly like what I’d be using them on because getting straight lines with these things isn’t exactly a walk in the park if you’ve never used them on tile. I’m so glad I got a handle on the way both tools cut on tile before I dove into the real thing.
- Another important element of this project’s success was using the right tools. The 4” angle grinder with a continuous diamond blade was so important for me in getting a straight line on the tile. I first practiced with the angle grinder using a serrated diamond blade, and that didn’t give me as clean a cut as the continuous diamond blade, which I had to order on Amazon. Also, if I didn’t switch to using the oscillating tool with a really small diamond blade for my side cuts on the tile cutout, there’s no way I wouldn’t have overshot the cut. Those side cuts are about 1”, so the 4″ angle grinder and blade wouldn’t have been a good option to cut that, and the other wider diamond blades that came in the pack of diamond blades I ordered for the oscillating tool wouldn’t have worked either. I actually ended up using the corner of the smallest diamond blade quite a bit to make a really precise cut for those two sides and for getting back into and cleaning out the mortar. So all in all, gathering and using the right tools was essential!
How to Install a Corner Shower Foot Rest
Corner Shower Foot Rest Installation Supplies
Oscillating Multi Tool Diamond Blade Set
Shop The Post
Corner Shower Foot Rest Installation Instructions
- Hold the shelf up on the wall where right you want to install it – could vary depending on the height that’s most comfortable for your foot to rest while shaving. Also set it in a spot that allows the top of the foot rest to line up with a grout line (a grout line is easier to cut into and will give you a nice clean line at the top of your foot rest).
- Hold the foot rest there and outline it with a pen or marker on your tile.
- Then take your 4” angle grinder and cut the long sides of your outline. You’ll need to cut through the tile and through the mortar, but don’t cut into the cement board behind the mortar. Wet the tile with water if your tool starts to overheat while working. Remember, you can always cut more, but you can’t cut less. So cut as tight as you possibly can to your outline on your first go, knowing that if you need to make your cutout slightly larger you can after dry fitting the foot rest.
- Then cut the short sides of your outline using your oscillating tool and small diamond blade. Go slowly with these cuts so you don’t overshoot it. Also know that the oscillating tool will take a little bit longer to cut through the tile and mortar than your angle grinder did. The grinder is a little bit more powerful in this situation, so be patient with the oscillating tool. Wet the tile with water if your tool starts to overheat while working.
- You’ll most likely have to scrape out the remaining mortar left behind inside your cutout with a chisel. It’s important that you completely clear all of that out so you have a flat surface to bond your foot rest to. You can also carefully use the oscillating tool to “chip” out really stubborn mortar. Just be careful and cautious when doing that.
- Now that you’ve made your cutout, dry fit or test the fit of your foot rest inside the cutout and see if you need to do any more work with the grinder or the oscillating tool to make the foot rest fit inside the cutout. It should be a really tight fit, but don’t be disappointed if it doesn’t slip right in on the first go. I had to touch up some of my cutout with both tools to make it fit in there perfectly. That’s more of a “shaving” process than cutting with your blades.
- Line the back of your foot rest (the part of the foot rest that will be adhering to the wall/cement board) with clear silicone. The silicone will act like glue, bonding your foot rest to the wall behind it.
- Take the foot rest and slowly push it into place inside your cutout, holding it firmly in place for 30 seconds so your silicone can set.
- Caulk all the way around the outside of your foot rest, where your foot rest meets your tile – you should be using waterproof silicone caulk for this. My tile is white, so I used a white silicone caulk.
What We Would Have and Should Have Done Differently
I think it’s important to share that sometimes, actually more often than not, when we tackle a DIY project for the first time, no matter how well I prep and practice the process, it doesn’t come out perfectly and I learn something valuable that I can file away in my DIY project information vault. Sometimes the imperfection is slight and something only I would notice, sometimes it’s slightly more catastrophic. On this project, I overlooked one important calculation that meant that my end result wasn’t completely perfect. Meaning, the final look of the foot rest wasn’t as perfect as it could or should be. On this project the imperfection isn’t that noticeable, but it’s an important detail nevertheless and one that if I had more experience with something like this, I wouldn’t have overlooked in my planning phase.
And it’s actually pretty simple. When I traced the outline of my foot rest onto my tile, I simply followed that outline and cut my opening in the tile per that outline. What I didn’t calculate was that I was cutting into the tile and then into the mortar behind that, so when I pushed my shelf into my cutout, the shelf was pushed back about 7/16” or so (the tile is about 1/4” thick and the mortar is about 3/16” thick) and because of that, I was left with a little bit of a gap between my tile and the two ends of my foot rest. If that doesn’t make sense or is tough to visualize, I included a close up pic below of the amount of space between one of the ends of my shelf and the tile so you can see how much extra silicone caulk I had to use to fill in that gap and make it look presentable. And that’s just not ideal. The end of the foot rest should sit flush to the tile next to it without that weird gap.
So although the imperfection doesn’t look terrible necessarily and I really carefully and diligently filled it in with a lot of waterproof silicone caulk to not only make it look Ok but to also make sure it was waterproof, when I make a mistake like that or a miscalculation I always think about what I would have done differently so you guys don’t make the same mistakes I do. Upon further contemplation on how I could have best avoided that mistake from the start and fabricated my pieces properly to avoid that, I consulted my dad. Per usual. Because he’s the knower of all things and whether it’s an equation or simply a fabrication solution, he always comes up with a really perfect fix. Which he did, with ease. His solution? Before tracing the outline of my leg rest onto the tile, I should have had the stone shop where we had this little foot rest fabricated cut a 45 degree notch at each end of my foot rest so that it has a little bit of an overhang at each end that will sit flush to the tile. Not sure what that would look like? Just check out the awesome rendering my dad whipped up for you guys below so you can see how that would all shake out and what those two notches at the end of the foot rest would look like. The measurements shown are just general or approximate measurements and may vary for the foot rest you guys are using at home because your tile and mortar combo may be thicker, your foot rest may be bigger or smaller depending on your preference, etc. but you can use this as a guide to show whoever is fabricating your foot rest what to do, or use it to alter the foot rest you have yourself to include the 45 degree notches at the ends using whatever tile cutter you have at home.
The reason I say that we should have had the stone shop cut the notches was because that’s where I got this foot rest when our bathroom was remodeled. They fabricated the shelf in the shower niche and the foot rest out of the same stone for us, so had I just shown them what I needed or taken the foot rest back to them, I could have easily gotten it made with the two notches I needed.
Have you ever had to install a corner shower foot rest before? Let me know in a comment below!
I can’t wait to do this for our shower! Definitely keeping you on speed dial for that project!