The fully recessed bathroom accessories were originally installed by professionals. The professional tile installer would make the appropriate cutout in the wall and then build an internal box. The box would be partially filled with either plaster or thin-set cement.
In the modern era of improved adhesives this chore is no longer necessary. The following instructions apply to all fully recessed soap dishes and toilet paper holders with a flange. The following images show a soap dish installed with tile but it also works well on wall board.
First, determine where you want your soap dish or toilet paper holder.
Second, check for possible obstructions like studs, water pipes and electrical wires.
Third, measure the accessory to determine the largest dimension. In this installation I measured 6″ x 6″. You want to make the wall opening as tight as possible. Also install the tile as close to the edge of the cutout as possible. You want to maximize the surface area for the adhesive.
Wall opening was cut to approximately 6″ x 6″. Before cutting check for studs and water pipes. Install the tile as close to the edge as possible to the backer board. In a wet environment always use the proper backing like cement board or equivalent.
Place the soap dish in the opening and tape the edges. I am not the best at cleaning adhesive so this simplifies clean up and insures a neat caulk line.
Use a good quality adhesive in the color of your choice. Make sure it is waterproof. Apply a generous bead of adhesive around the entire flange and fill the gap between the edge of the tile and backer board. Install the soap dish into the wall and press firmly into position.
The adhesive used in this installation was GE Advanced Clear Silicone. It stated that it is rain ready in 30 minutes but to be safe we allow at least a 24 hour cure before removing the tape. Do not use the siliconized latex type caulks. They do not have the required strength.
Remove the excess adhesive using the manufacturers recommend solvent. After cleaning the adhesive remove the tape and voila a great clean caulk line.
You are almost done. Tape the recessed soap dish to the wall with several pieces of tape and remove at least 24 hours later.
A fully installed white ceramic recessed soap dish. Congratulations we knew you could do it!
Oh and one last recommendation. Occasionally check the integrity of the caulk. The last thing you want is water seepage into the wall.
Additional questions? Send us an email to [email protected]
In addition to the GE Advanced Silicone the following are a few examples of suitable adhesives. Loctite is an excellent brand and it specifically says Waterproof Sealant and can be use for aquariums. If it seals an aquarium it will definitely seal your ceramic recessed soap dish!
This is another example of good sealants. It was only available in a large tub and just in white but it is listed for interior and exterior applications. Loctite PL.