Detailing a shower niche to resist leaks takes time, which makes Bonsal's preformed Niches an attractive option when you need to keep a tile job moving. The products come in four styles and can be installed in 16-inch on-center wall framing in a matter of minutes; sizes range from 6 inches square to 21 inches by 12 inches. Their extruded polystyrene foam construction resists rotting, leaking, and degrading, says the maker. The niches also have some insulating value, so condensation shouldn't collect inside the wall when wall-cavity insulation is removed for installation. Costs range from about $40 to $65 each. Bonsal, 800/738-1621, www.bonsal.com
Clients bored with the same old stone-lookalike tile might want to consider Walker Zanger's new porcelain-tile collection, Matouche. The 24-inch-square tiles come in four textures — the one shown, Croco, mimics crocodile hide — and three colors: black, brown, and ivory. They cost $11.75 per square foot.Walker Zanger, 818/252-4000,...
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