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The shower I have is made out of pvc/plastic. Soap holder is useless since I don’t use soap bars. Suction cup hooks inevitably fail. Totes that hang from the shower head are unsightly and isn’t secure.

I’m thinking of building some shelving out of solid maple, finishing them with polyurethane to waterproof, and then gluing the shelf to the shower walls.

Has anyone tried this? What glue did you use?

I’d imagine some type of glue that has decent holding strength (40 lb), non water soluble, but is removable (i.e., can pry out the wood and scrape out the excess) to be ideal.

Shelving is real simple: one 3/4” x 6” x 24” piece of maple (or maybe cedar) that’ll be glued to the walls and dado’d to receive 3 shelves. Don’t worry about the joinery, I’ll make that work.

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    do you have access to back side of shower walls? ... metal plate and supermagnets may work better than glue – jsotola Dec 7 '20 at 7:14
  • This is very much opinion based. As Michael Karas♦ noted in his answer there are possibilities for doing so, but very, very few people do. Most folk make due with some collection of the options you've discarded. Of course, it's your shower, so go ahead and do what you want to do. Worst case scenario, your adhesive fails and the whole thing lands on your foot. Other worst case: the wood rots through due to poor sealing and a bottle of shampoo falls through and lands on your foot. If you're willing to risk it, go for it. – FreeMan Dec 7 '20 at 11:53
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    @FreeMan Yep, I will definitely try it/mock up a test. The results should be interesting. I think my question poses a question that can be answered objectively though, especially if someone has tried to do it. I'll rephrase the question. – Minh Tran Dec 7 '20 at 14:39
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    This isn't a matter of opinion. It's a specific technical question about what adhesive bonds urethane and PVC (two non-porous surfaces). – isherwood Dec 7 '20 at 14:47
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    @jsotola I love the magnet idea. Even without real access one may just be able to lower magnets between the wall and the shower stall on strips of tape or the like to the desired position, and then attach the shelf. – Peter - Reinstate Monica Dec 8 '20 at 0:07
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Wood and water are a poor mix. There is a really good reason that you do not see show enclosures made out of wood. It is also the reason that you will not find much in the way of wood shelves for use in showers.

When wood is used in showers and steam rooms for benches and shelves the wood of choice is teak.

If you are bound and determined to put maple wood shelves in your shower then make sure that when you apply the polyurethane that you get it applied to all sides, edges, corners, tops and bottoms before you mount the unit.

You will have to experiment but there is a good likelihood that a silicone type adhesive may adhere well to the smooth polyurethane surface and to the smooth shower wall. Before committing it would be well to make a small test wood piece that you finish with polyurethane and then see of the chosen adhesive will stick to it. There are also a family of construction adhesives that will adhere to some types of plastics and finished wood surfaces but again try before committing.

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  • I'd forgotten about Teak. Wayfair has bamboo tote hangers so that species also seem feasible. Hey, it'd be a real break-through for DIYers if something works right? – Minh Tran Dec 7 '20 at 14:45
  • Used to sell teak. The reason it's so prized is it naturally retains its oils. The only problem is it doesn't grow widely like pine, maple, poplar, etc. so it's pretty expensive. – Machavity Dec 7 '20 at 22:43
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I think I'd use a permanent outdoor mounting tape--one with foam or silicone as its backer. It's good for a couple reasons:

  • The bond will be reliable. The combination of specialty adhesive and a malleable surface make it likely to perform well.
  • It'll leave a clean (or hidden) edge. Fluid adhesives are likely to squeeze out, ruining your aesthetic. Even if you use masking tape on all surfaces you'll likely see the edge of the glue. You can trim the tape to size if needed.
  • You don't have to prop your shelving in place while it cures. Just be sure to position it well when you make contact.

No matter what you use, be sure to clean all surfaces well first. I'd probably use alcohol. As user Criggie suggests, cut a point or slope at the top end of the tape to facilitate water drainage.

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    further - position/angle the tape at a slope so water runs off and doesn't pool on top. Or better, design the item so it has "sloped" edges, and install the foam tape to the edge. – Criggie Dec 7 '20 at 18:44
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Don't use adhesives or fasteners. I used wedges. I cut my shelf edges so that when weight is added to the shelves the wedges push outward and tighten against the shower wall. Oh, yeah use cedar. I think my total cost was about $8.

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