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-   -   Niche question (https://www.johnbridge.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=124180)

ecoRetro 11-28-2017 01:32 AM

Niche question
Hi all,

I framed in a niche in my basement shower, but misunderstood where the grout line was supposed to line up. So, long story short, I am off by 1/2" (too low). I had already installed the Durock around the niche, and taped and thinset the joints, before I realized my error.

To fix it, can I just thinset in another piece of 1/2" Durock on the bottom of the niche (and then add more tape and thinset)? Does it have to be screwed in too? I have the 1-1/4" special screws, but figured that they won't reach the supporting 2x4 so perhaps it would be better not to drill more holes in the CBU?

I suppose I could just live with the grout lines not lining up...but I have come this far...

Thanks in advance for your guidance,

jondon 11-28-2017 05:35 AM

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Hi Les:)

We have all been in your shoes before where we realized the niche would not line up with a tile joint which is ideal. You could live with it but you can do the easy fix as you stated. Adding is easy, taking away not so easy. Add your half inch durock, I wouldn't worry about screwing it in, just thinset it over the other piece. Assuming you are just going to liquid waterproof over it just make the piece tight and waterproof over it. It you have gap 1/8" or more tape like you have previously done.

We always line up the niche to a joint coming across, in many cases making it
the exact size of a tile so the joint lines up on bottom and top. 13" in this case.
We always use a shelf as well versus tile.

ecoRetro 11-29-2017 12:21 AM

Thank you!
Hi Jon,

Thanks for your quick and helpful reply! That is some beautiful tile work you shared.

I did add a piece of Durock to the bottom of the niche and I think it is going to look so much better.

I have a few pieces of travertine that I can use for the inside of the niche (rather than the plain white 6" square tiles I am using on the walls). From what I have read here in the forum, I should be able to hone the cut edge using super-fine sandpaper and an orbital sander. Any tips for getting a good result from that process?

Thanks again,

John Bridge 11-29-2017 05:57 AM

Hi Les, :)

You can do the edging by hand, too. It's much les expensive than buying discs for your sander. Use the sander to get the basic shape and then go with progressively finer grits of sandpaper. I start with 100 and work through to 600. That gives you a fine honed look. :)

I want to make sure you understand that Jon is assuming you intend to waterproof the shower before tiling. Is that the case?

ecoRetro 11-29-2017 10:57 AM

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Hi John,

Thanks for your advice on the travertine. :clap1:
Do I need to be concerned about any voids on the edges of the travertine? If so, what material should I use to fill them?

I'm using RedGard for waterproofing the whole shebang. Although...now that I have cut a hole in the Durock (post-Redgard) for the niche, I suspect I haven't put it on thick enough to meet the manufacturer specs. I did use a 3/4" nap roller and applied three coats along with a primer coat. As I get ready to paint the niche, I guess I will have to be even more heavy-handed with it!

Thanks for hosting such an informative and helpful forum, John! :clap1:


Houston Remodeler 11-29-2017 11:32 AM

Just be sure to allow it to fully dry between coats. RG shrinks as it dries, so it can crack if applied to heavily. Many light coats are better than a few heavy ones.

ecoRetro 12-01-2017 12:28 AM

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Thanks, Paul -- good advice! I put three coats of Redgard on the niche, letting them each dry thoroughly, and then got back to tiling.

Here's my progress so far. You may be able to see that I'm having some lippage problems. Part of that is due to my being too heavy with the thinset on the mesh around the niche. But in other areas, I just seem to have a hard time getting an even coat of thinset on the wall.

I find myself combining and re-combing and just making a bigger mess the more I futz with it. I hope I'll get better with more practice, but do you pros have any advice on how to get an even bed laid down?


jondon 12-01-2017 04:13 AM

Looking good Les, the niche is placed perfectly I am glad you decided to get it lined up. When a niche is placed right the tile flows through vs it being an eyesore. A little bit of lippage isn't a big deal, if you did this day in day out you would know the tricks. The key to installing tile without lippage is going over a substrate that is flat. You are only as good as what you go onto. Overall the layout of the shower looks good, more importantly it is waterproofed. :)

ecoRetro 12-01-2017 11:38 AM

Tile removal
Thanks for the encouragement, Jon. I agree that the niche looks so much better aligned vertically with the grout line. I would have aligned it horizontally too, if I could have controlled the location of the studs! :twitch:

I'm hoping most of the lippage will disappear when I finish the grout, which will be white. However, the worst offender is on the far left, second row down and I'm concerned could interfere with future glass enclosure installation. Should I try to remove and replace this tile? And if so, how do I do that without messing up the others...?

jondon 12-02-2017 06:59 AM


posted by Les:
I'm hoping most of the lippage will disappear when I finish the grout, which will be white. However, the worst offender is on the far left, second row down and I'm concerned could interfere with future glass enclosure installation. Should I try to remove and replace this tile? And if so, how do I do that without messing up the others...?
Les, the lippage won't disappear but you can certainly build up that area with grout to hide it, you will always know it's there. I would recommend this because I know exactly what the glass installers are looking for. Put level or anything flat up that wall. If it is sticking out further than the rest and your straightedge or or level rocks on it I would redo it. They don't have a problem when it is in but it should not stick out. Glass wants flat just like your tile. As for removing the tile should you decide, pry it up it might come out without damaging the waterproofing. If it does just redo it. Tape the tiles around it and apply the red stuff again after scraping.:)

ecoRetro 12-03-2017 08:32 PM

Tile to drywall transition
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Thanks, Jon! For now, I will probably just hang a shower curtain. If I do have the budget for glass, it will be a framed kit, rather than a custom installation. Hopefully the kits are a bit more forgiving than the glass guys!

My current puzzle is whether I can install the top row of tile before the drywall patch in the ceiling is done. Do I have to tape the seam between the cement board and the ceiling drywall? Or can I put the tile in now and just caulk the gap later once the drywall is in? Ideally, I would like to finish all the tiling and get the grouting done in a single pass, but I don't want to mess up the last step.

Thanks in advance to all you pros for your continuing assistance!

Houston Remodeler 12-03-2017 09:15 PM

Depends on your local code. round these parts it has to have at least one layer of tape and float

ecoRetro 12-03-2017 11:19 PM

I'm in a relatively rural part of Washington state, Paul. The building inspector didn't mention anything on this topic when he came by for the rough-in. That said, he focuses primarily on safety issues, so if taping completes the fire blocking, then I want to do it up right.

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