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Ron411 01-05-2020 09:51 AM

Niche on exterior wall issues?
Hello all,

I’m in the process of remodeling our 3’x5’ master shower. 2 of the 3 walls are exterior walls, then the other is interior with plumbing. I’d like to put a niche on the back wall (exterior) but wasn’t sure of the issues it may cause with no insulation behind the niche, and cutting out of a stud to form the niche. I live in southern Ohio so it gets pretty cold in the winter.

cx 01-05-2020 09:57 AM

Welcome, Ronnie. :)

If you don't add that geographic location to your User Profile it'll be lost before we leave this page.

Are your exterior walls framed with 2x4 or 2x6 material?

If 2x4, your shampoo might not actually freeze in the winter, but it'd be close enough that I wouldn't consider it. With a 2x6 wall, you might get enough insulation behind the niche to make that location feasible, but I'd still recommend you put the niche in a different wall.

My opinion; worth price charged.

ss3964spd 01-05-2020 10:00 AM

Welcome, Ronnie,

The exterior walls - are they framed with 2X4's or 2X6's? If 2x6's you might be able to get enough foam board insulation behind the niche to make it work. If both are exterior walls than at least one will be load bearing, so cutting a stud in that wall would be more of a challenge.

Any option of re-routing the pluming in the interior wall? If you're only feeding a fixed shower head up from a typical control valve you could possibly go around the niche.

Ron411 01-05-2020 10:08 AM

Thanks for the welcome CX and Dan,

I’ve got my location updated so that isn’t lost in the thread. My walls are 2x4’s. Rerouting of the plumbing was something I was considering as well, since it’s only supplying a shower head.

ss3964spd 01-05-2020 10:20 AM


Originally Posted by Ronnie
Rerouting of the plumbing was something I was considering...

Given the 2X4 framing you'll not be able to get any useful amount of insulation behind a niche without making the niche very shallow and with a very protruding bottom shelf, so I'd explore re-routing the feed to the shower head.

Carbidetooth 01-05-2020 10:33 AM

2 Attachment(s)
Ronnie, if there's an option, best to locate in interior wall or perhaps surface mount shelves. I've done some nice stainless steel ones and I think Schluter now offers corners. I like niches, but they are crud collectors and somewhat harder to clean.

Pictured is a job where client had to have in exterior wall that had several challenges. The 3 stud post could not be compromised and there was a 1" diagonal strap brace that really shouldn't be modified. Also really didn't want to give up 2" of backwall depth to furring out.

My approach was to remove all insulation, then gun foam intersction of sheathing to frame, replace f-glass batts and fill in area of niche with 1" XPS R5 foam board.In the insulation game, air sealing is just as important as insulation depth. And, truth be told, f-glass batts are the worst at air sealing.

By extending the quartz sill into shower a bit, I was able to accommodate big bottles on bottom and skinnies on top. I've been back to this house several times for more remodeling and asked client how it was working as well sticking my hand in the space to assess shampoo freezing potential. No problem with either. I should say that other side of this wall was in entry alcove so slightly protected, but still exterior in Idaho.

Ron411 01-06-2020 04:43 PM

Shower pan drain question
Hello all

Getting ready to set my drain into my subfloor, 3/4 plywood, and had a few questions.

1. How far off the subfloor does the drain sit typically for preslope layer?
2. How thick at the drain should by pre slope layer be? Furthest corner from the drain is 35”

Davy 01-06-2020 07:48 PM

I like drilling the hole in the plywood (around 2 1/2 inches) small enough so the 4 nubs on the bottom of the drain can rest on the plywood. From the flange, you should have about 3/4 mud thickness at the drain for the preslope. It doesn't matter how far away the walls are, get the drain set right and work from there 1/4 inch pitch per ft.

cx 01-06-2020 07:50 PM

Ronnie, please keep all your project questions on one thread so folks can see what you're working on and what's been previously asked and answered. A moderator can give it a more generic title any time you'd like to suggest one.

Ron411 01-06-2020 08:30 PM


Thanks for the input, I’ll stick to 3/4 at the drain and work from there.


I’ll be sure and keep all posts on here. Thanks for the notice.

Ron411 01-08-2020 07:10 PM

Hello all,

Is a metal lath layer necessary for preslope?

cx 01-08-2020 07:14 PM

Over a wood framed subfloor, yes, it is, Ronnie. First is a cleavage membrane, which can be roofing felt, polyethylene sheeting, or similar, then staple down your minimum 2.5 pound metal lath.

Your final mud bed of minimum 1 1/2" uniform thickness does not require welded wire reinforcement.

My opinion; worth price charged.

Ron411 01-15-2020 07:25 AM

Hello all,

I am getting ready to hang my wallboard (hardibacker) and i want to make sure what i read about installing hardi is correct. My understanding is it is supposed to set above the final mortar layer, is this right? if so how much, and what about the gap between floor and bottom of board?

Additionally, what is the best thinset to use for shower floor and walls?

thanks in advance.

ss3964spd 01-15-2020 07:38 AM

Morning Ronnie,

Yup, you'll wanna hold that Hardie off the floor by about 1/4".

You're doing a mud bed preslope/ a liner with clamping drain, and then a mud final slope, right? I didn't see it anywhere, what are you doing to water proof the walls?

Best thinset mortar to use depends a bit on what kind of tiles you're using, and what you're sticking them to.

speed51133 01-15-2020 07:48 AM

My sister renovated a 60's home in south eastern Wisconsin. Her contractor was, in my opinion, not the best.

In one of her bathrooms he put the shower control valve in a corner of two exterior walls. Her walls are 2x4 with fiberglass batt insulation.

Last winter was exceptionally cold. Her master shower pipes froze and they could not take a shower in there for a little over a week. Yes, they also have a niche in that wall where the bottles almost froze. The full glass shower door also makes that shower stall not receive much heat from the register that is hidden under the vanity with a toe kick plate. Fortunately her pex pipes did not burst.

Don't let that happen to you.

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