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Unread 01-12-2020, 11:40 AM   #1
D & D Reno
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Insulation for exterior wall niche

First post, long time lurker. Licensed builder, one of our specialties is tile. Switched over to the Schluter system 2 yeas ago. Before that, cement board, mud pans or Tile Redi pans.

Wanted to ask some other professionals their experience regarding shower niches in exterior walls. Do you do them? What do you do for insulation? Smash back the fiberglass mat? XPS foam board behind them on 2x6 walls?

I've read through plenty of posts on here and other places, not much info. Lots of, "I don't do them". I agree it isn't the first choice, but I know people have to be doing them.

We are in Northern Michigan, climate zone 6.
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Unread 01-12-2020, 11:51 AM   #2
Tool Guy - Kg
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Welcome to the forum, Antonio.

2x4 walls create a “no-go” situation. It’s not as bad as some “genius” putting water feed lines in an exterior wall in the cold climate that you and I live in. I know folks want them, but it’s foolish to put one in a 2x4 wall where the insulation is almost nil.

I wouldn’t mind so much on a 2x6 wall, if you use at least 2” of foam.
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Unread 01-12-2020, 12:02 PM   #3
cx
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Welcome, Antonio.

If you'll go to the Advanced Search feature, type in exterior and niche (all three words), ask to Search Entire Posts, and ask for your results as Posts, you'll find several hundred posts on the subject. Lot of different ways people have handled the problem.

I agree with Goldstein. In your climate, doing that in a 2x4 framed exterior wall is a very poor idea. Even if you don't mind your shampoo being frozen or very cold, it's still not good for the tile installation to be changing temperature to the degree and speed likely in a shower application.

Even as far south as north Texas I've had water pipes freeze in exterior 2x4 walls when the insulation was not well handled.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 01-12-2020, 12:40 PM   #4
D & D Reno
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Thanks for the welcome guys!

I would only consider it in a 2.6 wall. With 2" of XPS you would get R10, another 2.2 from the Kerdi, giving you a total of 12.2. Wouldn't use PolyIso board despite it's higher per inch R value, actually loses R value in colder temps.

I didn't quite search like mentioned, I will give it a try. Just basic "exterior niche" several different ways. Read through a few pages, and always find my interest piqued by something else and suddenly an hour goes by and I'm an expert on something I had no intention on researching. lol Although I did see some terrible pics on here of poor customers with some really sketchy tile contractors. One looked like they were going to use the exterior sheathing as the back of the niche by just throwing some Red Guard on it. Did see a good idea her or on the net where they put the niche between the shower head and valve by bumping the water pipe out from the valve and back again for the shower head. That honestly never crossed my mind but may use that sometime.

Promised the wife I would finally tile one of our showers at our own house this winter when work slowed down. Haven't quite slowed down as much as I thought (a good problem), but I busted out the 1 piece shower yesterday. I knew if I didn't start it at some point, it would never happen. You know the saying, the plumber always has leaky pipes. Same seems to go with tile; the guy that can make awesome showers for others, has 1 piece fiberglass shower at home.

If anyone else has any opinions or experience, I would love to hear it!
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Unread 01-12-2020, 01:08 PM   #5
Tiger Mountain Tile Inc
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One thing that you could do is semi-recess it so it's maybe 1-2 inches in the wall with insulation behind it. Then have a sill, or shelf, at the bottom that protrudes out a bit.
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Unread 01-12-2020, 09:13 PM   #6
Tool Guy - Kg
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What about installing a toe niche down low for shaving?
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Unread 01-13-2020, 09:00 AM   #7
D & D Reno
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Yep. Using a 6” Kerdi niche, brave on bottom with 2 by. I don’t care for benches in showers unless it’s 60”, rather have the shower space.
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