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Unread 03-16-2020, 11:49 AM   #1
gslenk
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Bathroom #2! Tub/shower combo

After a great success on the master bathroom, and many thanks for the help getting me there, it is time for bathroom #2.

I am using a Kohler villager cast iron alcove tub. And could use some ideas on niche/shelf placement.

1) The large wall is an exterior wall, in 2x4 framing. Even though Wedi board might have some insulation value, I don't think it is enough to defy the "no exterior wall niche sentiment" in my climate area.

2) The left wall has a vent pipe in the center stud cavity, so I'd have to get creative to put any niche(s) there.

3) The right wall has all the water supply plumbing (which can be rerouted any way to accommodate niche(s)). I was thinking one big niche centered between the mixing valves and the shower head.

4) Any opinions on where corner shelves should be located?

I've got a rough idea of how things might be laid out... I'm sure it can be improved significantly.
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Unread 03-16-2020, 07:21 PM   #2
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Sounds good to me, we make those kindah changes all the time.
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Unread 03-16-2020, 07:41 PM   #3
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So no problems with funky pipe routing around the niche?

Anyone got any inspiration pictures floating around? The usual google image search isn't working too well for me.

I've seen the slots/epoxy/biscuit (coin) tricks for shelves after the fact, but I'd feel better if I can plan out the shelves and have them locked into the thinset/tile.

I haven't picked out a specific tile scheme, but I would likely want to use natural stone for shelves and and shelves/base in the niche. Any issues with stone corner shelves in the ~1" (2cm) thickness variety?

Seems like you can never have enough space to put stuff in a shower, and I'd like to avoid needing those suction cup caddies if at all possible. Also don't want to create bumping hazards for showering/bathing.
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Unread 03-16-2020, 08:06 PM   #4
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I try to talk my clients out of shelves
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Unread 03-17-2020, 10:46 AM   #5
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I'd actually consider re-routing the vent in the end wall and putting the niche (or two, to avoid shelves) in there. It'll be super handy where you have it now but it'll also get inundated with water, every time, leading to more rapid mold/mildew growth.
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Unread 03-17-2020, 05:20 PM   #6
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So here are my thoughts on all that...

Water intrusion on a shower valve wall niche:
I'm thinking I shouldn't be too worried here (correct me if I am wrong...). As long as I maintain water shedding slopes, porcelain tile with spectralock grout it shouldn't let too much water into the thinset to fester. Using Wedi materials I'm pretty confident water wont get past the substrate ever. If I use a natural stone "base shelf" or "sill" in the niche, I imagine whatever water goes through the stone, should have no issue coming back out?

Moving the vent pipe:
It's a 2" pipe. Can't go any higher. Cant go to the right (outlet box occupies the skinny stud bay). Cant go left (trap arm to it would be too long). Could go lower, but would have to be 42" above the floor since it has to clear 6" above the flood level of the fixture it serves. Moving it would swiss cheese my studs.

I am thinking a tall, skinny niche may be in order. Would certainly make for an interesting tile layout. Ever add blocking/straps to block around a vent pipe? (something like the box I added around the vent picture)

I am so tempted to put a niche in the exterior wall, or make a sturdy ledge/shelf maybe somewhere around shoulder level?

Keep the ideas coming! And feel free to pick my ideas to shreds

And more pictures of clean valve wall niches wouldn't hurt. Unless that is still a very bad idea.
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Unread 03-17-2020, 07:42 PM   #7
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You're overthinking the water under the tile thing. In every shower we've built and taken apart, there is a little bit of water/moisture between the tiles and the waterproof membrane no matter what waterproofing system you use.
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Unread 03-17-2020, 08:10 PM   #8
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Regarding moving the vent pipe, once the vent pipe is higher than the flood liken (typically tub or vanity height), you can twist, turn and even go down as long as it eventually goes up through the roof.

Another point of consideration, there is no need to maintain the 2" size vent line, you can reduce it down to 1-1/2" to get it where you need it and then convert back to 2" where it connects to the line going through the roof.

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Unread 03-17-2020, 10:36 PM   #9
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Thanks for the vote of confidence on the valve wall niche. I assume regardless, the higher and wider option is better than a lower/taller/skinnier one in that area? Maybe one tall one to offset/balance the hand/wand shower rail?

Originally I was thinking a tall skinny one (or pair) on either side of the valve/head plumbing. But as I think about it, no sense in it being low since if you want stuff from that wall, you are already standing up for a shower anyway. Lower niche makes more sense on the opposite wall.

I am most likely replacing most studs in that wall anyway. I could frame a "window" for any extra wide niche.

Back to the vent, sorry to shoot down ideas... That vent serves a toilet, so it must remain 2".

Here's some ideas that don't involve reworking the vent (and/or turning studs into swiss cheese, although I could get some fancy simpson structural braces). Valve wall, anything goes.
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Unread 03-18-2020, 05:25 AM   #10
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Quote:
Back to the vent, sorry to shoot down ideas... That vent serves a toilet, so it must remain 2".
Lucky you, another victim of the UPC:

While both IRC and UPC plumbing vent sections allow 1-1/2”, the UPC limits the number of DFU served of “up to 8 DFU”, toilets are typically 3 DFU. However, air is apparently more viscous is area operating under UPC because they include this little gem which forces a 2 inch vent “EXCEPT six unit traps or water closets”

UPC also forced 2” shower drain where IRC sizes down to 1-1/2 based on DFU served.

Last edited by PC7060; 03-18-2020 at 06:12 AM. Reason: Clarified IRC vs UPC language
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Unread 03-18-2020, 06:04 AM   #11
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Hi Lenny, following up once again to the vent size, I see you are in Maryland which follows International Plumbing Code. Reading Section 906 Vent Pipe Sizing, it appears a 1-1/2” vent lines is allowed with limits based on developed length of vent.

There have been significant changes in venting pipe sizes requirements over the years in which the general trend has been reducing vent sizes along with combining vents to reduce number of roof penetrations.

For example, a house I worked on that was built in 1985 had two 3” vents plus a couple 1-1/2” vents. The large addition I’m currently working on with toilet, tow lavatory, tub, shower, laundry and two kitchen sinks is served by one 1-1/2” vent under IRC 2014 serving 3” waste line with maximum developed length is less than 40 feet’.

Just my 2 cents.

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Unread 03-18-2020, 07:53 AM   #12
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PC, you are right! It does appear that UPC = 2", IPC = 1.5" for vents in this situation. That might allow some flexibility.

Downstream of the trap arm, the pipe is 2", and a wet vent (via the lav). The IPC doesn't seem to say anything about this.

The adjacent, right stud bay is blocked almost entirely by a 2 gang box. I could go over to the small left bay with 1.5", staying 6" above the flood level. Or come 45 degrees "vertical" out of the fixture fitting (black lines). Should be able to squeeze a nice sized niche in there then.

That relieves some of the pressure to put corner shelves in.
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Unread 03-18-2020, 10:38 AM   #13
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If you do the jog over I would do it down low maybe even with or below the tub. This way you could do a niche down low so when you are taking a bath you could reach whatever you needed with out getting up. And I would still do the double in the valve wall
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Unread 03-18-2020, 01:03 PM   #14
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Quote:
Downstream of the trap arm, the pipe is 2", and a wet vent (via the lav). The IPC doesn't seem to say anything about this.
That makes sense, wet vent must be increased one size from the minimum drain size. So a 1-1/2” drain becomes a 2”.
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Unread 03-18-2020, 04:35 PM   #15
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Forensics on my own research/methods is fun right? I guess it was "too much codebook too soon". 1.5" from the fixture fitting and up would have made that plumbing project a little easier. At least the "mistake" was on the better side of the error margin.

Shawn, I wish I could do that. Only problem is that the vertical portion must remain vertical until it clears 6" above the bathroom lav rim that it serves. I'd guess that's in the ballpark of 42" above the finished floor, or 28" above the tub. Short of redoing all the plumbing, I have some options although slim.

Any feedback (or more inspiration pictures) on a niche configuration for the valve wall?

The tall skinny side option didn't turn out too great looking in the 3D model, and for whatever reason google image search doesn't want to spill the beans easily.
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