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Unread 09-10-2023, 10:52 AM   #1
Nebular
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Avoiding L-Shaped cuts. Niches

Hi,

I'm not exactly a novice tile setter, but I'm certainly a novice among those here. My question is with niches is there is a trend among pros where they avoid cutting into tile to fit in the niche. ie: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q5lM...index=8&t=246s

How difficult is this and is it actually practical to do in real applications? It seems like a high-risk low reward situation, where being off by a 1/2 inch could ruin your wall.

I'd like to hear opinions.
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Unread 09-10-2023, 01:24 PM   #2
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Lay your tiles out,place your spacers and transfer the measurements to the wall. Hard to miss that way.

The problem I see with that niche or any 12" tile niche is that a shampoo bottle from Costco/Sam won't fit inside. I usually build them based on the tallest bottle I can find in the shower I tear out and ask the customer if there is a chance there might be one taller in the future. It has to be functional
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Unread 09-10-2023, 02:31 PM   #3
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Can't say that it's a trend, Neb, but I don't hang around the industry as I once did. We've certainly had questions here on the forums about the best methods to line up grout joints around niches, but that doesn't necessarily mean there won't be any cuts at all in that area.

Following the method in that video certainly limits the size and shape tiles you can use on your shower walls, as well as your layout and location. And to say that it's looks better is a tad on the arrogant side, to my thinking. If the video producer had said it looks better to him, I could certainly accept that, but I don't think the avoidance of any cuts around the niche should be a primary consideration. Browse through our Niche thread in the Alumni Albums forum and you'll find just about anything as far as layout is concerned, and even when I don't particularly like the aesthetics of every one, they're well done and look quite acceptable.

I agree with Shawn that the primary consideration in any niche should be functionality. Doesn't matter what it looks like if the customer can't put her shower products in it.
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Unread 09-10-2023, 06:49 PM   #4
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I'll work my way over to that niche thread. Thank you for the responses.
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Unread 09-10-2023, 08:53 PM   #5
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Neb,

I'm not a tile professional by trade but I do pay attention to trends I see online and in person at my local tile shops (including photos in literature available at tile shops). In my opinion, it is a trend to line up grout lines with features such as a niche. I believe this has also gone hand-in-hand with the proliferation of Large and Very Large Format tiles being used in showers. The linear drain is another trend that also holds hands with LFT tiles.

One of the techniques I have used in ensuring a niche top and bottom are in the right place to line up with a grout line is to frame the desired width of the niche and leave the top and bottom framing out. Then set your wall substrate WITHOUT cutting your niche out... until some tiles are set below and the landing point of the wall tile at the bottom of the niche is much more solid than it was before any tiles were set.

Once you are confident that you know the exact bottom of the niche, you can cut out the substrate on that wall and frame in the bottom framing of the niche - of course taking into account tile thicknesses, mortar thicknesses, any edge profiles, etc. etc. (this has worked well with Kerdi Board and of course you have to seal it all up before your tile actually gets set at the niche)

I hope that makes sense.

Last note, when adding the top and bottom framing to the niche after cutting out the niche in your wallboard, a pocket hole jig comes in very handy to screw those 2X4's in!
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Unread 09-10-2023, 10:15 PM   #6
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I think that is a clever idea, but how would you frame the width of the niche without having the top and bottom?

My preferred substrate would also be durock, one cause that’s what I have experience with and two because code may require it here. So cutting that may also be a pain in the rear.
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Unread 09-11-2023, 08:56 AM   #7
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I don't mind L cuts around the niche as long as both sides of the L are good size.
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Unread 09-11-2023, 10:59 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nebular
I think that is a clever idea, but how would you frame the width of the niche without having the top and bottom?
Sometimes the things in my head are difficult to explain but they work.

So when you frame a niche within two 16" OC studs you just add a 2X4 horizontally between the studs to create the top and bottom framing for the niche substrate. Most of us are making niches that don't fall between studs and/or are wider than two 16" OC studs. So I will frame in a header with king and jack studs as if installing a window or door at the width of what I want my niche to be. That header can be at any height above where the niche top falls. Then install studs 16" OC between the bottom plate and header for your wall substrate to attach to.

When you determine your exact niche height, cut out the wall substrate and the studs between the sides of the niche and add the framing 2X4's between the studs, top and bottom, then place the niche bottom and side substrate.

This allows you to be able to install your wall substrate prior to determining the exact height of your niche. Once the exact niche height is calculated, you can cut your wall substrate, install your horizontal top and bottom framing members between all of the studs, jack stud to jack stud, install inside niche substrate and waterproof. Then finish tiling. See attached drawing.

I hope this makes sense!
Attached Images
File Type: pdf niche.pdf (378.3 KB, 67 views)

Last edited by Snets; 09-11-2023 at 11:12 PM.
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Unread 09-12-2023, 09:10 AM   #9
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Another way is to go ahead and frame it out on all sides and waterproof it. I can usually figure out the niche size fairly close but it's easy to be off a little. But, I hold everything back 1/2 to 3/4 inch on the inside on all 4 sides until I have the wall tiled. I even install the cuts around the niche and then mud the sides out to the edge of the tiles. Kind of hard to explain.
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Unread 09-12-2023, 08:15 PM   #10
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Davy, your method makes sense for a traditional shower build - and maybe even for the OP's question as he was using a CBU backer....both yours and his likely have a membrane (tar paper or poly) behind the backer (mud or CBU) on the walls.

My response was geared for a surface-applied membrane application such as Kerdi or Kerdi Board, etc. where you need to tie the waterproofing together directly under the tile. Apologies if that confused anyone as I'm not sure I made that clear. My method, if it makes sense to anyone, allows you to cut the wall backer board after some tile is set below the niche and frame it in and waterproof it before getting up to the niche.

Either way, there are solutions to the question Neb asked to avoid being locked into a niche height before any tile is set, you just have to be creative and have a plan based on the type of shower construction you are using.
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Unread 09-12-2023, 10:03 PM   #11
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Okay, sorry I pm'd before I saw these responses.

I am understanding more.

What do you do for a slope on the niche? That would seem harder to do with the limited access.

You should make a video using this method.
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Last edited by Nebular; 09-12-2023 at 10:39 PM.
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Unread 09-14-2023, 03:44 PM   #12
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I do niches like I explained in post 9. Even if you have a surface applied membrane, I have no problem using a little thinset and fat mud over the membrane to true up the 4 sides. The membrane is still in place and a little moisture in the mud won't hurt anything. A slope can be created using fat mud on the bottom.
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Unread 09-19-2023, 08:24 AM   #13
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Defiantly, one advantage of the Noble Niches is it doesn't need cross bracing and you can hang the board first. The Niche just needs to be in between the studs, the board works as the framing since it is flange less.
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Unread 09-23-2023, 10:06 PM   #14
Nebular
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Winni has videos on basically the exact method mentioned by Snets, particularly vlog14. Youtube.
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Unread 10-03-2023, 07:45 PM   #15
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Yes, Neb.I watched the videos you refer to (never seen any of his videos before) and the way he located the final height of the niches is exactly what I was talking about. However, you could wait until you have the first few rows of tile set below the niche to be even more accurate. (You just need enough room below the niche to do your waterproofing.)

HERE is the link to the video
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