Tiler installed niche too high!

nhbasketsMarch 22, 2014

We stopped by our new construction home last night. Unfortunately, we haven't been able to go by every day as DH just had bypass surgery, so life has gotten in the way.

In our master bath we have a 4' shower with a small bench. We are using the developers tiler, which I'm finding was probably a bad decision. I had requested a niche the same as what we have in our current master that was redone last year. It has two shelves, the bottom one smaller for soap and the upper one for hair products. Early this month I had a lengthy discussion with our contact at the tiling company about the height of the niche. He told me that normally he places these 4' above the base of the shower. I'm vertically challenged at 5' 2" so that would work fine and is similar to what we have now.

When we went by yesterday, I found the bottom of the niche at 4' 9" off the bottom of the floor. I could barely reach the second shelf. Tiling was done including grout.

I've emailed our realtor and the PM for the developer immediately. Since it's the weekend, I'm sure nothing will happen, but wanted to be prepared for what my options are come Monday morning. Do I make them tear out the entire shower? Can just that wall be torn out? Are there other options?

In my two trips to the house in the past 7 days I've discovered four issues that need to be corrected. Augh!!!

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Trebruchet

Since you only had a discussion, not an email, with your contact, I think a fair resolution would be to install another niche/shelf at the proper height elsewhere without tearing out the existing.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2014 at 11:16AM
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ineffablespace

I think you should consider where the shower spray is going to fall as well. I purposely mount the in shower storage as high as possible to keep it dry. I could also barely reach the upper part of mine.

I live in a house now where everything in the niches and corner shelves gets wet all the time because of their placement. Just something to consider. I will be redoing those bathrooms and I am going to put things up high again.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2014 at 12:03PM
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Babka NorCal 9b

Ours got changed too, but for a good reason. There were vent pipes and electrical boxes in the wall where we hoped to have our niche so it got smaller than planned. Hope someone can explain why they changed yours.

-Babka

    Bookmark   March 22, 2014 at 1:38PM
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nhbaskets

We went by today to take a closer look at things. I now believe the height of the niche is not the only issue.

The picture below shows a grout line of ~5/8" between the bullnose tile in the side of the niche and the back of the niche with the mosaic tile. You can't tell me this is acceptable.

The niche used was from Noble and was previously used with great success in our current home.

Trebruchet--if the conversation was in person and the contact wrote down on the order what was agreed to, would this make a difference in your opinion?

    Bookmark   March 22, 2014 at 3:03PM
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raehelen

Well, general consensus (though not everyone, including John Bridge himself, agrees), is that you caulk where there is a change of plane, not grout.

I am going to guess that because bullnose tile is usually not very wide, (3"?), that they were trying to make your niche a little wider and thus the thicker grout line.

One thing I have learned while renovating our house, is to get everything in writing. Can't tell you how many times that has saved me. AND even that is not always a guarantee that things will get done the way you wanted/requested. But at least you have something that can't be disputed.

Is your shower completed? If it is, can just the wall with the niche be corrected? Was the niche framed in place, ie were studs rearranged to fit the niche, or does it fit between studs?, Can they not dismantle niche and lower it, just removing a few rows of tiles? Don't see why the whole shower would have to be dismanted?

    Bookmark   March 22, 2014 at 6:13PM
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juddgirl2

I'm sorry to hear about your DH and hope he's recovering.

The grout line does look to be quite large, at least in the close up picture. That being said, one thing I wish I had done was put our shower niche higher so the bottom shelf wouldn't get so much shower spray.

I'm vertically challenged so I wanted it lower, but the lower shelf gets too much spray and water tends to pool around the soap dish and shampoo bottles, even though we installed the granite shelf at an angle.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2014 at 7:45PM
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nhbaskets

raehelen--my mistake to not insist on a copy of the order. We are using the developers tiling company. I've been uneasy with them from day one. The guy we've been dealing with is fast talking and knows it all. Every time we meet he scribbles on the order form. I have asked several times for a copy, and are told I'll get one. All I've seen is a bill for the overages not covered by the developer. The shower is not totally complete. Not all grouting has been done. Our realtor is well aware of our dismay and I'm told it will be addressed on Monday.

Juddgirl--we have the same niche in our current shower and I've had no issues with water pooling in the niche. The new shower is actually larger (4' vs. 3') plus there is a bench, so the niche is actually further away from the water source than our current shower. I like having my shampoo bottle at a level that I can reach the pump on the top. Perhaps I'm being picking, but we're paying good money on this house and it's disappointing to see this type of workmanship.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2014 at 8:37PM
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juddgirl2

I'm sorry you're having so many problems!

My niche probably would have been fine at 4' above the tub level. We went just a few feet above and it's the wall across from the shower head, so that's probably why we get water in the bottom shelf. You definitely need to reach your shampoo!

    Bookmark   March 22, 2014 at 9:56PM
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nhbaskets

Update on my master bath shower. Today I met with the developer's PM. He totally agrees that niche needs to be moved and the installation is poor. He told me that the entire back wall will be redone. Taking baby step, but in the right direction at least!

    Bookmark   March 24, 2014 at 4:42PM
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raehelen

Thanks for updating us. Did he tell you why they grouted the corner, and why it was so thick?

One of my sisters (I have five), keeps telling me we should relax and enjoy life more, and just hire people to do all our renos. (Guess she is getting weary of all my reno regales). But your story is just one of the reasons we DIY. Paying someone else to do it, is not necessarily a guarantee it will get done right or make the process any easier! Hope things start going more smoothly for you.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2014 at 6:55PM
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Babka NorCal 9b

Yipeee! Mistakes happen and you know you are dealing with a good company when they are willing to correct those mistakes. Seems to me that the mistake was hiring this particular sub-contractor. That is why the General Contractor gets those big bucks.

-Babka

    Bookmark   March 24, 2014 at 8:43PM
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nhbaskets

Was told today that they would need to rip out the entire shower to correct the niche issue. This is to ensure the waterproofing. The developer is 100% backing me on the poor quality by the tile company. I understand the tiler is no longer working for the company.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2014 at 6:47PM
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hunzi

hijack warning!

One of my sisters (I have five), keeps telling me we should relax and enjoy life more, and just hire people to do all our renos. (Guess she is getting weary of all my reno regales). But your story is just one of the reasons we DIY. Paying someone else to do it, is not necessarily a guarantee it will get done right or make the process any easier! Hope things start going more smoothly for you.

Around here, we just say we're far too much of control freaks to let someone else do the work! ;-)

I would drive a contractor completely mad. (Hello, see the pink hard hat, she's the boss.)

Always ;-)
Hunzi

On topic comment - I'm glad your contractor insisted it be redone!

    Bookmark   March 26, 2014 at 12:37AM
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Errant_gw

I'm glad they are fixing it for you. Not being able to reach your shampoo would stink!

    Bookmark   March 27, 2014 at 5:33PM
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