Problems with Niche

mori1May 10, 2012

Here is my niche and as you can see I have a few problems.

I'll start from the beginning. This was nice and flat before I put the 5"Kerdi band on it. I couldn't find the sheet and I wasn't about to fork out $45 dollar for redgard just to do this. I'm on a very tight, cash only budget.

Anyway, the first time I put the Kerdi band on I used to much thinset. I tore most of it out and sanded and then reapplied. For the most part that worked but I couldn't get the left outside corner flat so there is a little hump there.

Of all the cuts I've had to make L shape has been frustrating and the most costly. I wasted a box of tiles just to get this far. The reason for that is I kept overshooting the insides corners. Yes, originally, this was at the grout line however due to some strange construction in the back of the studs, I had to move it.

I was told to make cuts slightly higher then the niche base and then thinset the mosaic to meet it. Which is from the picture is what I attempted to do but it doesn't look right and I would lose the slope. Honestly, I really don't want to make anymore cuts until someone can point me in the right direction. I love to pay someone to do this part but between the plumber, the drywall guy and exterminator. The only person I afford is me.

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hags00

I cut a piece of wall tile to form the floor of my niche. My tile was porcelin and had a good looking finished edge. I cut the tile about 3/8" deeper than my niche so it overhangs the wall by that amount. With the little overhang, it makes an inconsistencies in the tiles below not noticeable. I was able to get a nice slope with thin set. My mosaic is on the back wall of my niche.

Now that I have it for a year I really like the smooth surface for floor of my niche instead of something with grout. Shampoo bottle and shaving cream residue sit there and easily wipe off of the smooth floor.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2012 at 11:28AM
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mori1

Actually, I like your bottom shelf idea, someone else mention that too. I'm also using porcelain but 12x12. They have the waffle back so I have to use lots of thinset. I would still like to use the mosaic for the top and sides. Can I ask what size trowel did you use? Did you put the mosaic on first or the bottom shelf? Do you have pictures of how you did it?

    Bookmark   May 10, 2012 at 11:46AM
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golddust

Mori1, just dropping in tell you how much I admire you. You really know how to stick with a very intimidating job. After two years of a framed in shower, I finally hired someone to seal and tile it. You are experiencing my worst nightmare, yet you continue to work though it. Yay for you!

    Bookmark   May 10, 2012 at 3:39PM
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mori1

Thank you but I don't have much of a choice. It shouldn't be this hard but once I get out of my way and figure out how to do this the rest will be a piece of cake.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2012 at 5:25PM
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Olychick

I feel your pain. I helped a friend tile a shower in his cabin last summer and that's about how our window sill in the shower turned out. But we're old and figure by the time it rots out it will be the next generation's problem. Here is a link that might help. maybe do the back first and do all the sides in the larger tile to hide the cuts on the mosaic, per Bill Vincent.

Here is a link that might be useful: tiling niche

    Bookmark   May 10, 2012 at 5:39PM
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mori1

HaHaHa. Thanks for the link. None of the tiles in that picture have been thinset. With all the problems I had, I do a dry run first. I thought I had this figure last night but after doing my dry run I realized that I didnt.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2012 at 6:01PM
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hags00

I just snapped a few close ups and exposing all my amatuer flaws!!

I did the bottom of the niche first, and put the thinset down in the niche and created the slope in there. I cut down a 12X12 to make the floor. Then the next day I used bullnose and wall tile to make the sides, 3rd day I did the top of the niche also with bullnose and wall and the 4th day I did the mosaic on the back. I had to cut my mosaics to make them fit. Many more days then a pro would take but it worked for me!!

You have to remember, grout hides a multitude of sins! From a standing in my shower, my niche looks great. In these close up picture you can see the imperfections. But I am very satisfied with how it came out. From Bathroom From Bathroom

I grouted it, cleaned all the grout out of all the corners and caulked those. I see a little spot there in the corner on that blow up that I need to caulk!

    Bookmark   May 10, 2012 at 9:28PM
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hags00

Looking at my photo, I did bottom first, then top, then sides, then back!

    Bookmark   May 10, 2012 at 9:33PM
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mori1

Thank you for posting. I decided to do the back first since I had to cut the bottom and the side of the mosaic. So much fun, not.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2012 at 10:06AM
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chays

We did mosaic on the back, but tile on the top, bottom & sides. We used a thin travertine pencil to finish the edges. It matched the porcelain tile perfectly.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2012 at 8:52PM
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chays

sorry forgot to add - we did the back first, then the top and bottom - it minimized the cuts to the mosaic. We had to do the sides last because of the glass shelves. We used epoxy instead of caulk at the corners.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2012 at 9:00PM
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mori1

Chys that looks really niche. Will look to see how much that cost.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2012 at 12:56AM
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bill_vincent

First off, I'll usually leave myself about 1/2" of space between the bottom of the rough niche, and where the bottom shelf is actually going to sit, and then fill it with thinset, just for this reason. If you take those two cuts off, and replace them with pieces EVENLY CUT about a half inch higher than the surface of the kerdi, you should be fine. I would also look into using a piece of granite tile, solid surface-- whatever (I usually use a piece of stone cut from the same slab for the shelf (as well as the curb top) as the vanity top so it'll match.

One other thing-- using epoxy to fill the corners instead of caulking is a REALLY BAD IDEA. The caulking isn't there as a waterproofing, but rather as a flexible joint to account for seasonal expansion and contraction in the different planes. Now, keeping in mind that you WILL NOT STOP that movement-- only take it into account, the reason for caulking is that grout, being the softer of the two wall materials (grout and tile), will be the first place to crack when you start getting that movement. Now, using epoxy, which is rigid, instead of caulking which is pliable, it's actually harder than most tiles, so guess what's going to crack NOW?

    Bookmark   May 13, 2012 at 3:38PM
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mori1

Finally got the niche done well, I still need to enhance the stone but here it is.

Thanks Bill for suggestion.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2012 at 1:45PM
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TileTech

That's a ceramic stone and enhancer won't do much for it...Might help the grout colour a bit, but that's about all....

    Bookmark   May 28, 2012 at 4:56PM
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bill_vincent

IS that ceramic? Looks like travertine to me. Look at the edges in the close-up of the niche.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2012 at 6:03PM
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mori1

Bill is right, its travertine.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2012 at 6:43PM
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bill_vincent

As for the edges around the niche, get yourself some 200, 400 wet and dry, and 600 wet and dry sand paper, and it won't take much rubbing with each grade to make those edges look just like the face of the tile.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2012 at 12:03AM
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TileTech

You're correct, Bill. I missed the Travertine sides. Sanding & enhancer works great on those.....

    Bookmark   May 29, 2012 at 12:22AM
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mori1

I have to sand them? I just thought I had to spray them with enhance sealer.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2012 at 2:30AM
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bill_vincent

The sealer will help, but over time, you'll see a difference. If you sand the edges, it'll be permanent, and look alot more professional.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2012 at 11:38AM
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mori1

Oh I see. 200 and 400 grit paper I have but 600 I will need to look around.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2012 at 2:54PM
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bill_vincent

Go to any auto parts store, if you can't find it anywhere else.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2012 at 3:51PM
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mori1

Thanks. Do I sand first then use the sealer?

    Bookmark   May 29, 2012 at 5:21PM
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bill_vincent

Yes

    Bookmark   May 29, 2012 at 10:08PM
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mori1

While trying to clean up some dry thinset on a tile I chipped it. I rather not remove it if I don't have to but if I have to. How do I without damaging the other tile around it. If there is a way to just repair the chipped tile I would rather do that.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2012 at 11:53AM
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bill_vincent

Find a high gloss nail polish the same color (or close) as the tile

    Bookmark   June 5, 2012 at 7:30PM
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mori1

Wow, can't remember the last time I bought fingernail polish. Will do. Thanks

    Bookmark   June 5, 2012 at 8:26PM
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enduring

I can't figure out where the chip is...where is it?

    Bookmark   June 5, 2012 at 8:45PM
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mori1

Okay funny funny:)

    Bookmark   June 5, 2012 at 11:36PM
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hags00

If you are going with a non-contrasting grout, sometimes just troweling a little grout in there will cover. Look messy if you are using a contrasting color.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2012 at 10:39AM
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mori1

Fixing the chip was a little harder then just finding the right nail polish. Which I might state after going to 2 stores and almost passing out. Seriously, how do people wear this stuff without getting high?
Anyway, I decided to skip the hospital bill and went to the craft store. I got a white that I thought would work but it turned out to be on a little on the yellow side. So I ended up trying to match the brown side. It took some blending but I think I got it.

If I could use some kind of filler then it would have been better. I did mix the paint with water base poly urethane and will be adding several more coats to be on the safe side.

Okay I sealed the stone and here it is.


The two bars in the niche are soap dishes I made with the left over stone. I do have one question. Do I caulk between the stone in the niche or use grout?

    Bookmark   June 9, 2012 at 3:45PM
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bill_vincent

Grout should be fine. I know this is a little late, but you DID waterproof the niche before you tiled it, right?

    Bookmark   June 9, 2012 at 8:25PM
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mori1

Bill I used Kerdi waterproofing band. If you look at the very first picture I posted, you can see the lovely orange material:).

    Bookmark   June 9, 2012 at 8:35PM
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bill_vincent

GOod deal. :-)

    Bookmark   June 9, 2012 at 8:52PM
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TileTech

Sounds like you have it under control......!

    Bookmark   June 10, 2012 at 10:06PM
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mori1

Okay so I finally grouted. I think I got carpal tunnel spraying it down every 4 hours (more like 5 hours) over the last 3 days. I sprayed it for the last time early this morning and plan to seal it on Saturday. In the meantime I have to paint the areas that got messed up. Refinish the outside of bathroom cabinet, hook the toilet back up and install the a curve shower rod. There still a lot that needs to be fixed or replace like the vent and floor. However, the shower totally burnt me out and I need to save up to for the other stuff. So hopefully this time next year, I'll have a tile floor and improve lighting. Just wanted to say thanks for all your help.



    Bookmark   June 14, 2012 at 9:53PM
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