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Thread: Shower niche - not waterproof bc of gap

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member Karen K.'s Avatar
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    Default Shower niche - not waterproof bc of gap

    Hi all,

    My name is Karen and I am new to the world of bathroom remodeling. I would really appreciate your help with the following problem.

    We have had our GK put in shower niches in our shower/tub combo (we are gutting bathrooms, just not moving any plumbing around). I read up on waterproofing and saw we should have a waterproofing membrane like redgard, so we asked them to do that including on the niche. There is hardiebacker on the walls and then redgard on top of it.

    The problem with one niche is that when we examined it it wasn't properly built. They used hardie to build it out, but the corners arent aligned, and one part of the niche doesnt have hardie on it. There are gaps in the corner that would clearly lead to water leaking into the walls or at the least have moisture exposure. The other niches were built properly, but not this one. You can see the plywood beneath.

    They had already tiled all the walls around the niche and the back wall of the niche. I don't think it is an option to have them take the tile out and redo the niche entirely, so my question to you is, given the situation, what is the best way to minimize water leakage? When I raised the issue to them they said they would take care of it - and then they put cement on top of one of the gaps to fill the gap (not sure if that is waterproof and rather doubt it), then some redgard on top. Doesnt look as tho the Redgard is applied well either.

    I am really worried about water damage and there are still some gaps on the top left and right corners of the niche. What do you recommend I ask them to do to fix this? Use a waterproof tape to tape off the gaps? Does cementing it work? Obviously the best thing would be to have them redo the niche entirely, but tile is already on the wall around it and not sure if they can just pull out surrounding tile. It hasn't been grouted, just set.

    I am at my wits end trying to figure this out and know it has to be fixed now or we will be facing the possibility of water damage down the road. Any advice would be most appreciated. Thank you.

  2. #2
    ACO Shower Drain Sales johnfrwhipple's Avatar
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    Default Shower niche is not waterproof because of gap in backer boards and ....

    post(s) deleted by John Whipple
    Last edited by johnfrwhipple; 03-17-2014 at 05:04 AM.


    jfrwhipple@gmail.com - www-no-curb.com - 604 506 6792

    Always get construction advice double checked by your local city hall. Flood Test Every Shower - Every Time.

  3. #3
    DIY Junior Member Karen K.'s Avatar
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    Thank you for your response. They were recommended by friends of ours. The other niches they did are well done and properly Redgarded (painted twice I believe), not sure how this one ended up the way it did.

    They did use thinset on the corners, where the long wall meets the short wall, as well as the seams. I do not believe they used reinforcing tape, since I didn't see it, but I'm not sure about that. They redgarded this shower at our request, but I am not sure they did it properly (didn't wait 24 hours, only used one coat).

    At this point, most of the tile has been put in into this shower, except for on the four sides of the niche. The back part of the niche is, however, tiled. I guess I could ask them to do over the niche (not the entire shower), but that will definitely cause tension. I'd like to keep things cordial, but of course, I am not going to just sit by and say nothing when it is our house and our project we hired them for. I have already raised this and know they are willing to fix it, but the question is what is the proper method....if they just cement it up and redgard it and then tell me that works, I don't know enough to tell them, say, no, it doesn't.....so your insight is very helpful.

    Quick question, when you said "You may be able to waterproof the sides and bottom and perhaps use a product like Kerdi Fix to seam the waterproofing to the tile itself in the back but this will not address the front edge.", do you mean that it still won't address the gap where the wall tile meets the front part of the niche?

  4. #4
    ACO Shower Drain Sales johnfrwhipple's Avatar
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    Default How not to build a shower niche in Texas

    post(s) deleted by John Whipple
    Last edited by johnfrwhipple; 03-17-2014 at 05:05 AM.


    jfrwhipple@gmail.com - www-no-curb.com - 604 506 6792

    Always get construction advice double checked by your local city hall. Flood Test Every Shower - Every Time.

  5. #5
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    It's almost impossible to get the proper thickness of Redgard on one coat, plus, the instructions say to use two, applied in opposite directions (roller or brush) to help ensure you get all areas covered with the proper thickness with no gaps or pinholes. Unless this is done, it likely won't be waterproof as it should in this situation. A single coat is called for only when a decoupling or crack isolation is desired.

    In the future, it's a good idea to download, read, and make available to the installers (who should already know, but that doesn't always happen), the manufacturer's installation instructions. As noted, your contract with them should include installed per the manufacturer's instructions.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  6. #6
    ACO Shower Drain Sales johnfrwhipple's Avatar
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    Default Liquid waterproofing for shower niches

    post(s) deleted by John Whipple
    Last edited by johnfrwhipple; 03-17-2014 at 05:05 AM.


    jfrwhipple@gmail.com - www-no-curb.com - 604 506 6792

    Always get construction advice double checked by your local city hall. Flood Test Every Shower - Every Time.

  7. #7
    ACO Shower Drain Sales johnfrwhipple's Avatar
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    Default Failed Kerdi Board Hydro Ban Shower Niche in texas

    post(s) deleted by John Whipple
    Last edited by johnfrwhipple; 03-17-2014 at 05:05 AM.


    jfrwhipple@gmail.com - www-no-curb.com - 604 506 6792

    Always get construction advice double checked by your local city hall. Flood Test Every Shower - Every Time.

  8. #8
    DIY Junior Member Karen K.'s Avatar
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    Hi John, yes indeed, that is our niche and it is really helpful to get these insights. Thank you. As you say, this will have to be fixed properly and we will make sure it does - it is our home after all....

  9. #9
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    That niche shown by John is a preformed, waterproof one. It sort of looks like Kerdi board was used. To finish it off, you'd use some Kerdiband to cover the seam with the wall. Not sure if that was done prior to finishing things off. Alternately, you might use KerdiFix, but it doesn't look like either of those were used (yet?).
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  10. #10
    ACO Shower Drain Sales johnfrwhipple's Avatar
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    Default Waterproofing a shower niche in Houston

    post(s) deleted by John Whipple
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    jfrwhipple@gmail.com - www-no-curb.com - 604 506 6792

    Always get construction advice double checked by your local city hall. Flood Test Every Shower - Every Time.

  11. #11
    ACO Shower Drain Sales johnfrwhipple's Avatar
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    Default You can't tile over wood in a shower???

    post(s) deleted by John Whipple
    Last edited by johnfrwhipple; 03-17-2014 at 05:05 AM.


    jfrwhipple@gmail.com - www-no-curb.com - 604 506 6792

    Always get construction advice double checked by your local city hall. Flood Test Every Shower - Every Time.

  12. #12
    ACO Shower Drain Sales johnfrwhipple's Avatar
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    Default Removing a Hydro Ban niche in a Kerdi Board shower

    post(s) deleted by John Whipple
    Last edited by johnfrwhipple; 03-17-2014 at 05:05 AM.


    jfrwhipple@gmail.com - www-no-curb.com - 604 506 6792

    Always get construction advice double checked by your local city hall. Flood Test Every Shower - Every Time.

  13. #13
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnfrwhipple View Post

    It's so wrong that clients seem to know more about shower construction that the men being hired to build them.

    JW
    I heartily agree with that...workmanship in general has slipped. There are people out there with pride in their work, and they generally get enough to keep them going, but some people, regardless, just want the cheapest job, and they end up with garbage sometimes.

    Sometimes, it's the corporate attitude, sometimes, it's just ignorance, sometimes, it's just greed. Having spent a lot of time working as a government contractor...missile systems to be more specific, there's no room for errors and it's test, test, test until you're sure the design works as planned.

    KerdiBoard wasn't around when I went through training...
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

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