Framing a shower "niche" or recess
I would like to add a few recess boxes or niches to my shower.
My shower area is 5'x7', however all three sides are exterior concrete block walls).
I am familiar with how to frame out a box if I have a typical interior stud wall.
But since I have concrete block walls, this is a bit complicated.
I have already used a chisel to knock out a hole that is the size of a concrete block. 8" wide, 16" tall, and I do have a depth of about 5" to 6". I did not dare chisel too much on the back side, as one false move and I would have to deal with patching the wall from the outside.
Now, what do I do with this hole?
I am using 2x furring laying flat on the block wall, which means I would gain another depth of 1.5" without counting the finishing tiles and cement board.
I assume I will just frame two horizontal 2x across the top and bottom edges, connecting them to the nearest vertical 2x furrings, then put in two vertical pieces on the left and right, essentially framing the current opening.
What I am uncertain about is what do I do with the inside and back faces of the current rough concrete hole? I intend to tile the entire shower, including the niches.
Do I use some 1x6 PT wood boards and build a square box to fit, then push it into the concrete box shimming around it like I would normally do with a window? Then nail/screw the box into the 2x furring on all four sides? Then I can cut cement boards to fit the inside of the box and screw those in, and tile over. Is that the way to do it?
Or should I forget using any wood box and since it's concrete already, try my best to create a level, plumb and straight using mortar mix over the existing chiseled out concrete box, filling in all the uneven-ness. Once that's done then I can tile directly over that. That seem like a better approach although I do not think I have the skill to use concrete mix to patch a nice straight concrete box especially the back side.
A picture would help---I would be inclined to build a plywood box with the bottom pitched to drain water---then attach that to the furring strips---water proof well with Hydroban and mesh---
However---without a picture that's the best guess I have---
a treated plywood box would be a good way or practice your mortar skills with t mud
I like to use preformed boxes when I can. I just grabbed a pic of the web to give you an idea. I get them from local tile store, comes in all shapes and sizes, arch top.
Completely ready to tile, just mount it in the hole and done. Takes 15 min to install a waterproof niche.
I have made several, is a bit time consuming building the box, installing hardibacker on all the surfaces, using a membrane on all the corners.
Just takes time to do it right.
I think the photo I grabbed, is finished and do not add tile to it .... I would rather tile.
In your situation, it may be easier to mortar in a pre-formed box, then try to cobble one together working with broken concrete.
As others suggested, could make your own box first. Still need to waterproof it.
Just another idea to consider.
^ the foam type inserts do really work well and is what usually ends up in the recesses of showers on lots of shower/tile installs
I did not see this earlier.
The problem is due to pipes and conduits, I am sort of confined by the size of the box. So I can't use preformed boxes.
This is what I end up with. I made a custom "shoebox" the size of the wood frame, nudge it into the hole, then chip a hole on the block above, then mix this construction grout and pour it in.
I will still put backer boards in the front, and have to water proof it.
In reality I really did not need to do this, because I can just make a custom plywood box and screw it to the 2x4s around the edges, then put backer boards inside.
I did it this way just to see how it comes out, and wanted to fill in the voids I made in "overcutting" of the concrete box.
Now is this construction grout strong? Can I drill Tapcon screws into it and it will bite good?
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