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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Cement board went up in my bathroom and a hole was cut for the prefabricated niche. Now I have the niche (steel, 14x36") in hand and it doesn't fit. The niche flange is sitting at least 1/4" proud of cement board, though it should have been the right depth. Confused as to how this could be happening, I ran a straight edge across the cement board from edge to edge and can see that the center of the board (where the niche sits) dips in. Guess my contractor didn't bother to check if the board was level. So now I'm thinking ahead to the tile job (I picked 6x12" tiles) and from multiple posts, can see that what you are tiling on needs to be flat. I showed my contractor and he said that the wall does not need to be flat and that you can even all the tiles out by adding more mortar where necessary. A whole internet of posts seem to disagree with him. Ugh! So since he clearly doesn't give a crap how my apartment turns out, I'll sort it out myself even though I don't know what the hell I'm doing.

Here are solutions I've come up with.

1) leave the niche proud and try to level around it with thinset, thereby also leveling out the wall. I'm not sure if this is beyond my technical capabilities. I was impressed will all the divets I filled in the drywall (yeah, my GC sucks), but cement might be another ballgame to drywall mud and this is a much larger area.

2) Cement board is quite flexible. Maybe I can add some shims between the board and the stud to bring it out a bit? Luckily no screws have gone in that would stop me from doing this.

3) Cut the outer layer of drywall out behind the niche (it faces a closet). Then the niche flange will sit flat on the cement board and I can feather down the small lip with thinset. The wall itself will still not be flat with this option. I read about chicken wire inserted into mortar for leveling out an uneven wall. Seems like a great idea and I can pass it on to the tiler!! Is this a common technique employed by tilers when faced with uneven walls or am I going to have to find a creative one?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!!!

Here are some pics to illustrate the problem:

- At the worst point, the niche flange is probably 1/4" proud of the wall.

- the top seems to sit in ok, but the middle is far worse

- a flat edge shows the wall isnt straight and dips in the center


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