Q&A: Do you do shower niches on external walls?

Mark asks:  Do you do shower niches on external walls?

Hi Mark,  Unfortunately, the answer is no, we don’t build shower niches on external bathroom walls. This is because it is difficult to clad, and impossible to insulate, the rear of the niche, as the external side of the wall is a cavity veneer (this is a space between the bathroom wall and brickwork outside). If a shower niche was positioned on an external wall, it doesn’t make it easy to maintain the area if something was to go wrong such as a leak (brickwork would have to be removed).

PD builds with cavity veneers for a few reasons:

-          The airspace in the cavity veneer acts as a drainage plane, so any water that might enter this area drains to the bottom where it meets flashing (weatherproofing). This water is then channelled to the outside through weep holes in the brickwork rather than entering the house.

-          The cavity veneer can hold wall insulation in between the studs if our customers would like to improve the thermal performance of the wall.

-          A cavity veneer wall can be built in a shorter time with less labour than a solid brick wall, which gets our customers into the new house faster. It also allows the rest of the house to be built concurrently with the outer veneer, rather than waiting for the entire wall structure to be built before getting started on the roof or the upper storey.

-          The weight of a cavity veneer wall can be significantly less than a solid brick wall, which means our customers save on foundations and structural support costs.

Hope this helps