Home>Discussions>BATHROOMS>Can I install a recessed medicine cabinet in exterior wall?
5 posts / 0 new
Last post
q8werty
Can I install a recessed medicine cabinet in exterior wall?

Is it a good or bad idea to install a recessed medicine cabinet in an exterior wall in my bathroom. I don't have to cut any studs, no wiring or plumbing in the way but what about the insulation and vapor barrier?
Is this a bad idea?
I don't really want to surface mount it because it would stick out.

Please any comments suggestions would be appreciated.

ed21
Re: Can I install a recessed medicine cabinet in exterior wall?

Not a good idea for the reason stated. If you had 6" studs you could insulate behind the cabinet with rigid insulation.

A. Spruce
Re: Can I install a recessed medicine cabinet in exterior wall?

It would depend on your location. If you're in the southwest, then it won't make much difference, however, if you're in the northeast, then the lack of insulation will be a big deal.

q8werty
Re: Can I install a recessed medicine cabinet in exterior wall?

Thank you all for the replies. Your responses have been very helpful. I am in the San Francisco Bay area so the weather is pretty mild but am going to go with a surface mount to preserve the insulation.
Thank you again for all your advice.

A. Spruce
Re: Can I install a recessed medicine cabinet in exterior wall?

You could do a compromise between the two, which will give you a cleaner look than just a surface mount. I once installed a med cabinet that was deeper than the wall, so I shimmed the face of the opening with 1" trim, then mounted the cabinet against the trim. You could do a similar thing with 1" to 1-1/2" thick trim so that the cabinet is only inserted about half way into the wall. This will compress the insulation a little bit and won't significantly compromise the insulative value. Not that S.F has extremes of temps where you'd notice any temperature or condensation issues by having a normal installation. :cool:

TV Listings

Find TV listings for This Old House and Ask This Old House in your area.