View Full Version : Need to make a access panel that looks good and is not obvious

12-17-2005, 02:17 PM
Any do-it-yourselfers ever find that a bathrooms plumbing wasn't accessible because the builder put it behind a wall and then corrected the issue yourself by making their own panels or doors?????
I need to make a 13x24 inch access in a bathroom wall in order to get to the valves and pipes for the bathroom that is on the other side of the wall. I was thinking of just making a wood frame and using the drywall as my access panel. The panel would have to be held closed by four screws/washers and that may not be pleasing to the eye because the panel would be right in the middle of the wall. I could cover the panel with a mirror or picture, but that part of the wall is a lousy place for either of those two options.
I was hoping some company made these kinds of access panels..any ideas?

12-17-2005, 02:45 PM
Why do you need to access the valve now?

12-17-2005, 04:13 PM
I was thinking of just making a wood frame and using the drywall as my access panel. The panel would have to be held closed by four screws/washers
The sheetrock would fail and crumble after a few uses.

You CAN buy an access hatch/door of just about any size you want...or make one from plywood(sand it very well with 120-150 to make it very smooth.)

Mike Swearingen
12-17-2005, 06:08 PM
You can buy plastic access panels that fit between studs in varying heights, or you can buy a cabinet door and adapt it as an access panel, or you can just make one from plywood.
Lots of ways to skin that cat.

12-18-2005, 06:40 AM
Who sells these access panels guys? Lowes and home depot don't. I have started leaning to making a recessed storage shelf..I don't want to spend the time and effort, but may have to.
Cass..for six years I had jammed up/ poorly functioning hot and cold water valves in the shower stall, I couldn't get to the fixture from the front because it is a one-piece fiberglass stall, you don't want to cut that, and my only other option was tearing a hole in the other bathroom wall, now I have a chance to make an access panel. The new fixtures behind the wall may last 5, 10 or 30 years..but they are guaranteed to need service or replacement someday.

George R
12-18-2005, 11:49 AM
The Lowes around here (central IL) definately sells them, because I just bought one last week. 14" x14" cost $13.97. They are in the plumbing dept. and they have various sizes. Just cut a hole in drywall and glue on with construction adhesive.

12-19-2005, 04:17 PM
Thx george! I'll go back to my Lowes again...the weekend crew looked at me like I was speaking martian when I asked them.

12-20-2005, 03:40 AM

12-20-2005, 10:48 PM
Home Depot has them as well. I just looked up the sizes on my Home Depot stock ordering program. Plastic ones made by Oatey (Yea, my wife works for Oatey) are 6x9 and 15x15 and are in the plumbing department. Metal ones go up to 24x24 and they are near the gutters at my local store, although I have no idea why! Dennis

01-12-2006, 01:39 PM
we solved a similar problem (in this case it was needing access to a shutoff valve in a guest bedroom) by making a plywood panel with a 1/2 in trim frame, and holding it in place with a couple magnetic latches. I painted it to match the wall, and put a small knob on it. the actual access is framed with 1X4 to give the opening a clean interior. The panel sits flush with the wall. It is both unobtrusive and functional.

01-12-2006, 02:44 PM
Do any of these pre-fab access devices work for some thing that sticks out from the wall just a bit? I finished my basement and the water shut-off sticks out an inch or so. I could make something but wanted to see if something pre-made looked/worked better.

01-27-2006, 07:48 PM

E Bay has a number of access panels on sale almost all the time.

01-28-2006, 07:14 AM
Did it ever occur to you that the reason the builder "buried" the plumbing in the wall is because you would normally not have to work on it? Why do you think you need the opening?

02-09-2006, 12:57 PM
Instead of matching the panel to the rest of the wall, did you consider matching the rest of the wall to the panel?

If your access panel is less than 36" off the floor, you could do a beadboard wainscot around the whole room. You could do 1x6 stiles and rails, and panel the centers with beadboard. This will make for a more durable and attractive access panel than a drywall square.