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Thread: Access panel required?

  1. #1
    DIY Senior Member DavidTu's Avatar
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    Default Access panel required?

    I'm in Seattle in if matters... for slip joints such as for a tub waste and overflow connection is an access panel required by code or not? I thought it was but (on another thread) it sounds like maybe not? Who can set the record straight?

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Expert Plumber plumber2011's Avatar
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    Hi David...

    An access panel is required just about everywhere that I know of and it was a code that was reinforced for a really long time, but nowadays, in most places, the inspectors seem to be backing off of it as a requirement and allowing us to install tub wastes without access panels. It has certainly made many homeowners happy as they no longer need these ugly access panels in their hallways, right? In my area, when we need access to the drain piping (if can't be accessed through the basement) then we simply cut the access panel in at the time needed and frame out for a proper access panel.

    Wait to see what others say, OK?

    Good luck!

  3. #3
    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    In Seattle, the inspectors like the waste and overflows that are glued together.
    Then you don't need access.

  4. #4
    Plumber jimbo's Avatar
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    I have had to open up a bunch of ceilings in a downstairs apartment, because the tub above started leaking. These were built in the 50s with slip joint waste/overflow. So they got 40+ years out of them, and they never used access panels!

    I do not know what they are doing in new construction today, but my sense is it is all glued ABS. That is what I like.

  5. #5
    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    Jimbo,
    The funny thing is that I've gone in and replaced cracked ABS p-traps on tubs. So even the plastic is not permanent.
    At least, we will always have work.

  6. #6
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Neither the plastic nor the metal likes to be under stress. Some places, especially those prone to earthquakes, tend to move around and can generate stresses. Even on new construction, there may be a little settling over the first year or two, and maybe more often during/after a good shake. The plastic gets a little brittle as it gets older. The metal gets corroded and can crack easier. Nothing is permanent, it's just how often you may get before it does die that differs. Regardless, an access panel makes life easier down the road, but if the walls are not tiled or plaster, cutting a hole when needed in drywall, is pretty quick and easy. Now, it gets messier if it is say paneled, faux finished, or wallpapered, but hey, making the hole is easy!

    If you look at the earthquake maps, most places get them, the differences are frequency and magnitude.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  7. #7
    DIY Senior Member DavidTu's Avatar
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    Thanks everyone. But I am still scratching my head here wondering how it is that I cannot locate a Sch 40 W&O in polished nickel in the entire Seattle area... really?! (Consolidated, Pacific, Aurora, Morgans: zippo). The tub backs to a room w/ drywall so cutting a hole later would be trivial... don't really see the reason to provide an ugly panel now rather than cutting in later.

    Guess I am going to go w/ a slip joint I did find and try to forgo the panel unless inspector is immovable on subject.

    (Too late to talk to someone today... don't want to wait another day... ugh)
    Last edited by DavidTu; 06-20-2011 at 08:48 AM. Reason: Changed from question to statement.

  8. #8
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    AB&A, and Watco, for two, both make satin nickel trim kits for a sch.40 waste and overflow.

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