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Thread: Access panels and wet walls.

  1. #1
    DIY Member tom12's Avatar
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    Default Access panels and wet walls.

    It's common in the Bay Area Ca. for PI's to pick-up the lack of an access panel in a wet wall. Access is, typically, required to the fixture(s) and supplies, but also to the waste & overflow. Freestanding tubs, with their backs and works to a wall, must also be provided with a means of access. Is this a common code requirement across the states, esp. with the popularity of "Whirlpool" tubs etc.?

    AAMOI:
    In the UK, with almost total masonry walls, access panels are rare and not Regs. This can create difficulties, esp. with a nightmare plastic effort called a corner bath - i've never seen these flimsy monstrosities in the USA, thank goodness. Installing them is like building the Bay Bridge, servicing them is a struggle, their works are typically located tight in the inside corner. Given the time and construction that can often go into fitting, even the average, UK style bath panel, then plumbers and bathroom installers of the US can thank their lucky stars.

    To continue my rant, about the only thing she says i'm good at.
    Europe, the UK in particular has been flooded with homeowner, internet purchased bits and bobs to make up a bathroom's fittings and fixtures. Lack of compatibility, no or weird instructions, pics that refer to other items: for example, mixer taps/faucets might be supplied with no indication as to wether they are high or low pressure - you find out after fitting them. This is essentially from China, however, India, Indonesia and others are gearing up with even weirder flimsier and cheaper stuff -USA beware, this will happen here. Homeowners will, naturally, buy the cheap junk, and you will, naturally, have to earn a living fitting it.

  2. #2
    Plumber jimbo's Avatar
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    It is NOT common to find ANY access to tub valves, waste and overflow, etc.

  3. #3
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    I could count on the fingers of one hand, the number of access panels I have seen in the past 60 years, but that would assume I can even remember where they were. The ONLY time you should have to "access" tub/shower valves or drain assemblies, is when you remodel the room and then an "accss panel" is a moot subject.
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

  4. #4

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    When we put a whirlpool tub in our upstairs bath, my husband installed an access panel in the adjoining bedroom for the electrical & motor. This bath also, had an access panel for the plumbing in a closet in the adjoining room, and made it really convenient when it started leaking years prior which is why we decided access panels are the best thing since indoor plumbing. In 2005, when the floor and toilet needed replaced, I put in an access panel in the downstairs closet ceiling, and that, also, paid for itself. Not an expensive thing to do, quite easy, and I think, all homes should have them. I like to see what is going on.

  5. #5
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    While they may be convenient, plumbing bits are designed to last a very LONG time, and their utility is minor. Many things can be serviced without an access panel. Replacement is often where they might be useful, but then if you're remodeling, again, it is mostly a moot point since if it is hidden behind a wall you're remodeling, it doesn't really matter. Hidden in a closet or basement, IF the service person knows they're there, it might make a major repair or replacement easier, but that utility often isn't big.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  6. #6

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    It paid off for me. I would recommend a panel access it makes just good common sense. No ripping into a wall, no listening with a glass to the wall to hear that drip, no, you rip off that sucker, you look inside and see for yourself, that drip, that part which needs replaced, saving time and money, and giving the homeowner a great peace of mind. It is an assurance. It is really nothing small, it is just plain ole horse sense. Where and when one can place an access panel, it would be to their advantage. Not very costly at all, a project, you can do easily, for yourself. I did. Bought the panel at HD, measured, measured again, cut, and popped it in. Yes sire' bob. A great invention.

  7. #7
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    If you have a wall where you can add an access panel, it doesn't have to be done in advance of a problem...it's just as easy to do it after. But, if it makes you feel good, it's your house, no problem putting one in anywhere, anyplace you like.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  8. #8

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    It only makes good sense to put it in when the plumbing or electrical is going in. To do it after a problem rears its ugly head is okay, I guess, but, why not do it right in the beginning. I would like to see all new construction have them.

  9. #9
    Plumber jimbo's Avatar
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    Ubiquitous back-to-back bathrooms make the issue of access panels moot.

  10. #10
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    I cannot imagine how an access panel in the ceiling would be a benefit. THere should be NOTHING in the ceiling which needs servicing. You might as well install a "suspended ceiling" which is ALL access panels. The U.S.Steel home I worked on in the 50s, was ALL access panels because the walls were 4x8 finished plywood panels screwed in place.
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

  11. #11

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    Hmm, Hj, the access panel in the closet ceiling, lol, is beneath the toilet. Easy to figure out Was also real easy to fix the leak.

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by hj View Post
    I cannot imagine how an access panel in the ceiling would be a benefit. THere should be NOTHING in the ceiling which needs servicing. You might as well install a "suspended ceiling" which is ALL access panels. The U.S.Steel home I worked on in the 50s, was ALL access panels because the walls were 4x8 finished plywood panels screwed in place.
    Imagine, a toilet under each one of those! LOL. Hj, you made a funny!

    This is a nice little thing to read,
    http://www.johnbridge.com/vbulletin/...p/t-30644.html
    Last edited by Cookie; 05-19-2012 at 09:24 AM.

  13. #13
    ACO Shower Drain Sales johnfrwhipple's Avatar
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    The only access panels we see are ones in older homes 60+ years old here in Vancouver. We are building a new Jacuzzi Tub this summer and are focusing on sound reduction. I started a new thread to follow the process and pick your men's brains.

    Here's the link to building and soundproofing an access panel. http://www.terrylove.com/forums/show...Sound-Proofing

    JW


    jfrwhipple@gmail.com - www-no-curb.com - 604 506 6792

    Always get construction advice double checked by your local city hall. Flood Test Every Shower - Every Time.

  14. #14

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    I have been working with a lot of new construction for the past 6 months and I have been seeing a new trend regarding the homeowners desiring access panels where and when, possible on plumbing & motors. Once a thing of the past, in mainly, older homes in the US, it has been evolving. I like the change. I am seeing the specs change to incorporate it. There has been discussion in my office as to maybe, the reasons for this, I think there are basically two, 1. It makes a lot of sense 2. Many homeowners are becoming a DIY'er, some for the first time, with a first home; and, they see, it can be beneficial and have an advantage point. They are doing their homework.

    To add an interesting point, 75% in the past year in our office with new construction, was being built by unmarried women. and, they work very closely with the contractors and oversee, the plans, the changes, and all designs. Nothing goes by without them signing off on it.


    Another interesting fact, which makes me smile when I think of it, and as I write this, is the reason why, many unmarried women are building new construction. Which is the reason why I am intersted in new construction. Women, are building new construction to make money on the property. That is a given. It is not just a place to hang their straw hat. lol. They don't need the big 3 car-sized garage or the built-in, workshop, or any other typical manly, feature or desire. They are not building the over-sized clothes closet or the large eatery, or the built-in make-up mirror, no, sir, no siree bob, the tables have changed. The meeting of the minds has changed in regarding building new construction. Now, the women are building new construction, for simply the reason for resale, to a man. A man with 3 kids, 3 cars, a place for all his work tools. I love it. It is neat to see.

    It is funny. One day, you wait and see, their will be a Ms. President and you won't recognize the White House. lol.
    Last edited by Cookie; 05-19-2012 at 11:35 AM.

  15. #15
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    quote; you won't recognize the White House. lol.

    Of course we will. It will be the big white building with all the access panels.
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

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