Access panel required?

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by DavidTu, Jun 19, 2011.

  1. DavidTu

    DavidTu Member

    Messages:
    239
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    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. plumber2011

    plumber2011 Expert Plumber

    Messages:
    70
    Location:
    Boston, Massachusetts
    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. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    15,416
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    In Seattle, the inspectors like the waste and overflows that are glued together.
    Then you don't need access.
  4. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    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. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    15,416
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    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. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,321
    Location:
    New England
    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.
  7. DavidTu

    DavidTu Member

    Messages:
    239
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    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: Jun 20, 2011
  8. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    27,258
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    AB&A, and Watco, for two, both make satin nickel trim kits for a sch.40 waste and overflow.
Similar Threads: Access panel
Forum Title Date
Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice Access Panels Oct 12, 2010
Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice Threaded Connections and No Access Panel May 7, 2010
Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice How important is access panels...... Apr 19, 2010
Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice Access Panel for Tub Mar 5, 2009
Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice Floor Access Panels Apr 28, 2008

Share This Page