Advice for making an access panel in bathroom?

Discussion in 'Shower & Bathtub Forum & Blog' started by ironspider, Mar 7, 2009.

  1. ironspider

    ironspider Member

    Jul 26, 2008
    Greetings all,

    Although I've done a bunch of searches for "bathroom access panels" I can't seem to find a good piece of advice for how to make a good access panel!

    Okay, basically right now I am wantign to put an access panel on tub/shower alcove wall so that the hot and cold supply valves can be accessed.

    The wall has nothign on it right now so I can add any framing or anything without a problem. Let me throw in a horrible picture here of what I'm talking about:


    As you can see there, it's just a very standard framing job right now. It's got the cross 2x4 in there where the faucet control is mounted on the other side and the "C" and "H" letters are where the shutoff vavles are.

    So, my basic question is how should I go about finishing this side of the wall?

    Do I add some 2x4s to the side of the existing framing members (closest to the shutoff valves) and then cut an opening at the bottom of the drywall, install the drywall, put trim around the roughly cut edge of the drywall and install like a plywood panel or something (screwing it to the new studs I added) that I paint the color of the wall?

    Sorry this is so rambling but I just spent 45 minutes staring at the wall and could not get motivated about a "best methods" way to finish this sucker up!
  2. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Sep 2, 2004
    Retired Systems engineer for defense industry.
    New England
    Depends somewhat on how visible that area is. There are plastic panels with spring-loaded clips that will let you snap it in. If it is a tiled area, makes a tile-in set of magnets that can hold it in place. You could use a piece of drywall and frame the edges with c-channel to protect the edges, then screw it in place. Lots of choices. You could frame it out and just put a piece of plywood (harder to match with paint to look like drywall).
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  4. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Aug 31, 2004
    Cave Creek, Arizona

    There may not be a "best" method, just the one which looks nicest depending on where it is. If you really intend for it to be used it has to be easily removed otherwise the service person will just turn off the main water supply rather than fiddle with it. In all the years, and they are many, I have service tub and shower valves the number of times I have used shutoff valves, unless it was an apartment complex, might be counted on the fingers of one hand. They did not have them, or I did not know they were there, or getting to them was more trouble than they were worth, or they would not work.
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