An access panel is a door used to conceal vital installations such as plumbing and electrical boxes.
We all love our bathtubs. Apart from personal grooming, they are perfect for indoor relaxation. However, every installation is prone to malfunction occasionally. For example, your bathtub plumbing may become faulty, and you’d need to fix it. An access panel makes this possible.
So, in case your bathtub has no access panel to its internal plumbing, it would be wise to install one. We discuss how you can do this yourself.
How To Make An Access Panel For Bathtub
If you can’t get your hands on the modern plastic or metal access panels, you can make one with wood yourself, and it will still be perfect. Below, we offer you easy steps to create an access panel door for a bathtub.
1. Get your tools ready
You’ll need wood, glue, nails, a hammer, a woodcutter (of your choice), measuring tape, grout, scale, and a large tile.
2. Measure the drain area
Using tape, get the measurement of the drainage area and jot it down.
3. Set up your wooden frame
Now is the time to set up the wooden frame that would hold the access panel when installed. But, first, make a wood framework where you measured out for the drainage system.
However, before you go ahead, check the drainage system and ensure no faults or leakages.
4. Time to caulk
Caulk the frame, and pin it to the wood carefully.
5. Cover the framework
Make a lid to cover the framework. You can use a tile backer board or any board of your choice that won’t absolve water.
6. Tile it in
Cover with tile. When fixed, use silicone instead of adhesive (depending on the tile and the ground color) to shut it round.
So when it’s time for a repair, pull it, and it’s out. We have just described how you can use wood to make an access panel.
However, you can use other premium materials if you’re willing to shell out extra bucks.
Other Types Of Access Panel
There is a modern already-made access panel or door. It comes in metal and plastic form.
These are easier to use. All you’ll do is identify the area in the bathtub where the drainage system is. Then, using the access panel, measure out that area on its wall or its tile as the case may be and mark it out.
Next, using a suitable cutter please cut out the marked section. If your measurement is correct, you will see the drainage area.
Next, install the door into the hole. If it would not hold, you can use a floater and fix it on the four sides using a glue gun.
Then, glue the four corners of the back of the door and fix it. The floaters will serve as a framework to hold it in, with the support of the glue.
When you have fixed the door, glue the sides and hold it with tape. Leave for some minutes until it’s dry. Then, your entry is ready for use.
Note: Before getting a door, first get the exact measurement of the drainage area, so you can know the actual size of the door to buy.
Buy the one that fits and is wide enough for a human hand to enter freely and work. If the door is too small, it will pose a problem when you want to make repairs.
In essence, the methodology of cutting and fixing remains the same, although some materials make it easier.
There are several other types of materials you can use to make an access panel. Apart from the wooden, plastic, and metal doors, we also have:
- magnetic access panel
- tile access panel
- hidden drywall panel
- drywall tube access panel
Remember, the general idea is to create an opening and install an access door. Amongst these, the commonly used are wooden access panels and tile access panels. However, the best option for a bathtub access panel is a magnetic access panel.
Note that the choice of material for an access panel also depends on the makeup of your bathtub. So, in the next section, we’ll examine bathtubs and their different makeup.
About Bathtubs And Their Makeup
Your bathtub is typically a kind of large bowl or a container in your bathroom that retains water for bathing.
Originally, bathtubs were primarily rectangular, but they come in various shapes, colors, and sizes for comfort today. In addition, modern bathtubs have a drain area and a tap or mini hand shower.
Bathtubs come in various types. The most popular ones in homes or hotels are the Jacuzzi, hot tubs, baby tubs, walk-in tubs, whirlpool tubs, and soaking tubs.
Bathtubs By Makeup
Cast iron tub:
This kind of tub is best for the family. The reason is due to the cast iron material, which gives it strength and portability.
Enamel tubs are steel tubs covered with some layers of enamel and porcelain. These materials make the tub shine when adequately cleaned.
However, the problem with the enamel tub is that it wears off and is prone to rust.
This tub is a high glass tub and is very smooth to the touch. It is durable, strong, can shine on for years and years. However, it needs ongoing refurbishing.
Fiberglass tubs comprise ‘gel coat which makes it very smooth and shiny. Its smoothness and shine can last for years.
This type comprises a combination of plastic resin and carbon fiber. Although it is not too weighty, it is shiny. It can stain easily, so it requires proper and regular cleaning.
Other types include the cultured solid-surface tub and the specialty wood and glass tubs.
So, you need to know the kind of bathtub you have to make an informed choice about the most suitable material for your access panel.
How To Remove An Access Panel From A Tub
As lovely as installing an access panel in a tub, it is essential to know that a time will come when the drains will need repairs. You’ll have to remove the access panel when necessity demands. So, how can you do this?
Ensure no water is left in the tub. Water and electricity don’t go together, so you don’t want even the littlest amount of water remaining in the tub.
Put off the electricity from the main electric breaker in the electric box of the house. This measure is to avoid any electric shock while repairing.
You will need a suction cup to pull the panel out. Place the cup on the front panel and pull it out. The tub will open.
Ensure the repair area is dry before you begin the repair.
After repair, put the door back in its place correctly. First, however, do this, checking that everything is in place. You can now turn on the electricity.
Access panels do not limit to plumbing alone. You can also create them for several other installations in your home. Let’s see a few different types of access panels.
Other Types Of Access Panels
General-purpose access doors:
These access doors are used for walls and ceilings, especially in places that do not fire safety areas. They have a beautiful outlook and blend well with the walls when installed.
Fire-rated access doors:
Fire-rated doors are of two types, insulated and uninsulated fire-rated access doors. These doors seal electrical boxes, gas lines, and other flammable areas. So you mainly find them in fire safety areas.
Whereas you can use the insulated fire-rated access doors for walls and ceilings, the uninsulated fire-rated access doors are only suitable for wall installations.
Security access doors:
Security access doors comprise tamper-proof latches, which ensures tight security. It comes in medium and high-security varieties.
These doors are best for police stations, schools, government houses, banks, private institutions, etc.
Duct access doors:
Duct access doors give access to ducts for adequate ductwork and repairs. Duct access doors come in various shapes and sizes because ducts come in multiple shapes and sizes.
So before getting a duct door, you want to be sure it will fit.
Exterior access doors:
If you need plumbing, electrical, or any outdoor repair service, an exterior access door is best for such buildings. Due to their peculiar location, exterior doors are weather-resistant and fully secure.
Drywall access panels:
You’ll find Drywall in most residential and commercial buildings. If you need to make any electrical repairs, you’ll have to break down the walls.
However, with a drywall access panel, it will be easier to do repairs, and it will save the cost and stress of breaking down and putting up walls. It also enhances the aesthetic of the walls as you can paint them to the color of the wall.
Access panels help you quickly find and repair concealed installations. For example, the plumbing in your bathtub could develop a problem. Without an access door, you’ll have trouble fixing it.
You can make your access panel for your bathtub using the DIY tips we shared in this article. Although you can make access panels from different materials, the principle remains the same.
The most popular access panels include wood, plastic, metal, and magnetic access. However, your choice of material for an access panel would depend on the type of bathtub you have.