This is a job you can easily do on your own with just a few tools and a little knowledge. You'll save time, money, and effort when you know how to choose and install access panels for plumbing.
Access panels prevent the need for demolition when a plumbing job needs to be done, by providing access to drains, valves, and more. This means that you can keep up on plumbing maintenance more easily and fix things without damaging the walls when they break.
Let's take a look at the different kinds of panels, followed by a quick and easy installation guide.
Why Install Plumbing Access Panels?
Access panels for plumbing are covers that can be removed to provide an entrance to the plumbing system. When a plumbing job needs to be done you may need to cut a hole in the drywall, remove a section of tile, or do some other type of demolition, unless you have an access panel.
Access panels make it easier to do regular maintenance and check for problems as needed, extending the life of your plumbing system. A simple access panel installation can make a big difference when plumbing work is needed down the road, saving time and energy when the time for repairs comes.
Types of Access Panels for Plumbing
There are a few different places in your home where you may need to install access panels. Let's take a look at some of the most common types of access panels.
Bathroom access panels can provide an easy way to get into the pipes behind toilets, sinks, and showers.
In the kitchen, a plumbing access panel lets you check or fix the pipes behind or beneath the sink.
Laundry room access panels are important so that you can get into the pipes behind your washing machine when you need to.
How to Install Plumbing Access Panels
Depending on the style of access panel you choose and the material you make it out of, access panels can blend seamlessly into your decor, while adding an easy way to stay up to date on plumbing maintenance.
No matter what room they're in, you'll want to make sure your plumbing access panels are in easy-to-reach places. If you want to, you can plan to conceal at least some of your access panels, as long as there are closets nearby. You can also hide these panels in plain sight with an attractive panel that blends in nicely with the wall.
Start with the access panels on areas that will be due for maintenance or updates, since these are the places you'll need to get into sooner.
Installing access panels for plumbing also means taking things like sealing and insulation into consideration. Otherwise, you'll lose out on energy efficiency. You may even have unhealthy transfers of water and air from the pipes into your home if your access panels aren't properly sealed.
1. Choose Your Access Doors
You can buy plumbing access doors at low cost - usually in the range of $10 to $30. You'll want to have an idea of the size and style of doors you want before you go to get them.
Most people choose plumbing access doors in a material that matches the wall where they're going to be installed. For example, if you have pristine white bathroom walls, a simple white access door will blend in nicely.
2. Take Measurements
Next, measure the width and length of the access door you want to install, minus the frame. Then add one-quarter inch to each of those measurements.
Using a straight edge, mark on the wall where you plan to install the access door. Make sure your measurements are exact and that the lines you mark are straight.
3. Wear Safety Equipment
Be sure to put on safety goggles and a dust mask before you start working. To install the door, you'll need to go through the drywall. Drywall dust is dangerous if you inhale it.
Put down a drop cloth to catch debris below the area where you'll be cutting into the wall. If there are any air ducts nearby, make sure to cover those to prevent dust particles from spreading throughout your house.
4. Cut Out the Drywall
Take a drywall saw and cut out the section that you marked. Be sure to follow your lines precisely, otherwise, the door won't fit.
5. Prepare the Door
Take the access door out of its frame. You may need to use a screwdriver to pry out the pins if the door has hinges.
Check the fit of the door frame against the hole you cut out. Use a level to make sure it is perfectly angled. If the frame doesn't sit level, the door won't be able to open correctly. If need be, you can use sandpaper to level the hole.
6. Clean Up
Remove the dust and debris from the area around the drywall hole. Use a dry cloth to wipe down the door. Otherwise, your adhesive won't stick.
7. Attach the Frame
Using silicone adhesive, adhere the door frame to the hole. Check the manufacturer's directions for how long the adhesive will need to cure. You can secure the door frame with clamps while it cures.
8. Attach the Door
Hold the door against the frame as though it were open, so it's angled at 90 degrees if it doesn't have hinges. If it does, hold the door as though it were closed. Then, reinsert the pins you removed in Step 5.
Installing access panels is an easy and essential part of good home maintenance practices.
You can fix a problem more quickly and keep up with regular maintenance work when you have access panels for plumbing. And since they are so inexpensive and simple to install, there's no reason to wait.
Ready to get started? Check out our selection of access panels here.