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Poll: Do you think access panels behind showers and/or tub/showers are necessary?
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Do you think access panels behind showers and/or tub/showers are necessary?

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Old 07-13-2015, 11:56 AM   #1
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Plumbing Access Panels


Yay or nay?

When dealing with shower mixing valves or bathtub valves, do you think it's imperative to have an access panel on the other side of the wall to service the valve (or gain access to the tub drain and overflow) should you need to?

I've been across plenty of message boards looking to find out what the general consensus on this is and it really seems to be split down the middle. Some people won't budge and repeat that if the mixing valve is new and was installed properly, you'll never need an access panel, while others beg to differ.

I'm curious to know what your thoughts on this are, as well as what you you may believe the be the pros of having an access panel versus its cons.

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Old 07-13-2015, 12:19 PM   #2
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If the bath is situated above a finished space then yes...I would at least want access to the trap/drain area since that is where problems tend to come up the most. In general I am much less concerned about the mixing valve and thus gave the poll a "no" vote. This is assuming we have accessible shutoffs somewhere else in the home.

If it is a first floor bath with access from below in the basement, no need for an access panel as far as I'm concerned.

So I guess the right answer is "it depends".

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Old 07-13-2015, 01:35 PM   #3
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As long as you can get to the shut-offs I say no access needed. Can always be opened up if you need to service.
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Old 07-13-2015, 01:37 PM   #4
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In 40 years of owning homes (11 of them of various ages), I've never once needed to use such an access panel. If necessary, cutting out a square of drywall and repairing it just isn't that big of a deal. Panels aren't even required here.
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Old 07-13-2015, 02:01 PM   #5
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I've only had to fix one. I just cut the drywall on the back side.

Patching is easy
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Old 07-13-2015, 02:12 PM   #6
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No, all repairable parts for the valve should be accessible from the front.
If you put the panel there because of joints- then logic says you need them at every joint in the plumbing system....

If the tub shoe leaks- then the install method failed- time to open the wall or ceiling and patch when done.
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Old 07-13-2015, 02:48 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrBryan View Post
If the bath is situated above a finished space then yes...I would at least want access to the trap/drain area since that is where problems tend to come up the most. In general I am much less concerned about the mixing valve and thus gave the poll a "no" vote.
So, to reiterate...

If there is no access to the bathtub from the ceiling below (finished floor), you would put an access panel just for the sake of accessing the trap and drain, but you wouldn't worry about accessing the mixing valve?

That makes sense.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MrBryan View Post
This is assuming we have accessible shutoffs somewhere else in the home.
Would the main water shutoff be considered an accessible shutoff are all you talking about a valve that specifically turns off water to the tub/shower?
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Old 07-13-2015, 03:38 PM   #8
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Are they needed, no.

That being said if you ca hide one in a closet I prefer them. Redoing my upstairs bath I will have a panel to get to the trap and supply pipes.
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Old 07-13-2015, 03:56 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheEplumber View Post
No, all repairable parts for the valve should be accessible from the front.
If you put the panel there because of joints- then logic says you need them at every joint in the plumbing system....

If the tub shoe leaks- then the install method failed- time to open the wall or ceiling and patch when done.
EDIT
I would add-- All compression nuts or unions need to be accessible per UPC
This means they can be concealed by a removable panel.
The most common compression fittings or unions on a tub is the drain assembly and trap.
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Old 07-13-2015, 05:27 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheEplumber View Post
EDIT

I would add-- All compression nuts or unions need to be accessible per UPC

This means they can be concealed by a removable panel.

The most common compression fittings or unions on a tub is the drain assembly and trap.

Can you explain this further please?

I know that a compression nut is the type of valve that uses a ferrule to make a water-tight seal. But what exactly do you mean when you say "unions"?

I am curious to know for the sake of looking to see if I have any of these "unions" that shouldn't have been permanently covered.

Also, what is the logic behind code allowing Sharkbite fittings to be installed behind finished walls while prohibiting such for compression fittings, like you mentionned? I've never had either fail on me so they both seem to work synonymously.
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Old 07-13-2015, 06:06 PM   #11
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Not required by IPC code if you have valves with integral stops and a scd 40 glue together tub waste.
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Old 07-13-2015, 06:35 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Solidify View Post
Can you explain this further please?

I know that a compression nut is the type of valve that uses a ferrule to make a water-tight seal. But what exactly do you mean when you say "unions"?

I am curious to know for the sake of looking to see if I have any of these "unions" that shouldn't have been permanently covered.

Also, what is the logic behind code allowing Sharkbite fittings to be installed behind finished walls while prohibiting such for compression fittings, like you mentionned? I've never had either fail on me so they both seem to work synonymously.
You don't see valves with unions much anymore- they were common with galvanized pipe systems though.
But on the drain side of a tub, unions and compression are still used- mostly by homeowners or people who insist on brass or slip joint waste and overflows.
Trap with union nut--
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...F0A78Q89W80B6W

Slip joint W&O assembly, available in plastic also. Both have compression nuts-
http://www.homedepot.com/p/Westbrass...20CP/202551032
If eirther of these are installed, access should be provided per code. Or use glued, sch 40 assembly and forego the access.

Sharkbites, IMO are not unions or compression joints. They are "push fit" fittings and a UPC approved method
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Old 07-13-2015, 06:53 PM   #13
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My existing bath that we're remodeling has both that slip joint and union for the p-trap. I guess that's why they installed an access panel behind the tub.

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