The Green Revolution in Plumbing: Environmentally Friendly Plumbing

Plumbing Access Panels: Four Stylish Ideas For Your Home

An access panel is a panel or small doorway in a wall providing access to your plumbing pipes. Typically, these panels are located near bathtubs or showers. When a plumber or a homeowner opens the panel, he or she can easily access the plumbing leading to those taps, and he or she can turn off the water and replace pipes or fittings as needed.

Some people opt to not install access panels because they do not like how they look. However, if they get a leak behind the shower or need to do another type of plumbing repair, they find they cannot reach their pipes. Ultimately, they are forced to cut a hole in the wall. This can be messy, annoying and time consuming.

Instead of skipping the access panel, keep your pipes accessible with one of these fun, stylish or practical access panel ideas:

1. Around the whirlpool tub

If you have a porcelain tub, this idea won't work, but if you have a whirlpool tub, you can easily hide your plumbing access panel in the paneling around the whirlpool tub. Imagine a whirlpool tub in the middle of a spacious bathroom. The pipes leading to the tub run through the floor to the whirlpool, and attractive paneling surrounds the base of the tub.

All of the paneling looks the same, but the part nearest the taps can be removed. No one can see the access hole, but as needed, you and your plumber can easily reach your plumbing. Obviously, hiding your access panel around your tub is substantially easier than having to cut a hole in the floor to access your plumbing.

2. Behind a decorative wainscoting panel

If you like the idea of hiding your plumbing access panel among matching panels that do not open, you do not necessarily need a whirlpool tub to achieve that effect. Rather, you can hide your plumbing access panel among other decorative panels along your wall.

Whether you live in an old home with lots of trim and wainscoting or a contemporary home, you should consider adding wainscoting or knee-high paneling along the wall housing your shower or tub plumbing.

In this set-up, most of the panels are immobile and attached to the wall, but one has hinges and can be pulled downward if you need to access the pipes behind it. This wall could be located next to the bathroom or behind the kitchen as needed for your particular plumbing design.

3. With an antique heating register

If you love ornate metal or antiques in general, consider putting an antique heating register over the hole near your plumbing pipes. These registers or grates have openings in them, and if you get close and look through them, you will be able to see your plumbing pipes.

However, they look super cool and add a fun antique accent to your home. Whether you need them high or low, on a wall or in a floor, they will give your home a touch of style while providing you with access to your plumbing.

4. In the closet

If you don't like any of the access panel ideas above, consider putting your plumbing access panel in a closet. For example, if you locate a closet next to your shower on the side with the taps, the plumbing pipes will run through the wall between the closet and the tub or shower.

Your access panel can then be inside the closet, hidden. There, you can have a small wooden door or even a cloth flap over the hole in the sheetrock. When you need to access the plumbing, you just walk in your closet and open up the panel. Obviously, design your shelves so you can move them out of the way to ensure that you or your plumber can actually fit in the closet.

If you want to talk more about the benefits and long-term convenience offered by plumbing panels or about how to integrate a stylish one into your home, please contact a plumber like P1 Plumbing & Electrical.