Bathroom repair is easier with access panels
Soon after I had remodeled my small bathroom it developed a water leak. The first thing I knew about it was a puddle on the floor of the room below. A water pipe was leaking and it was buried in one of the bathroom walls which not only made it difficult to find out where the leak was but a lot of ceramic tiles had to be destroyed to get at it.
When I asked my bathroom contractors why they didn’t make it easier to get at the new pipe work they said that it would have made my quotation too expensive so they just buried the pipes and hoped that they don’t give any trouble. It was just my luck then that my bathroom was the one where they made lousy joints. The bathroom repair turned out to be far more costly than it would have been to make all the pipes accessible in the first place and I wish now that I’d had the foresight to put that in the specifications.
Where to put access panels
The obvious solution to the bathroom repair problem is to provide access panels for all of the pipe work joints and as much of the pipe length as possible. When you specify what you want in your bathroom remodel make sure that you will be able to get at every joint easily.
Where the water pipes are installed in a separating wall it’s often convenient to provide access on the other side of the wall rather than inside the bathroom where the ceramic tiles are. You may even be able to turn the access into a small cupboard, which would give you an added benefit. Opening the cupboard doors would provide simple access to the water pipes.
Pipe work under bathtub and under floor can be made accessible by removable panels. Make sure that the floor covering allows for this and a suitable sealer is used to fill any gaps when the access is closed.
If the access panel has to go on the bathroom side of the wall then special attention to waterproofing will be required.
How to make access panels in ceramic tiles
To accommodate a radiator in my bathroom remodel the contractors built a false wall to hide the pipe work. This wall was then set with ceramic tiles and the radiator mounted in front of the tiles. This pipe work has not leaked but I do wonder what I would do if it ever did.
Tiling a small part of the false wall separately on a removable section could have provided an access panel. This would then be screwed firmly to the main part of the wall and the edges sealed with a silicon-sealing compound. The screws would pass through the tiles so silicon sealer would be used to seal the screw heads and holes in the tiles. When the need arose the sealer could be stripped away and the panel unscrewed. Resealing when the problem was fixed would be just as easy.
For more bathroom remodeling tips take a look at this article on setting bathroom tiles:
Setting Ceramic Tile Made Easy