How to Install an Access Panel in Drywall
Give yourself a no-demolition route to faucets, drains, and valves with access panels. We'll show you how to install one in drywall.
In a bathroom, an access panel is the no-demolition route to the back of faucets, the drain for a bathtub, and the mixing valve of a shower. When it's time for repairs and replacements, access is a snap instead of adding hit-and-miss wall demolition and patching on top of the plumbing chores. Access panels are particularly helpful when you're converting utility spaces like a basement, attic, or garage into a living area. By installing access panels, you preserve the ability to find and easily reach shut-off valves and drain cleanouts. But you don't have to limit the panels to plumbing applications. You can also utilize them for easily reaching breaker boxes, electrical junction boxes, runs of telephone and data cable, plus other uses.
You can purchase metal and plastic access panels in a wide variety of sizes—from fist-size to large enough to permit an average-size person to crawl through. Some styles of purchased panels permit a choice between easy surface mounting or flush mounting. Flush mounting is slightly more difficult but much less visible. Expect to spend roughly 20 minutes installing a small access panel. Before you begin, choose the location for your panel.