Whirlpool Tub Access Panel

 
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Old 03-03-2009, 02:20 PM   #1
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Whirlpool Tub Access Panel


Hey guys:
I have to wainscot the skirt around a whirlpool tub using maple plywood and 1x. The tub deck will be tiled. Only the front (long) wall of the tub will be wainscoted. The other end butts up to the shower and the other end is the wall to a toilet room. There's access to one end of the tub from the toilet room but I think (that's always a problem) they need access from the front too. No one has asked for it (yet ) and they haven't had any problems with the motor or plumbing since the house was built 15 years ago, but everyone knows that as soon as I finish this job something is going to go and they'll need access from the front. I'll do a cursory check of the plumbing and pump after I do the tearout but that's no guarantee of future problems.

At this point I'm just thinking about options. The skirt is 93 inches long so I'll likely have 4 panels seperated by 1x and trim for the raised panel effect.

I suppose I could build a frame, a little bigger than one of the panels, then screw the maple to the frame and cover the screws with trim. It may not be the cleanest way to get access but it'll be a heck of a lot easier than ripping out the entire skirt.

Any other suggestions are welcome.

Thanks,
Mike
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Old 03-03-2009, 04:44 PM   #2
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Re: Whirlpool Tub Access Panel


Make one of the sections removable. Install magnetic catches to hold it in place.

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Old 03-03-2009, 05:30 PM   #3
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Re: Whirlpool Tub Access Panel


Quote:
Originally Posted by mpt1123 View Post
Hey guys:
I have to wainscot the skirt around a whirlpool tub using maple plywood and 1x. The tub deck will be tiled. Only the front (long) wall of the tub will be wainscoted. The other end butts up to the shower and the other end is the wall to a toilet room. There's access to one end of the tub from the toilet room but I think (that's always a problem) they need access from the front too. No one has asked for it (yet ) and they haven't had any problems with the motor or plumbing since the house was built 15 years ago, but everyone knows that as soon as I finish this job something is going to go and they'll need access from the front. I'll do a cursory check of the plumbing and pump after I do the tearout but that's no guarantee of future problems.

At this point I'm just thinking about options. The skirt is 93 inches long so I'll likely have 4 panels seperated by 1x and trim for the raised panel effect.

I suppose I could build a frame, a little bigger than one of the panels, then screw the maple to the frame and cover the screws with trim. It may not be the cleanest way to get access but it'll be a heck of a lot easier than ripping out the entire skirt.

Any other suggestions are welcome.

Thanks,
Mike
The area will always be wet when people climb out of the tub, is maple plywood and 1x good choice for that area... Sounds like asking for trouble.
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Old 03-03-2009, 07:07 PM   #4
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Re: Whirlpool Tub Access Panel


Usually U can get the motor out of the end the motor is on. If there's access at the stool room look and see if they're gonna physically be able to get it out. If so don't sweat it.

Wood isn't a choice I'd make for a tub skirt, but I've done plenty. Made a panneled one from MDF once. Voiced my opinion and was told to shut up and do my job, which I did LOL. U can only make suggestions, ya can't telp people what to do.
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Old 03-04-2009, 08:34 AM   #5
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Re: Whirlpool Tub Access Panel


Guys:
Thanks for the replies. I'll check for motor access when I go back today. They want the skirt to match the vanity - so that's the plan. I'll make sure it's coated with extra coats of good exterior varnish. The plumbing access is an issue unless they have a plumber with extra long arms.....
More later.

Can I get some more info on the magnetic option?
Thanks,
Mike
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Old 03-04-2009, 08:53 AM   #6
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Re: Whirlpool Tub Access Panel


Mike,
If I were you I would varnish the back & edges of the panels & trim for extra protection. The magnet idea is a good one. Velcro would work too & would probably keep the panel from warping.
Steve
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Old 03-04-2009, 09:29 AM   #7
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Re: Whirlpool Tub Access Panel


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Originally Posted by irockwithdirt View Post
Usually U can get the motor out of the end the motor is on. If there's access at the stool room look and see if they're gonna physically be able to get it out. If so don't sweat it.

Wood isn't a choice I'd make for a tub skirt, but I've done plenty. Made a panneled one from MDF once. Voiced my opinion and was told to shut up and do my job, which I did LOL. U can only make suggestions, ya can't telp people what to do.
I agree Irock, in most situations this is the case. For the past 10 years or so, if I know something might be a problem down the road and after bringing this to a customer attention and they still want me to go ahead and do it, I will put this in writing and have them sign it. From experience and talking to other trades in the business, if something does goes wrong, its a no win situation for a contractor. I spoke about that to my attorney when I heard someone had a problem, and he said, the way law looks at this, you are the professional who is doing the work, and if you know it is the wrong way of doing it, you shouldn't have done it... and customer wins.
Today contracting is a whole new industry.
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Old 03-04-2009, 10:14 AM   #8
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Re: Whirlpool Tub Access Panel


Quote:
Originally Posted by mpt1123 View Post
Guys:
Thanks for the replies. I'll check for motor access when I go back today. They want the skirt to match the vanity - so that's the plan. I'll make sure it's coated with extra coats of good exterior varnish. The plumbing access is an issue unless they have a plumber with extra long arms.....
More later.

Can I get some more info on the magnetic option?
Thanks,
Mike

Mike,

We use something similar to this a lot when we need access panels for gas/water shutoffs or misc other items. I thought we got them from Rockler but I don't seem them right now on their website. Search for magnetic catch on google and you will find a bunch.

http://www.dlawlesshardware.com/masplotolac2.html
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Old 03-04-2009, 12:24 PM   #9
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Re: Whirlpool Tub Access Panel


If you want to match the vanity this is one idea. Either order or build a faceframe to the size of the skirt and instead of panels install doors that match the vanity, have them hinged at the top and put a magnetic catch at the bottom. Most cabinet manufacturers will custom build this for you and you just put it in place.

I don't design them I just follow a plan, but I have installed many wood skirts to match the cabinetry. Sometimes people barely use there whirpool tub anyway.

Last edited by SK Remodeling; 03-04-2009 at 12:27 PM.
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Old 03-06-2009, 08:48 PM   #10
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Re: Whirlpool Tub Access Panel


Good idea about the hinged doors. Do they make stainless steel hinges (or would solid brass be better?) to handle the corrosive nature of hot tubs?
Steve
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Old 03-07-2009, 05:46 AM   #11
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Re: Whirlpool Tub Access Panel


Here's the latest. I removed the access panel in the toilet room and the only thing you can access from that location is the shutoff valves for the water. You might be able to reach the faucets with long arms and a lot of patience. The motor is located at the far end of the tub and there's no way anyone could get to it (duh!). The good news is that the homeowners are glad they found this out now before doing all of the work around the tub. They're thinking about the options (cabinet doors for walls, access panels that are screwed into the framing, and access panels with magetic catches). I've recommended two access panels, one for the faucets and one for the motor. I also told them that the access panel in the toilet room is of no value and they can close that up with drywall. I should know in about a week which way they want to go. I'll let you know. Thanks for all the suggestions.
Mike
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Old 03-08-2009, 12:08 PM   #12
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Re: Whirlpool Tub Access Panel


I did one about a year ago out of wood. Made maple face frame with 4 1/4 base beneath. Hinged 2 doors at top with concealed hinges so gravity will keep them shut. Gave full access.

Still don't like wood for a tub skirt, but that's what they wanted.

Quote:
I agree Irock, in most situations this is the case. For the past 10 years or so, if I know something might be a problem down the road and after bringing this to a customer attention and they still want me to go ahead and do it, I will put this in writing and have them sign it. From experience and talking to other trades in the business, if something does goes wrong, its a no win situation for a contractor. I spoke about that to my attorney when I heard someone had a problem, and he said, the way law looks at this, you are the professional who is doing the work, and if you know it is the wrong way of doing it, you shouldn't have done it... and customer wins.
Today contracting is a whole new industry.
Greg, you are absolutely correct. Sometimes there's right and wrong........ but more often there's that gray area of better and lesser quality $$. In situations like this, I make alot of noise, make myself perfectly clear, cover my arse best and most thouroughly as posible, have walked from jobs in the past, and hope for the best.

Last edited by irockwithdirt; 03-08-2009 at 12:10 PM.
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Old 03-08-2009, 12:38 PM   #13
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Re: Whirlpool Tub Access Panel


we make the entire skirt (in your case 93") one piece, pre assembled glued screwed nailed painted or stained... install 2 or 3 hooks to the BACK of the skirt... now run a long bungee cord (a quality one) across and secure off behind along the length of the studs. this creates enough tension to keep your panel in place, yet it's still removable!
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Old 03-08-2009, 03:36 PM   #14
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Re: Whirlpool Tub Access Panel


Quote:
Originally Posted by world llc View Post
we make the entire skirt (in your case 93") one piece, pre assembled glued screwed nailed painted or stained... install 2 or 3 hooks to the BACK of the skirt... now run a long bungee cord (a quality one) across and secure off behind along the length of the studs. this creates enough tension to keep your panel in place, yet it's still removable!
I like it!

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