Plumbing access through top of tub surround?

I am installing a whirlpool tub into an alcove, where the center wall is an exterior wall. There is room to have about a 6" surround on each side of the tub, or I could have it off-center and go up to 9" on one side.
SWMBO wants the fixtures on the middle (exterior) wall, and I'm trying to decide if it's even possible with a topside plumbing access. Not only would it have to be large enough to facilitate installation and potentially repair, it would also still need to seal.
I'm building the surround out of some leftover brazilian cherry we have from the stair remodel (I build box newels for that).
Is this possible, or is it just as bad of an idea as it feels like? Should I consider an outside plumbing access? This is a 2nd floor master bath, stick-framed, with a brick vernier exterior.
The other alternative is to just install the fixtures on the front side, but you'd have to get in around them, and they wouldn't be as nice to look at.
Thanks!
-Mike
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Outside wall aren't the best for things that freeze.
am installing a whirlpool tub into an alcove, where the center wall<BR>is an exterior wall. There is room to have about a 6" surround on each<BR>side of the tub, or I could have it off-center and go up to 9" on one<BR>side.<BR><BR>SWMBO wants the fixtures on the middle (exterior) wall, and I'm trying<BR>to decide if it's even possible with a topside plumbing access. Not<BR>only would it have to be large enough to facilitate installation and<BR>potentially repair, it would also still need to seal.<BR><BR>I'm building the surround out of some leftover brazilian cherry we<BR>have from the stair remodel (I build box newels for that).<BR><BR>Is this possible, or is it just as bad of an idea as it feels like?<BR>Should I consider an outside plumbing access? This is a 2nd floor<BR>master bath, stick-framed, with a brick vernier exterior.<BR><BR>The other alternative is to just install the fixtures on the front<BR>side, but you'd have to get in around them, and they wouldn't be as<BR>nice to look at.<BR><BR>Thanks!<BR><BR>-Mike<BR></BLOCKQUOTE></BODY></HTML>
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On Fri, 29 Jun 2007 15:27:01 -0500, Rick Samuel wrote:

<snip html crap>
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I assume by surround, you're referring to a platform at the top of the whirlpool between it and the wall, and you wish to plumb between the pool and the wall on the exterior wall side. I don't immediately see anything wrong with this idea, aside from access; If you live somewhere with winters, I wouldn't put the plumbing _in_ the exterior wall, however.
scott
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My tub is a 2 person oval and faucets are in one front corner and the spout in the other front corner. Neither block access. Don't worry too much about it. No one uses these things much anyway.

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that is what everyone is telling me too!
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ten years, to suck in the yuppies, were just fads. Jacuzzis, hot tubs, multi-head showers, 'restaurant style' kitchens, that sort of thing. Once the novelty wears off and/or kids come along, who has time to use them, much less keep them cleaned and maintained? I know a dozen people who have ripped out their outdoor hot tubs or even complete pools, just to simplify their lives. Now that flat panels and all-in-one home theater electronics are the current thing good enough for 90% of users, I bet some of those people who spent a gazillion dollars on rear-projection component systems in dedicated rooms are starting to feel kinda silly.
(Kinda reminds me of the NuTone Home Intercom Systems, that were de riguer in upscale houses back in the 1960s. Not to mention the hot-water dispensers and built-in appliances from the same vendor.)
In a house that should last a hundred years or so, you want to be careful how tightly you integrate technology that will be worn out or no longer popular in ten or twenty years.
aem sends....
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On the other hand, after mowing my hilly lawn in hot weather I would first take a shower and then a dip in the jacuzzi right next to it. It is amazing how much more dirt the jacuzzi would get out of my pores when I was already shower clean. But now I hire a company to mow the lawn.

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: SWMBO wants the fixtures on the middle (exterior) wall, and I'm trying : to decide if it's even possible with a topside plumbing access. Not : only would it have to be large enough to facilitate installation and : potentially repair, it would also still need to seal.
What's underneath the bathroom? Can you access the plumbing from underneath?
--- Chip
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Thanks for the replies so far.
The family room is underneath, no way for access.
What do you think about access from above? (through the wood) I can't think of anything that would work well and still look right. Panels to the sides of the fixtures, with the fixtures on a separate panel would have seams that would need to be sealed (near the fixtures and near the walls). The center (fixture) panel would need extra support beneath. On top of that, the access panels on either side would need some way to pull on them or unscrew them - I dunno if caulking them in place would be adequate.
Access from outside may just be risky from a time standpoint. If it starts leaking or we need access for some reason, gotta climb a 20' ladder to deal with it.
I was hoping there was some slick trick for this that I just hadn't seen.
To answer other posts above: we're in Austin, TX, and the pipes would not be inside the wall. And, yes, I am talking about the trim that goes on top of the tub, into the tile. I guess normally the tile is called the surround :)
Thanks, Mike
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It seems to me the best option would be to mount the faucet off to the side, in front of the tub, with an access door on the wall below the tub. Who says the faucet needs to be centered? Any thing else is just asking for trouble down the road. With the access on top, water will certainly get trough at some point. Greg
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Mike,

Are you talking about mounting the fixture on the back side of the tub? If so, that would be very awkward to use unless you have a small tub or plan on climbing in the tub just to start filling it with water.
Is this a tub in a platform situation where the fixture mounts on the deck, or it is a regular tub where the fixtures mount on the wall?
You mention it's an alcove. What's on the two end walls? Could you put an access panel on the back side of one of the end walls? Our guest bath has a closet on the other side of the fixture wall, which made it easy to hide an access panel inside the closet.

I mounted our master tub faucet in the front left corner of our tub platform. It's easy to access, out of the way when climbing in and out of the tub, and doesn't get in the way if we both take a bath together (a person at each end).

I wouldn't recommend top access if you can avoid it. It's just a potential place for water to seep into.
One end of our master tub butts up against the vanity cabinet. I originally planned on putting the access inside the cabinet, since the front of our tub platform had to be waterproofed (we have a large walk-in shower outside the tub). In the end, I installed the fixture before I set the tub in. Any typical repairs needed to the faucet can be accomplished from above the deck anyway. And if I need to repair the plumbing for some reason, I figured I could remove the tub, or pop a hole up from our crawlspace. Either way, that's no different than repairing the plumbing anywhere else in the house.
Anthony
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That's a good point I hadn't considered.

Fixture on the deck

One wall has the master bedroom, the other has the water closet. Access panel wouldn't look good. I don't mind front access -- I'm building a jatoba front for the tub too (standard frame and panel A&C look). It would be easy enough to just caulk that piece in place and slice it out for access if it was ever needed.

We'll have to look into that, but this is a pretty crisp rectangular tub, so corner fixture may look awkward. I'll take a look.

Interesting point. I could plumb the tub around to where there is access in front, install the tub, then sweat the final connections from the front. I guess if it's solid soldered copper all the way through, it is no different than being in a wall. Hmm. There is the fixture access leanin over the whole tub issue though.
Thanks for the replies so far everyone.
-Mike
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Mike,

Could you make the entire back side of the water closet wall a removeable panel?

One other thought, you mentioned this was a "whirlpool" tub right? If so that involves a pump and electrical equipment. In that case, you are required by code to have an access panel for the electrical connection and pump maintenance. Sounds like you're OK with a front access panel, so just mount everything up front (or on an end you can reach from the front) and you should be OK.
Anthony
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wrote:

I'll say this, when I had a bathtub with the valves and faucet on the side, it was very convenient. I didn't have to move to adjust the water. I loved my luxury 1930 bathtub, with the drain control outside. I could float in it with no more than a square inch of me touching the sides or bottom.
Now I have one with the valves and faucet near my toes. I've done toe exercises and greased the stems to make them easy to turn with my toes, but they got tight again later. I have some control but end up sitting up to adjust them most of the time.
They couldn't put them on the side here, because under the sheetrock is the cinder block that separates my house from the next house.
In the luxury building, in my bathroom, the wall only separated the tub from the kitchen. And in the other full bathroom, I think the tub was against an outside wall, but the fixtures were still on the side.
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