I am in the stage of painting a spare room, which, on one wall, has an
access panel to service the bathroom tub plumbing. Currently, the panel area
contains basic door trim molding with a 1/8" thick grooved board screwed
into the wall at each corner as it has been since I bought the house. I
would like to remove this set up and have a better layout which offers
easier access without the need of a screwdriver and a more stylish or hidden
design, if possible. I am also trying to avoid purchasing a specialized
sized access panel which will require cutting and modifying the current
opening area. Any suggestions for a better layout?
Back in the stone age, we cased them out like door openings, including
stop molding set back whatever distance was correct for the cover panel
used. We then held them in place with magnetic cabinet latches.
Sometimes added a drawer pull on the front to get them off easily.
Nothing wrong with a few screws, especially if there are kids in the
house. If it is too easy to open, they WILL open it, and crawl inside if
the space is big enough, or if not, they will stuff the cat in there.
(It's not that they are evil- it is in kid hardwiring to do stuff like
Personally, I'd just replace the existing trim with something
minimalist, and make a fresh panel out of masonite or cabinet-grade ply,
painted to match the wall. It is what it is- nobody is gonna find it
offensive. If you want to practice your drywall skills, they sell
J-shaped plastic edge bead that you could slide behind the drywall
edges, and mud smooth. If you make the panel sit flush and use magnetic
catches or velcro tape, it would pretty much vanish. A big magnet glued
to the back of the panel in a secret spot would let you use any metal
tool to open the panel.
That is one stud bay wide. The idea I mentioned about the plastic
J-channel edging would be Real Easy to implement, since you already have
studs behind the edges. If there is no blocking inside at the top and
bottom, add a couple pieces of 1x inside, held in with screws through
the drywall, and you have your flush-edge opening (once you mud it,
which you will be doing anyway to fix dings and holes before you paint).
Just add blocks in the corners screwed to the studs at a suitable depth
for whatever smooth panel you choose, and screws or velcro or magnet
catches or whatever you decide on, and paint to suit. I'd go with 1/2"
cabinet grade plywood, primed and painted, since it is easy to get the
same texture as drywall on that. The borg sells small pieces pretty
cheap in their project aisle. Hardest part will be making the corners of
the opening as square as the panel is, so you have a uniform tight crack
on all 4 sides. Cut your panel slightly oversize and plane or sand to
fit, for a nice snug fit.
Perhaps I should elaborate more so on the issue of aesthetics. The panel and
molding is 70's style old and hideous looking. I meant easier in the option
perhaps of magnetic points of something along those lines. I'm looking for a
cleaner flush look than what's there.
I can assure you, the residence artist enjoys more than the view of stick
We have a guest bedroom with a.p. to adjoining bath. It had simply a
plain slab of drywall screwed on. When I repainted, I bought a plain
picture frame and a primed masonite panel to fit the frame, glued in,
and painted them to match the walls. I used screws to fasten the frame,
but magnetic catches would work as well. If there is no framing behind
the opening, you could fashion some to glue in place to hold magnetic
catches. One could also do without the frame and used only the masonite
panel, available in lots of sizes at art/craft stores.
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