Bath taps are one of those things that nobody thinks about until they break as it can be a tough job to change them out, especially if you don’t have any access to the water feeds.
If you have just moved into a new home and want to change the taps or you need to maintain your existing ones but do not have access. You may have a problem as bath taps are some of the most important fixtures in your bathroom. They are also some of the most expensive to replace or repair if you have a bathtub that is against a wall.
In this article, we will look at what you can do if you need to repair or replace taps that are against the wall.
Why Would We Put Bath Taps Against the Wall?
Bath taps are usually located at either end of the tub or along the side and unless you have a modern freestanding bathtub, this is often against a wall.
There are 2 primary reasons for bath taps to be along the side of a bath and they are for ease of access and aesthetics (because they look good).
For some people, having the taps on the side of the bath is important due to their mobility and to provide easy access. If both ends of the bath are obstructed, having taps in the centre may be necessary to ensure that they can be reached.
The other reason for side-mounted taps is aesthetics. It is generally considered more stylish looking to have the taps mounted in the middle. It also gives the bath a clean-looking symmetry that people really like.
Is Having Taps Against the Wall a Good Idea?
Unless there was a genuine reason to have the taps side-mounted and against the wall, a good plumber would always advise against having the taps placed here unless there was at least access from one end and the tap fittings could be reached.
Being able to access the water feeds underneath a bathtub is essential, not only for maintenance purposes but in case anything goes wrong.
For example, in my old house growing up, we could not have the taps mounted centrally regardless of how good they may have looked. The bathroom was particularly small, and the bath was boxed in at both ends by solid walls meaning that there would have been no access to the plumbing.
How to Replace Bath Taps Against the Wall
If your tub is against a back wall and there is no access to the tap fittings, you are in trouble and in reality, there is nothing that you can do about it without causing some damage somewhere.
There really are only 2 options and I’m sure that you are not going to like either, but this should have definitely been thought about before the bath was installed this way. I would put this down to poor planning/ plumbing or, someone ignored the plumber’s advice and now you are left to pick up the pieces.
One – Cut Access from the Next Room
Now, this option will not be available to everyone, but I know many people that have had a plumbing access panel cut into the adjacent wall. I have even had to do this at a couple of properties myself and it is often the cheaper option.
The reasons that this option is not available to everyone are largely due to where the bath is located and the type of wall it backs onto.
If for example, your bath backs onto the adjoining wall to your neighbours, you can hardly go and ask them to cut an access panel into your bathroom. Neither should you cut through any brickwork.
If your bath backs onto a brick wall, you should not try and cut an access panel there either, this option is only really for those that have stud plasterboard walls that are not part of the building’s structure.
Two – Remove the Bath Completely
If you thought cutting a hole through the wall was drastic, how about your only other real option – removing the bath.
Removing the bath is likely to be much more expensive than cutting a hole through the wall but unfortunately for many, this is the only option to get to the poorly planned plumbing.
By removing the bath completely, you are back in control, and you can then plan your next steps appropriately. This would be a good time to decorate, and get a new freestanding bath and if you intend on keeping your taps side-mounted – you can properly plan your access for next time and even mount your new taps from above with a tap fixing kit.
How to Fit Taps on The Side of a Bath
If you want to have your taps fitted on the side of your bath, the best option really is a quick release tap fixing kit (amazon link – opens in a new tab).
These kits allow the taps to be mounted from above using flexible hose adapters meaning that you can remove or replace the taps easily and reach the plumbing connections.
If you need to get behind your bath to maintain or replace the taps that are against the wall, you only really have 2 choices. Neither choice is very appealing, and both will take some work.
Cutting a hole through the wall to create an access panel is a good idea if your bath backs onto a stud wall and even better if the access panel can be hidden inside a cupboard or wardrobe.
The last option is to remove the bath completely. This is probably the most destructive method but also gives you the perfect opportunity to redecorate and put right any mistakes that have been previously made.
Finally, once you have your taps out, it is worth considering mounting them using the quick-release kit as this may save you time, hassle, and money in the future.
Did You Know?
“Do not cut into any brickwork – this could lead to structural problems if not done correctly!”
“If cutting through the wall, always check that there are no electrics where you plan to go through!”
“Replacing the taps is a great time to remove the bath completely and get a nice new one!”
“Remember when installing a new bath – plan your access to the plumbing. In an ideal world, it will never leak but we do not live in an ideal world!”
I’m Lee the Plumbing Wizard. I’ve been a plumber for over 40 years and have seen it all. People used to call me a magician because I could fix things so easily – hence the name Plumbing Wizard. I’m always happy to help, so if you need any advice or just someone to talk about plumbing with, don’t hesitate to get in touch!