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 bath taps that are against the wall.

Taps against the wall

Why Would We Put Bath Taps Against the Wall?

Bathrooms are usually quite small and bath taps are usually located at either end of the tub or along the side. In most bathrooms, the bathtub is located in a corner of the room meaning that the tub is boxed in on at least 2 sides and often, 3. Unless you have a modern freestanding bathtub, this usually means that the taps are often against a wall.

If your bath is boxed in on 2 or 3 sides, usually, the bath taps will be located at the boxed-in end of the tub and not on the side of the bath as the fixtures and fittings are easier to reach when the panel is removed from the side.

Taps Against the End Wall

The standard place for taps to be is near the wall on the short side of the bath. This gives us much easier access to underneath the taps and the bath waste when the side panel is removed.

Taps Against the Side Wall

Taps mounted against the side wall are a little more difficult to reach as you will only be able to access them from whichever end is clear of obstructions. If a bathtub is boxed in at both ends and the taps are along the longer end of the bath, getting to the fixtures and fittings is impossible without moving the bath.

Wall Mounted Taps

Wall-mounted taps will usually have an access panel located behind the taps. Whether that be in the next room or behind a boxed-in area, accessing the plumbing on these taps usually isn’t a problem unless the boxing-in has been made a little more permanent than it should have been.

Is Having Taps Against the Wall a Good Idea?

In reality, the majority of taps except those that are freestanding have a wall directly behind them, however, there will usually be a way to access the plumbing. 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 on the long side 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 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 completely! 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.

Conclusion

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.

How to Replace Bath Taps Against the Wall With No Access Infographic

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!”

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the advantages of having deck-mounted taps with a wall behind them?

Having a wall directly behind deck-mounted taps can provide a neat and streamlined appearance, protect the wall from water splashes, and offer easy access for cleaning and maintenance.

How can I protect the wall behind my deck-mounted taps from water damage?

Consider using water-resistant materials like tiles or waterproof paint. Additionally, sealing the gap between the taps and the wall with silicone caulk can prevent water from seeping behind.

Are there any challenges with cleaning the space between the taps and the wall?

The proximity to the wall might make it slightly more challenging to clean around the taps. Using a small brush or cloth can help reach tight spaces.

How do I ensure that the taps don’t damage the wall when turned on or off?

Ensure the taps are securely fixed to the deck and not touching the wall. Regularly check the fixtures for any loosening.

Can I install a backsplash behind my deck-mounted taps?

Yes, a backsplash can be a stylish and functional addition, protecting the wall from splashes and adding to the bathroom’s aesthetic.

What kind of maintenance is required for the wall area directly behind the taps?

Regularly check for any signs of mould, mildew, or water damage. Clean and dry the area frequently to prevent buildup.

Is there a risk of the wall getting damp or mouldy due to its proximity to the taps?

There’s a potential risk, especially if the wall isn’t adequately protected. Ensure good ventilation in the bathroom and use water-resistant materials to mitigate this risk.

How can I maximize the space between the wall and my deck-mounted taps?

Opt for taps with a slimmer design or consider installing tap extenders if you need more space between the tap and the wall.

Are there specific tap designs recommended for setups with a wall directly behind?

Taps with a higher arc or swivel design can provide more space and flexibility, especially if the wall is very close.

How can I ensure a cohesive look between the wall and my deck-mounted taps?

Choose tap finishes that complement the wall colour or material. For instance, matte black taps can look striking against a white tiled wall, while chrome taps can match well with grey tiles.


Author

Lee Pearce is not just a master plumber; he’s a veritable Plumbing Wizard. With over 30 years of experience in the trenches of pipes and drains, Lee has become the go-to sage for DIY plumbing, saving homeowners thousands in potential call-out charges. As the founder of Plumbing Wizard, he’s dedicated to demystifying the complexities of home plumbing, offering easy-to-follow advice that stands the test of time and pressure. His online blog is a treasure trove of tips, tricks, and tutorials that empower everyday individuals to take charge of their home’s plumbing health. Lee’s practical wisdom is not just about fixing leaks; it’s about imparting confidence and self-reliance. When he’s not writing or elbow-deep in a plumbing project, Lee is passionate about educating the next generation of DIYers, ensuring that practical skills are passed down and preserved.


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