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Old 10-10-2018, 03:44 PM   #1
dcotsman
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Tiling Indoor Whirlpool Access Panel

I want to tile a removable access panel for our whirlpool. The panel needs to be about 5.5ft x 1.5 ft. and will I will make it removable. The tile is a 3in x 12in glass tile. I am considering plywood or a hardie board for the panel. Trouble with hardie board is it is hard to find panels longer than 5 ft. What type of panel should I use?
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Old 10-10-2018, 04:36 PM   #2
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Welcome, Dave.

My first recommendation would be to frame that hole down to a size that your readily available 60" panel will fit.

Another choice would be to buy a 4x8 sheet of CBU and waste a good bit. I think there are a couple manufacturers who still make the larger sheets, but finding them in stock somewhere might be a challenge. James Hardie makes an exterior siding panel in 4x8 sheets. It's not exactly the same material as HardieBacker, but it would suffice for your purpose.

A third choice would be to get a piece of one of the foam tiling backer boards. Would be lighter to handle, but less durable for removal and replacement, I would think.

You might also try one of the gypsum-based backer boards since you won't be installing in a wet area (will you?).

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Old 10-10-2018, 05:08 PM   #3
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I have been asked to do this once before, I put backer board on top of plywood. Told the customer if you ever need to access it the put a screws in the grout joints and use that as a handle to pull it out. The re caulk the holes.
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Old 10-11-2018, 04:36 AM   #4
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Is tiling on plywood not acceptable? It would be the easiest for me to fit the opening.
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Old 10-11-2018, 05:29 AM   #5
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It may not hold, as plywood that size wouldn't be very stable.

Is there no place that you could join two pieces of backer together? If you had a break where the grout joint is right over it, you could fill that joint with a color matched caulk.
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Old 10-11-2018, 06:43 PM   #6
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I’d lean in the direction of using 1.5” thick KerdiBoard. You can get it in 24”x96” pieces.

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Old 10-13-2018, 06:14 AM   #7
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1.5 in kerdiboard is too thick. Thinner versions I don't think are stiff enough. I bought 4x8 ft sheet of concrete backer but the edges are mush. They are meant to be mortered to another piece. I think my best option is a piece of melamine or plywood sheet and seal with a marine paint to keep moisture and humidity out. Thoughts?
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Old 10-13-2018, 08:15 PM   #8
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I'm a novice. Here's what I am in the process of doing. The end panel on my jetted tub is 22"x42". I cut 1/2" greenboard (I know, regular wallboard would be fine) to fit the 1x4 frame I built on that side. Am attaching 4 pair of double cabinet door magnets, two below the top 1x4 and two atop the lower 1x4. The magnets are mounted on scraps of 1x2s that I glued to the insides of the 1x4s so that the magnets sit back about 7/8" from the wallboard side of the 1x4 frame.

I will glue lightweight pieces of 1x4 to the back of the wallboard in line with the frame. To these I will attach with screws the metal plates for the magnets. The glued 1x4s will add some rigidity to the panel and will rest on the frame, giving additional support and alignment.

I had leftover Kerdi membrane that and covered face and cut edges of the wallboard with it. This may be overkill as the panels are unlikely to ever see water but you never know with grandkids.

It may have been easier to use the Schluter magnets but they were too pricey. I realize that this is overkill and probably far too complicated. I couldn't figure a way to access the motor and electronics without removing the entire side panel of 12"x24" tile.

I plan to apply a thin bead of grout-colored caulk over a tiny foam backer rod around the perimeter for removal if ever needed.

I'll know tomorrow how it works out.
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Old 10-14-2018, 04:44 AM   #9
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John,
Thank you.

You mentioned that you covered the greenboard with Kerdi membrane. How do you attach it? You said you covered the edges also. Not sure how to do that. Is it possible to attach pictures? I appreciate your response. Dave
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Old 10-14-2018, 08:32 AM   #10
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We used plywood and backer with strong magnets, caulked the joint.
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Old 10-14-2018, 01:09 PM   #11
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I attached the Kerdi the same as for a shower wall with DiraSet thinset. I wrapped Kerdi Band around the edges which gave about a 2” overlap on each side of the wallboard, also with DitraSet.

Attached is a photo of the frame. I haven’t taken a photo of the actual wallboard but it’s now just Kerdi orange. I only applied Kerdi on the face and perimeter, not to the back side.
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Old 10-14-2018, 01:13 PM   #12
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This might be a better photo. I can’t tell which was shot in landscape mode. I built the frame with pocket hole screws so that it could be easily disassembled to reach the motor if needed.
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Old 10-14-2018, 07:55 PM   #13
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This is plywood with backer covered with Kerdi and stacked stone. Only the 45* piece is removable and it's press fit into place. You have to use a hook pick and grab the right edge, pull it out and then slide the entire piece out and move it away safely.
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Old 10-15-2018, 06:17 AM   #14
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Beautiful job, Jon!
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Old Yesterday, 03:52 PM   #15
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If you want to see some impressive tiled access doors, search for instabur on line and on YouTube. You can also search for “tile ready access door” for more links.
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