Whether you are renovating, have a concern that there might be a problem behind it, or need to replace a damaged bath panel, you can remove a bath panel without too much trouble.
If you need to remove a bath panel there are several safe ways to do it. Mastic sealant, screw fixings, spring tension are all ways to secure a panel. With a little patience, and the right tools you can remove and replace a bath panel in minutes. So, whatever your reason for carrying out this task, here’s our guide to the best way to do it.
The Tools Required to Remove a Bath Panel
Whatever type of bath panel you need to remove, it is a good idea to have the tools ready.
A Safety/Craft Knife
A safety knife, where the blade instantly retracts when you release the handle, is the ideal tool for when any sealant around the panel is still doing its job. The sealant does degrade over time, but sometimes heavy use can remain stubborn and hard to remove.
Select a standard crosshead (Philips) and a flat-head screwdriver. A flat-head screwdriver is useful as a lever.
A Silicone Gun
A good quality silicone sealant gun is not an expensive addition to your toolkit. You will also need a tube of sanitary bathroom sealant. When replacing the panel, you will want to reseal it.
As an alternative, there are sealants that come in tubes. The sealant squeezes out like toothpaste. Perfect for small jobs.
A bath panel fitted for some time will probably be dirty. It could have become brittle over the years too. Use a pair of good quality, anti-cut gloves. They are not expensive and could save you a trip to the first aid cabinet.
How to Remove a Bath Panel
Let’s start with the simplest style of bath panel and work our way up. These days bath panels come in standard shapes and sizes and should not cause too many problems. However, the more luxurious the bathroom, the more complex the panels become.
How to remove The Plastic Sprung Bath Panel
Plastic sprung bath panels slot between the floor finish and a batten and clip into the bath overhang above. It is usual to find both vertical ends sealed with mastic too.
Using a Knife to Release the Bath Panel
Start by running the blade through the mastic sealant.
Start at the top and push the blade down, away from yourself.
The old tradesman’s saying, ‘Keep your hands behind the blade,’ is a key thing to remember at this stage.
Do not reverse the blade and cut upwards in case you slip.
Removing the Bath Panel
Release either end, then apply gentle pressure with your fingers to the top of the bath panel. It should bend slightly and release from under the lip of the bath.
If you can’t use your fingers this way, or the panel is not compressing try slotting the flat-head screwdriver between the lip of the bath and the top of the plastic panel.
Start at one end. The top of the panel should quickly become visible.
After you have exposed about a foot (30 cm) or so you should be able to apply gentle pressure with your hands and gradually release the rest of the panel.
Pop the panel up parallel to the edge of the bath.
What to Check if the Bath Panel Seems Stuck
The bath panel should simply lift out of the way. However, the panel could have internal screw fixings direct to the floor. If this is the case be gentle, don’t force it.
Some bath panels may have screw fixings through the face at the bottom close to the floor too. It is always a good idea to check!
Pop the bath panel into the bath for safekeeping! Move it out of the way while you carry out your renovations!
How to remove the Screw Fixed Bath Panel
Your bath panel could be solid timber, a moulded board, or a plastic bath panel that requires a more robust fixing. It is unlikely that they will be fixed with nails.
Removing Screw Caps
If your bath panel is fixed with screws it’s likely that they are covered up by plastic screw caps.
You will recognise these as small white cylinders with a round lid.
The lids should pop off with a fingernail, or with the light application of the blade of a flat-head screwdriver.
The plastic lids can be stuck on with a small blob of mastic. You may need to attend to them, and clean them out with a craft knife.
Steel, Chrome, or Plastic Caps
If your bath panel is a top-of-the-range example look for screw caps that are stainless steel, chrome, or plastic domed. They are often used to fix a mirror to a wall.
These unscrew with a finger and thumb, usually revealing a screw with a flat head groove. Make sure these dome-headed caps and your fingers, are dry before you begin!
Pop any covers somewhere safe if you are going to replace the panel.
Mastic Sealant Management
The bath panel will likely have mastic sealant helping to secure it. Remove or cut off as much as you can.
Bear in mind that where there are visible screw fixings there might be other, less obvious fixings, so take your time.
How to remove a Ceramic Tiled Bath Panel
In a bathroom with a ceramic tiled bath panel, look for the access panel built into it. It should be easy to find. It will be the tiled section that has mastic rather than tile grout around the tiles.
Cut out the mastic sealant to release the panel. Mastic can also conceal crew fixings, or plastic or stainless-steel screw caps.
Ceramic Bath Panel Removal
If you are remodelling and want to remove the ceramic tiled bath panel completely then you will need a hammer and a robust tool such as a masonry chisel.
Broken ceramic tiles have extraordinarily sharp edges. It is sensible to protect your hands with a solid pair of rigger gloves.
Remove the ceramic tiles from the plyboard below to discover the screws or nails to a timber frame.
The fixings could be buried under a layer of tile adhesive. You will need to tease them out with the point of your craft knife blade.
Can I Still Use My Bath Without a Bath Panel?
Yes, you can. The bath should remain perfectly watertight, and usable, without a bath panel fitted.
Where can I Buy a Replacement Bath Panel?
Most big-box DIY retail shops, or bathroom supplies shops should be able to sell you a bath panel. Just be sure to measure up the old one so that you come home with the right standard-size bath panel.