How to install a bauco rondo drywall access panel by Access Panel Solutions in a suspended drywall ceiling. Also see the bauco panel product overview for more information.

bauco rondo Drywall Access Panel

The bauco rondo series are round drywall access panels featuring high quality construction, aluminum frame, removable door panel with a moisture/mold resistant gypsum board inlay, EPDM rubber gasket to seal against air drafts and hidden touch-latch hardware. Standard sizes are 12″, 16″ and 24″ diameters panels. The bauco rondo compliments the rectangular bauco plus II product line for installations where a circular drywall access panel is preferred for appearances or function.

bauco rondo 12" Drywall Access Panel Model 20-58-300ID

bauco rondo 12″ Drywall Access Panel Model 20-58-300ID

Back side view of the 12″ bauco rondo. The free hinge is at the 12 o’clock position. The spring touch-latches are located at the 4- and 8 o’clock positions.

bauco rondo Dryall Access Panel by Access Panel Solutions, Inc.

bauco rondo Dryall Access Panel by Access Panel Solutions, Inc.

The touch-latches release by pressing inward to open the panel door. The safety cable limits the door travel. The panel door is removable for maximum clearance by unclipping the safety cable and lifting the door off the rear free hinge.

bauco rondo Drywall Access Panel: Open Position with Safety Cable

bauco rondo Drywall Access Panel: Open Position with Safety Cable

The frame unit and door panel:

bauco rondo Drywall Access Panel Frame and Door

bauco rondo Drywall Access Panel Frame and Door

bauco rondo Drywall Access Panel Installation

My home has two HVAC systems located in the attic and the basement. The basement AC/natural gas furnace unit is served by a condensate drain pump that operates in the summer to remove water from the AC evaporator coils and in the winter for the whole-house humidifier (some water bypasses the humidifier media and must be pumped away).

The condensate flexible drain tube from the condensate pump empties into the PVC sewer line under the 1st floor joists, which is located above the basement suspended drywall ceiling. The flexible drain tube can age and become brittle, eventually it will need to be replaced. I also wondered if the condensate drain tube was unsupported and possibly kinked where it connects to the brass adapter nipple at the PVC sewer line. A bauco rondo access panel in the drywall ceiling will solve the problem.

HVAC Condensate Drain Line Sewer Connection above the Drywall Ceiling

HVAC Condensate Drain Line Sewer Connection above the Drywall Ceiling

Access to the ceiling crawlspace is limited to what I can see and reach from the unfinished side of the room on a ladder. Notice the HVAC vent boot on the right; I’ll use that a lateral (left/right) alignment reference when inside the room to position the bauco rondo access panel.

Unfinished Side of Basement

Unfinished Side of Basement

Measure for the Drywall Access Panel

The suspended drywall ceiling is a built on a grid of 48″ x 16″ steel suspension tees. Using a tape measure, I determined the bauco rondo should be installed in the 4th ceiling grid to be under the condensate sewer line connection. Careful measurements are required:

  • The distance from the edge of the drywall to the center of the 4th ceiling grid is:
    3 grid widths * 16″ + 8″ for 1/2 grid width = 56 inches from edge of the ceiling to the center of the 4th grid as measured from the crawlspace.
  • Subtract 1/2″ for the thickness of the wall panel inside the room for a distance of 55-1/2″ from the wall to the center of the 4th ceiling suspension grid as measured inside the room (see below).

The basement is deep because my home sits on a hillside with the walk-out basement above ground at the back of the house. The drywall ceilings are therefore higher than normal at 12 feet. A tall step ladder is necessary to work in the middle of the room. A 54″ long drywall T-square greatly simplifies making true measurements away from the wall.

12 Ft High Ceilings, Step Ladder, Drywall T-Square and bauco rondo

12 Ft High Ceilings, Step Ladder, Drywall T-Square and bauco rondo

I used the HVAC vent on the wall for left/right alignment of the drywall t-square:

Drywall Access Panel Installation: Measuring with a Drywall T-Square

Drywall Access Panel Installation: Measuring with a Drywall T-Square

Then made a perpendicular reference line about 5″ long in pencil at the far end of the square:

Ceiling Drywall Access Panel Installation: Drywall T-Square Reference Line

Ceiling Drywall Access Panel Installation: Drywall T-Square Reference Line

The reference line is measured and extended to a point 55-1/2″ from the far wall. A 2″ wood screw with a smooth shank (no threads near the head) is driven into the ceiling at the marked center, taking care to leave about 1/2″ of the screw exposed:

Ceiling Drywall Access Panel Installation: Center Screw

Ceiling Drywall Access Panel Installation: Center Screw

Back to the drywall suspended ceiling crawlspace; where’s the wood screw? It appears to be very close to the center of the 4th suspension grid. Had I miscalculated, it’s easy to relocate the wood screw.

Ceiling Drywall Access Panel Installation: Screw Marking the Cente

Ceiling Drywall Access Panel Installation: Screw Marking the Center

I hooked the end of the tape measure over the wood screw and from this angle it looks to be 8 inches from the steel suspension tee. I’m satisfied the wood screw is in the center, or close enough within a small margin error.

Wood Screw: Verify the Measurement

Wood Screw: Verify the Measurement

Direct view of the wood screw alignment with respect to the condensate drain tube sewer connection. I wanted the drywall access panel be offset slightly to the left so it wasn’t directly under the sewer line for easier reach.

Ceiling Drywall Access Panel Installation: Wood Screw Center Position

Ceiling Drywall Access Panel Installation: Wood Screw Center Position

This project is continued in How to Install a bauco rondo Drywall Access Panel – Part 2.

Thanks for reading,

Bob Jackson

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