How to install a bauco rondo drywall access panel by Access Panel Solutions in a suspended drywall ceiling. This project is continued from How to Install a bauco rondo Drywall Access Panel – Part 1.

bauco rondo Drywall Access Panel Installation

Refer to the bauco rondo Installation Guide before proceeding.

Mark the Panel Rough Opening

The following steps explains how I marked the circle for the panel rough opening on the ceiling:

  • The 12″ diameter bauco rondo drywall access panel requires a 12-3/8″ rough opening in the drywall to mount the frame. Dividing by 2 for the radius of the circle results in 6-3/16″ inches.
  • An ~18″ length of construction string is tied to smooth shank of the center screw.
    The smooth shank will allow the knot to rotate around the screw without binding on the screw threads.
  • Using the screw as the center of the access panel opening, I set the square even with the screw shaft and marked the 6″ inch radius on the ceiling. Why did I make a 6″ radius mark instead of 6-3/16″? For two reasons that will become clear:
    • 3/16″ is just about the width of the kerf (saw cut) made by the drywall jab saw.
    • The string may stretch a little as I draw the circle on the ceiling.
Ceiling Drywall Access Panel Installation: Mark the Radius

Ceiling Drywall Access Panel Installation: Mark the Radius

  • The string is drawn snug along the ceiling (not too hard because the string will stretch the harder you pull).
  • The 6 inch radius mark on the ceiling is transferred to the string with a red felt tip pen.
Drywall Access Panel Installation: Mark the Circle Radius on the String

Drywall Access Panel Installation: Mark the Circle Radius on the String

  • The mechanical pencil lead point is inserted through the red radius mark on the string.
  • Then the circle is drawn while maintaining a gentle outward pull on the string.
    An alternate method is to purchase a construction drafting compass to draw the circle.
Drywall Access Panel Installation: Pencil and String Drafting Compass

Drywall Access Panel Installation: Pencil and String Drafting Compass

Saw the Drywall Ceiling Rough Opening

I drilled a 1/2″ pilot hole just inside the circle to start the drywall jab saw:

Drywall Access Panel Installation: 1/2" Pilot Hole for the Jab Saw

Drywall Access Panel Installation: 1/2″ Pilot Hole for the Jab Saw

The rough opening in the ceiling sawn with my Stanley 6-Inch FatMax Jab Saw. I sawed directly on the circle line taking advantage of the saw kerf to increase the circle diameter by ~3/16″ to the required 12-3/16″ total width.

Drywall Access Panel Installation: Saw the Rough Opening

Drywall Access Panel Installation: Saw the Rough Opening

Support the drywall with one hand as the cut is nearing completion to prevent it from breaking away and tearing the paper face.

bauco rondo Drywall Access Panel Installation: Ceiling Rough Opening

bauco rondo Drywall Access Panel Installation: Ceiling Rough Opening

Install the bauco rondo Frame Unit

Check that the bauco rondo frame easily fits into the rough open, if not see where it’s binding against the drywall and saw a little more:

bauco rondo Access Panel Installation: Mounting Frame

bauco rondo Access Panel Installation: Mounting Frame

The frame (held upside down here) fit in the ceiling rough opening with plenty of clearance:

bauco rondo Installation: Verify the Frame Fits the Rough Opening

bauco rondo Installation: Verify the Frame Fits the Rough Opening

The bauco rondo mounting frame will not fit through the rough opening from inside the room (this is why manholes are round so the cover can’t fall through the hole). If you have access above the ceiling (e.g. attic or crawlspace), then place the mounting frame in the rough opening. I couldn’t reach the rough opening from the ceiling crawlspace, so I slid the frame unit down a long stick then reached through the opening inside the room to set the frame into place.

Tip: If you don’t have access above the ceiling, cut two 1 inch notches as described in Step 4 of the bauco rondo Installation Guide to pass the mounting frame through the rough opening while inside the room.

bauco rondo Drywall Access Panel Installation: Mounting the Frame

bauco rondo Drywall Access Panel Installation: Mounting the Frame

Turn the frame such that the panel door will open in the most convenient direction; generally the panel should open away from walls and other obstructions (e.g. the ceiling fan here). If installing the panel on a wall, the panel should open at the top to swing out and downward.

bauco rondo Drywall Access Panel Installation: Orient the Frame

bauco rondo Drywall Access Panel Installation: Orient the Frame

Fasten the Frame with Self-Drilling Drywall Screws

The bauco rondo aluminum frame is fastened to the drywall with self drill fine thread drywall screws for metal. I set the screws as follows:

  • Drive two screws on either side of the hinge (right side of photo) and the two touch-latches (left side of photo) spaced not more than 4″ apart.
    • Hold the frame firmly against the ceiling, then drive the screw about 1/2″ to 5/8″ inch from the inner rim. Take care not to drive a screw through the touch latch or hinge hardware.
bauco rondo Access Panel Installation: Self Drill Drywall Screws

bauco rondo Access Panel Installation: Self Drill Drywall Screws

Set additional screws in the frame spaced ~4″ apart. For the 12″ bauco rondo, I used a total of 12 screws:

12" bauco rondo Drywall Access Panel: Mount the Frame with Screws

12″ bauco rondo Drywall Access Panel: Mount the Frame with Screws

This project is concluded in How to Install a bauco rondo Drywall Access Panel – Part 3.

Thanks for reading,

Bob Jackson

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