What are the different types of access panel?

man with drill

An access panel is a building component used to provide easy access to mechanical and electrical systems. These units can be installed on a wall or ceiling to allow maintenance and repair of ducts, wires, pipes and other equipment within the building. Different types of panels can be installed during construction or added later in retrofit applications.

The various types of access panels can be categorized based on the material each is made of. Steel and aluminum units are the most common, particularly in commercial applications. Plastic or vinyl units can also be used and are commonly found in the home. These panels can be pre-finished by the manufacturer or painted on installation to match the surrounding decor. Some types of access panels are even available with a decorative finish and may have molded panels similar to a door.

Some access panels include special features such as shutters or locks. Simple twist locks are often used to keep the panel closed, while keyed cylinder locks are added when security is a major concern. Most types of access panel units are available in standard sizes, although custom panels are also available.

One of the most important criteria for comparing different types of access panels involves the fire rating of each panel. When installed in a fire resistant partition or ceiling, an access panel must be equipped with a label showing its fire rating. These labels certify that the panel has been tested to resist combustion for a specified period of time. The panel must have the same fire rating as the surrounding wall or ceiling.

See also  What is a concrete mixer?

Builders can choose from several different techniques when installing these panels. Some models simply fit into a hole in the drywall without the use of fasteners, while others must be framed and held in place by screws. All access panels should be slightly smaller than the wall opening to provide enough space for the panel and frame.

An access panel can be surface mounted or recessed into the wall, depending on the preference of the builder or owner. These panels can consist of single or double leaf openings and can open towards the user or inwards towards the wall. When used in an outdoor opening, installers should use a type of access panel designed to resist rain, wind and other elements. Galvanized or stainless steel units can resist rust and corrosion and should be equipped with drip caps and gaskets to keep electrical and mechanical components dry and protected.

Leave a Comment