Access panels are found in almost every commercial property, and many residential ones as well, where there is a need to hide electrical wiring, pipes, and other functional aspects of the building. Because they are so commonly used, access panels are available in a range of materials with metal, plastic, and GFRG as some of the most common options.
Wood and metal have been in use for decades, but GFRG is a newer material in construction. Standing for glass fiber reinforced gypsum, GFRG is made by bonding gypsum with glass beads, resulting in a strong yet lightweight material for indoor construction and one that is the optimal choice for access panels.
What Difference Does the Material Make in an Access Panel?
An access panel is fit into the ceiling or wall during construction to hide whatever components are stored behind the drywall, but still need to be accessed for maintenance. Although necessary, these panels can detract from the interior design if they stand out from the surrounding ceiling or wall.
Functionality is also a requirement for access panels. Panels should be durable to avoid the need for frequent replacements, and also safe for construction use. Pros and cons of typical materials include:
- Metal – Available in both higher quality and cheaper metal alloys, metal access panels are ideal for areas that experience extreme heat. Many are also fire rated. Metal panels are highly visible, and while they can be sanded and painted, they will often stand out from the drywall because of the metal base. Cheaper panels can rust or warp over time.
- Plastic – Plastic is the most inexpensive access panel option, but the price comes at the cost of plastic panels being an eyesore, warping with heat and time, and not offering fire protection. Plastic can work in the short term, but will not match the surrounding drywall and will need to be replaced frequently.
These materials can provide a solution in certain situations, but do have significant drawbacks that are often not offset by any cost savings. In fact, the deterioration of these panels over time and the cost of installation can make them more expensive than a durable GFRG access panel.
Why Choose a GFRG Access Panel
GFRG has become a popular material in many interior architectural elements, from pillars to ornamentation to access panels. It is made on molds in a production facility, and then shipped to the worksite for installation.
For access panels, many contractors choose GFRG since this creates a panel that is:
- Invisible – Gypsum is the same material used in drywall, made stronger through the glass fiber reinforcement. This means that the panel can be finished in the same way as the surrounding wall. There is also no flange needed to attach the panel, so it blends in with the ceiling.
- Lightweight – GFRG is an extremely lightweight material and can be installed with limited manpower and without needing to reinforce the framing around the installation site.
- Durable – These panels resist scratches, chips, breakage, and cracks. THey can be used for years without needing to be replaced.
- Fireproof – GFRG is a Class A fire rated material that is safe to use in commercial construction.
Despite their benefits, GFRG access panels are still an affordable option. This material is both cost effective to manufacture and to install, and the longevity and superior appearance of these panels makes them a stronger investment over cheaper plastic panels.
At GC Products, we offer both custom and standard access panels made of GFRG. We are one of the leading manufacturers of GFRG products and our panels are not only some of the highest quality available, but also available at affordable, wholesale pricing.