Homes, apartments, and commercial properties all have a system of background components that make them run efficiently. Water, electricity, heating and cooling, telephone and internet – these systems and more rely on pipes, wires, ducts, and controls. With all these components, it is reasonable that some repairs or upgrades will be needed while the building is in use.
Access panels provide a way to reach these systems when necessary. Since the bulk of plumbing and electrical systems are kept behind walls and ceilings, an access panel mitigates the need for removing a portion of a wall every time you need access.
Where Access Panels Are Often Used
Access panels conceal wiring, pipes, ductwork, crawl spaces, attics, and more. Any area that might need to be accessed but should not be regularly on view, either due to appearance, safety, or protection, can be fitted with an access panel. The panel seals off the hole in the wall or ceiling when not in use.
Access panels exist both indoors and outdoors, and many properties will require multiple types. The various kinds of access panels include:
- Bathroom Access Panels
- Ceiling Access Panels
- Crawl Space Access Panels
- Electrical Access Panels
- Plumbing Access Panels
Planning and installing access panels is part of the design and construction process for all new properties, and is also important to consider during renovations. If demolition is required for repairs at any time, incorporating an access panel during restoration will make future work easier and less expensive.
Options for Access Panels
When you have determined what access panels your property needs and where they should go, there are a few other considerations for the panels you choose. Most access panels, regardless of where they are used, share the same characteristics. Whether or not your panel should be waterproof, such as for exterior use, and offer fire protection are the largest differences among the different types of access panels.
Material is the most important choice as it determines the base cost, longevity, and advantages of an access panel. For outdoor panels, GFRC, galvanized steel, and treated wood are able to withstand the weather. Interior panels can additionally be made of GFRG, plastic, or drywall.
At GC Products, we recommend GFRC and GRFG for both their functionality and appearance. These materials are exceedingly durable and long lasting. They are fire resistant and completely flush against the surface, able to be finished exactly as the rest of your property.
In addition to material, you will also choose the following for each access panel:
- Sizing – Access panels can be small enough to fit tools through, such as a 9” x 9” panel, or large enough to fit a person, such as a 30” x 30” panel for a crawl space or attic. The sizing depends on what method of access is needed for the components behind the panel.
- Opening Method – Options consist of hinged panels that swing outwards or laying panels that are set flush within their frame, and sometimes kept in by catches.
- Locks – For commercial buildings or outdoor panels where access is restricted to authorized individuals only, a locked and keyed panel ensures that a vandal or untrained technician can’t reach the system behind the access panel.
Our range of standard access panels manufactured from GFRG are available at wholesale prices through Ledge Products, a subsidiary of GC Products. Our access panels are suitable for both private residences, multi-unit construction, and commercial properties. We fabricate each panel at our production facility before shipping it to your job site where they are easily installed by a contractor and can be finished on site as needed.
We are able to make custom panels to almost any specifications as well. You can select sizing, shape, and additional options to meet your specifications. To order an access panel or find out more about our GFRC and GFRG products, contact us at 916-645-3870.