Many buildings incorporate a crawl space as a necessary part of the architecture. This usually unfinished space can offer access to plumbing and electrical components, assist with installation, and provide ventilation of harmful gases. An access panel seals off the entrance to the crawl space while still allowing access when needed.
Crawl space access panels are made from a variety of materials, all offering different benefits. As one of the newer building materials, GFRG and GFRC can be fabricated into access panels that provide superior strength, resilience, and a nearly invisible appearance in the surrounding facade.
Why Use a Crawl Space Access Panel
Most access panels fulfill the same basic goals, but additional choices like materials or a locking mechanism can offer additional benefits. Contractors and homeowners select access panels to:
- Provide easy access to building components.
- Keep animals and pests out of a crawl space.
- Prevent unauthorized personnel from accessing.
- Give an aesthetic finishing.
- Insulate crawl space against outdoor weather.
Crawl space panels are made from a variety of materials. Wood and metals are common options, as is plastic. Each of these options has its benefits and weaknesses.
Wood can be attractive when finished to match the building siding. It is also highly customizable in terms of sizing and shape. Wood needs to be sealed and maintained to avoid moisture damage, rot, and other decay that can attract pests like termites to the building. Panels made of wood can also be heavy and difficult to move.
Metal is durable and many metal crawl space access panels are fire rated. Galvanized metal will resist rusting. Depending on the finishing of the building and location of the panel, metal can appear unattractive in the facade.
Plastic is affordable, waterproof, and rustproof. It will often wear faster, including breaking or cracking, and they typically will not match the surrounding building.
Using GFRG and GFRC in Access Panels
Glass fiber reinforced gypsum (GFRG) and glass fiber reinforced concrete (GFRC) are made by bonding glass fibers with either gypsum or concrete. In appearance and function, GFRG resembles plaster and GRFC is similar to concrete. Yet both are far lighter in weight and more durable, able to be used for years without scratching or cracking. They are also flame retardant.
The primary difference between the two materials is that GFRC is waterproof, enabling it to be used outdoors or in damp environments. GFRG is reserved for indoor access panels.
Both GFRG and GFRC crawl space access panels can be sized to fit the crawl space opening exactly. They can also be finished in the same method as the surrounding wall with paint, stucco, texturing, and more. As a result, they blend into the wall seamlessly.
Access panels can be fabricated with a lock and hinge, or as a “drop-in” style panel that is fully removed when accessing the crawl space. The light weight of GFRG and GFRC makes the panels easy to handle, as well as install, by a single person.
GFRG Access Panels from GC Products
GC Products has worked with hundreds of properties, both residential and commercial, to create custom architectural elements from GFRG and GRFC. Using this experience, we can fabricate crawl space access panels to different specifications.
Through our subsidiary company Ledge Products, we also offer standard size access panels at wholesale prices for properties requiring a ready made panel. All of our access panels are affordable and simple to install to cover any crawl space entry. If you are interested in using GFRG or GFRC for an access panel at your property, give us a call to find out more about these materials.