Access panels are a must have in almost every building. They provide a convenient way to access important systems while still keeping them concealed for safety and appearance when not in use. This still leaves you with many choices in materials for your access panels.
These are some of the most common materials for access panels and the benefits and drawbacks of each option.
Material Options for Drywall Access Panels
Drywall access panels fit into cutouts in drywall to conceal HVAC equipment, electrical wiring, plumbing, or other critical systems. For most buildings, a low profile access panel is ideal so that this functional element does not detract from the interior design. Access panels may need to meet a range of other requirements depending on the building, including reliable opening, locking capabilities, fire and smoke prevention, and more.
The most commonly available access panels and the benefits of each include:
- Plastic Access Panels – Plastic is the most affordable access panel type and relatively easy to install. It is also the most visible of the materials. This is because plastic access panels have a flange on the exterior of the wall that remains visible after installation. It is also hard to achieve a matching appearance with the surrounding drywall. Plastic is not suitable for use in areas where heat can build up and could be subject to warping over time.
- Metal Access Panels – Metal is highly durable and can withstand heat, making it suitable for a variety of applications. Some metal access panels are fire rated. Because metal is heavier, there needs to be strong enough supports to hold the panel. Metal can bend if the building shift, and more expensive metal access panels are at risk of rusting and corrosion. Finishing requires primers and paints designed for metal surfaces, yet the panel will still likely remain highly visible due to the difference in texture between metal and drywall.
- GFRG Access Panels – GFRG has a similar gypsum base as drywall, but incorporates fiberglass to make it far stronger at a lightweight. This makes installation simple. GFRG is fire rated, corrosion resistant, and will not rust. Because GFRG is similar to drywall, you can finish the access panel exactly like the surrounding surface for a nearly invisible look. Like other drywall products, it needs to be handled with care during installation to avoid any chips and it is not waterproof.
GC Products produces GFRG drywall access panels in several ready-to-order sizes ranging from 9”x9” to 24”x24”. We are a top GFRG manufacturer, and our access panels are a reliable option for reliable performance, near invisible design, and a manufacturing process that relies on careful attention to detail. Choose one of our standard sized access panels or order a custom size today.