If you work in the commercial construction industry, you know how essential access panels and doors are for saving time and for safety and security. Besides knowing what size you need, you also need to know which kind of access door is best for a specific purpose.
Success depends on having the right tools. Trying to use the same kind of access panel for every application can put your safety at risk and cause issues with your contract.
With so many options to consider, it can be hard to decide what style best suits a project. We have put together our top five access doors and panels - and provided some suggestions on where they work best:
Access Panel #1: FIRE-RATED
Used for commercial jobs, hotels, and condos:
Most commercial projects use fire-rated access panels, and this includes the construction of hotels and condominiums.
- Conceal electrical wiring, HVAC components, gas lines, and anything that might be flammable
- Maintain an airtight seal that will help to prevent smoke, heat, and fire from seeping out.
- Are available in outward and upward swinging with automatic or manual latch release.
Fire-rated access panels are also essential in making your building LEED-certified. Your project will be more economical and environmentally friendly, and it will likely lower energy consumption costs, making it a win for the planet and developers.
Neglecting to use fire-rated access doors where required or incorrectly installing them could mean increasing the likelihood of a fire spreading rapidly should one break out.
Access Panel #2: GENERAL PURPOSE
For interior and exterior applications:
General-purpose access doors can be used just about anywhere (provided that you don't need to comply with fire codes or where high-security access is required). The flexibility of general-purpose access panels makes them unique. Install them in ceilings and walls on the inside or the outside of your building. Also, there is a wide selection of materials. Having plenty of general-purpose access panels will save you time and money.
Access Panel #3: DRYWALL
Used indoors to limit access to:
- Crawl spaces
- Utility boxes
Working on an electrical or plumbing problem and cutting into the drywall to reach the target area can be a big hassle. Breaking the seal of the wall you just cut into creates a whole host of issues, taking unnecessary time and energy away from other tasks. Installing an access door means you won't have to deal with this anymore. The drywall doors maintain the seal and allow you to gain access to the work area. These doors easily blend into the wall, being fully paintable, allowing you to match any surface.
In addition to being used for utility boxes and crawl spaces, you can add a concealed safety system to prevent unauthorized tampering.
Access Panel #4: EXTERIOR ACCESS PANELS
Used OUTDOORS for:
- HVAC controls
- Fuse boxes
- Storage compartments
The last three access panels discussed are mainly used indoors. There are also access doors designed to provide exterior access while protecting your building components from harsh elements and moisture damage.
Won't Warp or Rust: Exterior access panels will not rust or warp due to water exposure and heat. Aluminum is often used to resist corrosion and for a door that is lightweight and easy to access.
Weather-Resistant: The gaskets and other parts of the door are also weather-resistant, meaning that they should last for a long time once installed. Neoprene gaskets provide excellent resistance to combustion, chemicals, and water. Choosing an exterior door with fiberglass insulation provides an extra protective layer.
Access Panel #5: PLASTER BEAD ACCESS PANELS
Used for plaster-based walls and ceilings:
Plaster bead access panels work best with plaster walls and ceilings. Plaster is as just as durable as drywall, and using a different type of panel might mess with the integrity of the worksite.
Choose a plaster bead panel with a recessed frame to flush against its surrounding area. You want your doors to be fire-rated and self-closing, and self-locking for added protection.
Not using these panels for plaster-based jobs is a big mistake that could lead to added time and costs.
Working construction is rugged enough without worrying about ensuring you have the right equipment for the job. Using the most suitable access panels will make the best use of your labor and money.
We Make Your Commercial Construction Projects Easier
We know you're working on a deadline, and you need your access doors fast. We have warehouses located across the country, so we ship it quickly no matter where your job site is. If you want to experience why so many of our loyal customers have left us fantastic reviews, allow us to deliver the best customer service possible. We will answer your questions and make sure your job goes smoothly and safely. Please contact us today. We are always available to help and will get your access doors shipped out fast!
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