[Posted October 26th, 2015 by Christy Serafini]
Metal wall panels have become quite popular in both commercial and industrial construction projects, due to their relatively low weight compared to materials such as concrete or block construction, and due to their strength, versatility and flexibility. Metal wall panels can even be found in many residential construction projects, where the utilitarian nature of the panels fits in nicely with many modern residential design trends.
There are many different types of metal wall panels available today, ranging from the simple corrugated steel panels that are common for siding and roofing applications, to high-tech composite panels that perform multiple functions in today’s complex architectural designs.
Whatever the requirements of your project, it is likely that metal wall panels can meet or surpass the design and construction specifications, and with features such as the following, they are an easy choice for many of today’s leading designs:
#1 Multiple Material Options
Metal wall panels can be manufactured from a variety of materials, depending on the specific physical and aesthetic requirements of your project. Common materials for cladding, siding, roofing, ceiling and wall panels include galvanized steel, stainless steel, copper, zinc or aluminum. These panels can be folded, curved, corrugated or perforated, depending on the design requirements. Composite panels are also available that are made from multiple materials, including some options with wood finishes, as well as insulated panels that combine metal sheathing with insulation for quick and easy protection from the elements.
#2 A Choice of Finishes
Standard metal wall panels are available with natural metal finishes, which can be protected with clear-coat, or they can be powder-coated or painted any number of colors. Composite panels are available with a variety of metal finishes, powder-coated or painted finishes, as well as wood veneers or laminates, in some cases. Some metal wall panels are also available with custom texturing or perforation, depending on the selected style.
#3 Composite Panels
Composite metal wall panels are made from multiple materials that have desirable properties when combined. Often, this can mean that they are lighter than single-material panels, while remaining just as strong, or they may have added insulating or noise-reduction qualities. Many composite panels are made from two metal sheets with a polyurethane foam core between them, or two sheets of metal separated by an air gap. Other types of composite panels are made with an aluminum core that is covered in another material, such as steel or wood, to reduce weight and provide a distinct finish. Composite panels can be manufactured in virtually any shape or size and they can be curved or used to create three-dimensional structures.
#4 Insulated Panels
A type of composite panel, insulated metal wall panels combine metal sheathing with insulation, typically polyurethane foam. Insulated panels are designed to simplify the construction process, and they are much quicker and easier than applying separate sheathing and insulation to a building. They also perform better than traditional insulation methods, by providing a better air and moisture seal, while also reducing thermal bridging. Insulated panels are available in a variety of sizes, styles and thicknesses to accommodate nearly any type of design.
#5 Multiple Panel Sizes
Metal wall panels can be manufactured in nearly any size for custom projects, and they are available in multiple standard sizes that can be used in almost any type of building. They can cover spans from a few feet to dozens of feet depending on the product line, and the panels are available in multiple widths and depths. Composite panels are available in a range of thicknesses, with or without insulation, and they come in a range of standard sizes or they can be custom manufactured for your project.
#6 Multiple Shapes
Metal wall panels are available in standard square or rectangular shapes for typical projects, and, for special projects, they can be manufactured in a variety of styles for two-dimensional geometric designs, such as triangles, hexagons, pentagons, trapezoids or nearly any other shape. Some manufacturers will also create custom metal wall panels for three-dimensional designs, including basic shapes like simple curves or ripples, and more complex shapes, like compound curves.
#7 Corrugation or Folds
In basic metal wall panels or sheathing, corrugations, folds and ridges are used to increase the panel’s rigidity and strength, and, in many cases, to add a bit of style to the design. Metal wall panels are available with multiple types of ridges, folds and corrugations, and they can be had with exposed or hidden fasteners, depending on your design needs. In some types of composite panels, special folds are even used to mimic the look of wood beams and slats. Combined with multiple finish options, the corrugations or ridges can add the perfect finishing touch to your project.
For designs with curves, arches and other complex shapes, custom metal wall panels can be manufactured to fit the shapes perfectly. Using modern techniques such as 3D modeling and computer-aided manufacturing, metal wall panels can be created in almost any shape, from simple curves, to complex three-dimensional geometric shapes. With the proper design, planning and manufacturing techniques, even the most complex designs are possible.
Many metal wall panels can be designed with custom perforations to help with your building’s air circulation, to diffuse lighting, to reduce noise or to provide a hidden area for HVAC equipment. Each panel can have custom perforations with a variable number of perforations per unit area, and the acoustic performance can be tuned to achieve the desired result.
#10 A Variety of Mounting Hardware
Metal wall panels are available with a variety of mounting hardware designed to make installation easy, quick and long-lasting. Depending on the specific panel system chosen, this could be standard grid systems, slat systems, or special channel systems that can make installation or removal of panels extremely simple. Each is designed to be lightweight, durable, and, in exterior systems, weather-resistant.
With the wide variety of options and features available in today’s regular and composite metal wall panels, you are sure to find the right combination to fit your project perfectly. Metal wall panels offer strength, beauty, reduced weight, and other features that make them an easy choice over competing materials like concrete or wood that are harder to install and require significantly more maintenance.