Posted August 25th, 2014 by Christy Serafini
A popular product in the architectural world, metal panel systems are primarily known for commercial applications, which include libraries, campus and research buildings, fire stations, space centers, and skyscrapers. Wade Architectural Systems is one of the most prominent suppliers of metal panel systems, which are used as long-lasting and affordable building solutions.
Established in 1988 by Lisle and Bill Wade, Wade Architectural Systems is a family-owned company based in Humble, Texas. For the past two-and-a-half decades, the company has supplied commercial customers in the Houston metro area with a wide range of metal panel systems and architectural solutions. Some of Wade’s most recent projects include Galveston Fire Station No. 4, the SYSCO Food headquarters, NASA Building 20 at the Johnson Space Center, Stanaker Library, and the Agriculture & Life Sciences Complex at Texas A&M University.
The most common type of architectural metal panels are made of aluminum; this is what a majority of architectural product companies provide. However, in the case of Wade Architectural Systems, commercial clients have the additional choices of zinc, galvanized steel, copper, and a collection of metal alloys. As of 2014, Wade Architectural Systems partners with seven metal panel manufacturers: Centria, VMZINC, Dri-Design, Construction Specialties, Proclad, Wilkinson Hi-Rise, and Epic.
Part of what makes metal panel systems so popular is their energy efficiency, particularly with some variants or manufacturer offerings. Centria uses Advanced Thermo Mechanical Pulping (ATMP) technology for its Formawall Dimension Series product line, which consequently provides protection against moisture and heat, among other weather elements. A class of metal panels referred to as IMPs (Insulated Metal Panels) minimize insulation gaps with a factory foamed-in-place core. The aforementioned technologies and manner of manufacture keep away excess air or heat, thus decreasing the amount of consumed energy. For instance, Centria metal panels helped make Rush University Medical Center’s Orthopedic Ambulatory Building become the first LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold-certified healthcare facility in Chicago.
Durability and Versatility
Metal panel systems have a firm and stable construction. They are most commonly used for wall cladding, thus acting as a mechanism for controlling the infiltration of weather elements. At the same time, the panels allow enough air into the building for ventilation. Also, since metal can be bent into an unlimited variety of shapes, the panels can be used beyond just wall cladding. Some commercial clients might want to use metal panels for their roofs or parking garages. Zinc, in particular, is a popular metal because it does not rust and it enhances the structure’s aesthetic value. Used in Europe for centuries, zinc has a self-repairing layer, thus keeping applications as fresh as they were when installed.
With metal panel systems—especially zinc or zinc-based metal alloys—commercial clients need little to no maintenance. Unpainted applications in particular never need to be treated, and painted ones might need power washing every once in a while. Some metal panel solutions, such as zinc and copper, do not even need to be painted to look great. Because of the minimal maintenance that metal panels present, business do not need to spend as much on cleaning services as they would normally do if using other types of material.