You might be familiar with access doors, primarily if you work in the construction industry. Introducing the access door to construction was one of the most valuable things ever. Not only do access doors provide convenience, safety, and security, but they also come with different features and models.
If the options seem overwhelming, here is a breakdown of the different types available in the market today to help you choose the right access panel for your needs. Learning about an access panel’s features can help determine if the benefits outweigh the cost.
Access Doors Are for Two Main Locations
There are many types of exterior access panels available in the market today. They usually have some additional features since these panels have exposure to elements. You can use these panels for:
- Roof hatches
- HVAC and Fuse Boxes
There are access panels that you can install in your interiors as well. While you can usually locate access panels inside a building, you can only find some specifically in interior settings. These panels are for:
- Attics and Ceilings
- HVAC systems
- Plumbing Systems
Different Types of Access Doors
1. General Purpose
These access doors are for interior and exterior placing. They come in different materials, and contractors usually install these doors in places that do not need high-security or fire-resistant qualities. There is a wide variety of general-purpose access doors that you can choose from. They are known for their flexibility and adaptability to the location you place them in.
Cons: General purpose doors are known for their flexibility but not their security or purpose during a fire emergency (which often leads to property damage).
Contractors install fire-rated types of access doors in specific buildings adhering to international building codes and NFPA codes. These access doors have the same primary purpose of concealing components of a building but with the added features of fire resistance. These access doors are helpful in case of fire emergencies as, depending on the fire rating, they can withstand heat for a given time allowing tenants to exit the premises before smoke and fire spread.
Cons: Aside from being more expensive, if you choose the wrong fire rating, it will defeat its purpose. The maintenance of these types of access doors is also known to be more than the maintenance of general-purpose access doors.
These access doors have a specific design and feature that makes them perfect for HVAC systems. They can come with additional features in case there is a need, like fire-rating and insulation. If you plan to install an access door for easy access to your ducts and vents, choosing an HVAC access door will help ensure that it can withstand the airflow pressure without hindering it.
Cons: When you buy an access door specifically for HVAC systems, you would not be able to use it for any other purpose. You should also routinely clean and maintain an HVAC access door.
Perhaps you are looking for an access door with high to medium security. Contractors install these access doors in high-security areas like jails and banks. These doors come with tamper-proof locks and hatches, making it difficult for unauthorized personnel to enter or exit specific areas.
Cons: It does not give convenient access to all personnel in your company unless you provide them with a key.
Choosing an Access Door
Knowing more about access doors can help you choose the right one for whatever construction you plan, which will help you save money. You should also always follow code requirements regarding an access door for specific establishments.