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Understanding Access Panels: The Difference Between Picture and Beaded Frames

21st December 2022

What is an Access Panel?

In essence, an access panel is a door or panel that allows easy access to utilities such as plumbing and electrical wiring that is located between the drywall, ceilings and floors of a building, though you can see a more detailed description of what they are and where they can be used on our site. Access panels provide a solution to the impracticality of having these plumbing and electrical systems, which might require maintenance, shut off from the owners or inhabitants of the building.

Why Do Frames Matter?

These panels play an essential role in the building design, and so it is important to consider their appearance and how to adapt the style of the panel’s installation to the stage of construction that the building is in when the panels are installed.

Picture Frames

Picture frames are named in accordance with the appearance they give; they sit on top of/flat against the wall and frame the panel externally, in the style of a framed photo. The picture frame is usually 25mm thick, and decreasing it’s thickness by too large a degree will lead to negative affects on the fire safety rating of the panel. When it comes to picture frames, we would recommend using a metal-faced access panel as opposed to tile or plasterboard as this is best practice for retro fitting.

Benefits of Picture Frames

As just mentioned, we recommend panels for picture frames based upon the fact that they are retro fitted, meaning fitted after the wall or ceiling has been fully constructed. This means that picture frames allow access panels to be added to buildings even after they have finished construction or that are not new at all, and still look attractive. These also have very quick installation, so do not demand an intense construction project to be added to a post-construction building.

Beaded Frames

Beaded frames are not visible once installed, they offer a seamless and hidden transition from wall/ceiling to access panel. This is because these frames are used when the access panel is being installed before the construction of the wall is compete, so the access panel and frame and installed before the wall/ceiling finish (such as plaster, tile etc.) and this material covers the frame. Again, the thickness tends to be around 25mm, but there would be no aesthetic benefit to changing this for beaded frames.

Benefits of Beaded Frames

Beaded frames allow the access panel to blend effortlessly into the wall or ceiling they are installed into, and because they are not fitted after the wall/ceiling is plastered/tiled, the beaded frame is suited to any material (metal, plasterboard or tile).

How to Choose Your Access Panel

Our Panel Builder tool helps you to find the right panel, frame, acoustic rating and more, but when deciding which frame to pick you should consider the state that the wall or ceiling will be in when the panel is installed, whether, aesthetically, a seamless or visible frame is preferred and which material panel you want to use, as all of these will affect which frame you choose.

But you don’t have to make those decisions on your own! At Rapid Access, knowledge is a cornerstone of our business and our team are dedicated to helping our customers make the best decisions for them, so don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team. Our team are experts in all things access panels, so if you have any questions or queries call us on 024 7632 8811 or email [email protected].

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