​When is a Hinged Metal Access Door the Right Choice?

​When is a Hinged Metal Access Door the Right Choice?

Posted by Access Doors and Panels on 5th May 2023

​When is a Hinged Metal Access Door the Right Choice?

With many different types of access doors available in various materials, from plastic to aluminum, when is a hinged metal access door the best choice for your commercial project?

It all starts with the purpose of the door. Any access door you choose provides access and concealment of components behind the surface. Plastic panels are cost-friendly, easy to install, and light in weight. However, consider a metal-hinged access door if you require a more durable, corrosion-resistant, or fire-rated solution. Let's take a closer look.

When Heat is a Factor

Steel is much more robust and sturdier than plastic and is heat resistant, having a high melting point when exposed to flames which is especially important when it comes to fire codes. Most commercial buildings need fire-rated access doors in compliance with NFPA guidelines. Fire-rated doors constructed primarily from metal undergo rigorous testing to attain approval. NFPA 80 requires spring-assisted self-closing functionality.

The PFI series from Cendrex is recognized as a top performer in fire-rated applications in full compliance with UL and NFPA standards. With a 16-gauge cold-rolled steel door and 20-gauge galvanneal steel frame, PFI has 2" thick mineral wool insulation and can help slow the fire spread for up to 3 hours in non-combustible construction and 1 hour in combustible construction. Its door will self-close and self-lock once the installation is complete and the springs are in place. PFI can also help you progress toward LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification, which can help with tax breaks and other benefits.

When Weather is a Concern

Stainless steel and aluminum are corrosion-resistant, making them excellent choices for indoor and exterior applications requiring weather resistance. For example, the XPA exterior flush access door by JL Industries provides outstanding weather resistance, 2" fiberglass insulation for improved energy efficiency and reduced condensation, and EPDM foam and silicone rubber seals to keep water out. Along with toughness and superb durability, metal access doors have the strength to endure even in extreme weather conditions.

When Hygiene Matters Most

Where sanitation is a priority, stainless steel offers a hygienic solution in hospitals, laboratories, and commercial kitchens. It also stands up well in pool areas, public washrooms, and saunas where there is high moisture and water exposure.

Along with being easy to clean and maintain, metal access doors are more than functional – they also give your commercial building a clean and professional look. While concealing fixtures and removing pipes, wires, and cable from view, you can select a finish that complements other stainless-steel appliances or paint the surface for a seamless blend with your décor.

When in Frequent Use

 A metal access door with a continuous hinge allows for smooth operation – ensuring accessible openings and closures time after time. In contrast, a plastic access panel has a removable piece you set aside when accessing components below the surface - you then reattach the door after each use. Depending on the metal access door you choose, there are many different styles of hinges. We prefer a continuous piano hinge because it's highly durable, can support more weight, and is ideal for frequent operation since the load distribution is across the door's length.

When Size and Space Matter

Hinged metal access doors are incredibly convenient for access to pipes, plumbing, and water meters behind the walls or ceiling. Having a hinge makes reaching components in the ceiling easier, which is especially helpful in cramped spaces where the door must swing upward into the ceiling cavity, allowing self-closure through gravity. An example of this is the BFRU model manufactured by Babcock-Davis, which is an excellent choice for oversized openings.

When working with large-sized openings, having a hinged door comprised of lightweight aluminum makes installation and operation easier. Elmdor's AI Lightweight Aluminum Access Door is a great choice where the size and weight of the door are a concern.

When Security is Required

Another consideration is security. Besides a metal door being tougher to break through than a plastic access panel, you can fit a metal access door with various locks depending on your security requirements. You can opt for a screwdriver-operated latch, slam latch, or even move up to detention-grade lock preparations suitable for jails, prisons, psychiatric hospitals, and banks where maximum security is required. We recommend PFI-HS, our High Security, Fire-Rated Access Door manufactured by Cendrex, for high-security applications.

When Only the Best Will Do

Lower-quality materials may warp or sag, but you don't have to worry about that happening with metal. While the cost is higher up front, your investment will contribute to the building's lasting value ensuring durability and protection from environmental issues for years to come.

If you would like to learn more about hinged metal access doors or any of the models mentioned in this article, call our product experts at 1-800-619-2917. 

We are always happy to help - let's get started!

5th May 2023 Posted by Access Doors and Panels