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Types of Drywall Access Panels

Updated: Dec 5, 2019

Most residential and commercial walls are composed of drywall that fills in a skeleton of wood or steel framing. In order to install new electrical or plumbing elements into an existing wall, you often need to cut into the drywall, but the new opening will break the wall's seal and leave your indoor spaces vulnerable to heat gain, outdoor elements, and other insulation concerns. Drywall access doors restore this seal while preserving your access to the spaces behind them, and they also maintain your walls' original appearances with paint finishes, flush frames, and other discreet features.

Of course, drywall access doors are often installed during the initial construction process. These doors are often designed to allow you to finish installing the drywall over the frames themselves, so that only the door panel is exposed. Crawl spaces and utility boxes are two of the most common applications for these drywall access doors. If you don't have to open them regularly and don't want kids or strangers to access the important elements behind them, you may even opt for a concealed safety system, which requires you to use tools to open or remove the panel.

Hinged Phantom Panels come with several different latch options with a varying level of security depending on the use of the panel. These latch options include the magnetic "touch latch", slotted lock cam, and lock and key. The lock and key option is self explanatory with the panel remaining sealed with a lock and only opening with a key. The magnetic "touch latch" has the panel held in place with a magnetic. This latch style does not work on all panels as the magnet sometimes cannot support the weight of the very large Phantom Panels. The slotted lock cam mechanism is pictured below and can be opened with a screwdriver or another hard thin surface like a coin.

Hinged panels come with lock caps that can be put in place to cover the latch systems allowing the panel to be secure without harming the aesthetics of the panel. UP Ceilings is committed to making our Phantom Panels as unobtrusive as possible and the lock caps provided with the panels are in line with that mission. Panels with and without lock caps are pictured below.

Lift and Shift Phantom Panels do not come with any latch options as opposed to hinged panels. Lift and Shift panels are held in place only with gravity as they are designed specifically for ceilings and the access doors are inset with the panels to be held in place. Phantom Panels are produced with precision made molds so the fit is always precise and symmetric panels, like our 24"x 24" Radius, Lift and Shift Panel, can be put back in any orientation and fit perfectly.

Both the Hinged and Lift and Shift Panels come in several different styles. The Hinged panels can be provided with either square or radius doors. Pictured below the panels are very similar with the only difference being the Radius panels having curved corners and the Square panels having sharp, 90 degree corners. What's more, the Square panels are not necessarily perfectly square with options having non-matching lengths and widths available. Those sizes are also offered with the Radius door.

Lift and Shift Panels are also offered with Radius and Square access doors but also have extra styles not available hinged. These are Round and Oval panels. Round ovals are perfect circles and can truly be put back into the panel in any direction. Oval panels are not ovals by the definition of the word as they have two long flat sides however the other ends are both circular. Both of these options are pictured below.

UP Ceilings can also produce custom sized Phantom Panels on request. To order panels you can check out our online store or contact us.

Click to view all access panel sizes here.


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