USA: Wall Panels: Wall Panel Manufacturers
ABOUT WALL PANELS
Wall Panels are lightweight decorative or protective panels which can be fixed directly to internal walls. One application is in bathrooms, to protect walls from damp around showers and tubs. Other applications, in any room of the house, are purely decorative. These include Beadboard Wall Panels, which give the look of painted wooden planks. Other types of decorative wall panel include wood effect and leather look wall panels. Wall Panels can also be used to provide a traditional wainscot. Acoustic Wall Panels aid hearing by reducing echoes and reverberation.
Another type is a rigid free-standing panel which can be used to make up prefabricated internal partitions, and modular buildings such as offices within high-ceilinged factory premises.
The leading manufacturers selected by Abacus Construction Index, which are described below, have comprehensive websites, with information on all aspects, including online catalogs, colors and materials, and care and maintenance.
CHOOSING THE BEST TYPE
We discuss here choosing four types of wall panel: decorative, bathroom, utility wall panels, and acoustic.
Choosing decorative panels
The most common type of decorative panel simulates wood strips, either flush, or with a V-groove between each strip. The backing is usually 1/8 inch hardboard, with a printed laminate surface giving the wood effect. These decorative panels are also available in a painted white finish. They may be used to cover the full height of a wall, or may be used as pre-finished wainscot covering the lower three feet or so of the wall. Pre-cut wainscot panels are available in 48 inch by 32 inch panels, to avoid cutting. In the latter case the panels need to be finished with a horizontal wood molding. We would recommend the wood-look finish for rooms, such as a den or 'man cave', in which you want a warm, masculine appearance. White painted panels are more suitable in living rooms where you want a light, seaside, feel. Decorative panels are also widely used, due to their cheapness and light weight, in mobile homes.
Another type of decorative panel is tileboard. This also usually has a hardboard backing, with a painted or laminated surface resembling tiles. Tileboard should be used with caution in bathrooms, as it has only limited resistance to moisture.
Choosing bathroom panels
Specially produced waterproof panels are available for lining the walls of shower enclosures, and for walls surrounding baths. They may be made of vinyl or thermally formed acrylic. They are available with a plain surface or with a tile look; the seams (formed from interlocking edges) are almost invisible and are leak-proof. They should be installed over building code approved sheetrock or solid surface wallboard materials. After cutting the panels to size you should dry fit the panels to check for accuracy before applying adhesive. We strongly advise that you used white bathroom panels, rather than colored. Tastes in colors change, and it is a major task to renew bathroom panels; better to introduce color with easily changeable items such as shower curtains and blinds.
Choosing utility panels
Utility panels are perforated panels, used for storage or display in workshops or store displays. They are made from hardboard, and are covered in a close grid of perforations. They are available either in natural brown hardboard finish, or painted white. A wide range of wire hooks and brackets are available, which can be inserted into the perforations, and can be easily moved around as required.
Choosing acoustic panels
Acoustic panels are sound absorbent panels fixed to the wall or ceiling to reduce what is known as flutter echo - sound bouncing from one wall to another. They are widely used in music rooms, home cinemas, restaurants, places of worship, conference rooms, and sports halls. As an option, the acoustic panels may have a heavy backing which also reduces the transmission of sound through the wall.
Acoustic panels are usually made of fiberglass, covered in a sound-transparent fabric. There is a wide choice of sizes of panel, ranging from 2ft by 2ft to 4ft by 6ft. Custom sizes are also available. Thickness is typically 1 inch or 2 inches. Edges may be square, bevel, miter, or radius; this choice is essentially to do with appearance, although square edges do have the disadvantage that they will show up any irregularity in the surface or fixing. A further option is chemical hardening, which reduces risk of impact damage. Thre types of special wall panel fixing are available: Z-Clip fasteners, Impaling Clip fasteners, and Velcro fasteners.
LEADING USA MANUFACTURERS
Acoustical Solutions. Acoustical Solutions Inc., of San Ramon, California, is a manufacturer of sound absorbing wall panels that mount directly to walls or ceilings. They are intended to increase speech intelligibility by reducing reverberation and echoes. Each Acoustical Panel is custom made to exact size and color. The product range includes: Fabric Wrapped Panels, SoundSuede Panels, Barrier Fabric Wrapped Panels, High Impact Panels, Tackable Panels, Woodtrends Panels, Metal Panels, and Stretch Wall Fabric Systems. Acoustical Solutions acoustic panels are widely used in broadcast and recording studios, schools, worship centres, and home theatres. In addition to panels, Acoustical Solutions supplies noise absorbent fence systems, soundproofing enclosures, noise screens and noise blankets. The company provides site evaluation for industrial and residential development.
Georgia-Pacific. Georgia-Pacific, headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, is a leading manufacturer of wood and gypsum building products, including wall panels. Georgia-Pacific employs more than 45,000 people at 300 locations in North America, South America, and Europe. Its range of panels comprises: Beadboard Panels, Chalk Board, Decorative Finish Panels, Dry Erase Board Panels, Peg Board Panels, Tileboard, Wainscot Panels, and Woodgrain Finish Panels. Georgia-Pacific also offers a range of StyleLine Coffee Bean Leather decorative panels, which have a leather look. The website contains advice on installing hardboard, tileboard, and MDF panels. In addition, Georgia-Pacific manufacturers: Engineered Lumber, Firedoor Components, Gypsum Boards & Drywall, Hardboard & Thin MDF, Industrial Plaster, Oriented Strand Board, Plywood, and Wood Fiberboard.
Innovative Accents. Innovative Accents is based in Mesa, Arizona. It specialises in the design, manufacture and installation of wall panels with sculptural three dimensional designs on their outer surface. The three dimensional panels are manufactured from 100% recycled wood fiber Medite, using a formaldehyde-free process. 8ft by 8ft panels may be created using a kit to build up four 4' by 4' panels, each of which is made up of strips. The seams may be filled before painting, to create a continuous effect. Custom panels may be produced in a wide variety of surface designs. Delivery is available throughout the USA, with deliveries made by lift gate trucks to avoid the need for forklift trucks at point of delivery. Innovative Accents panels may also be used as furniture components, for example as bed heads or as closet doors.
Swanstone. The Swan Corporation, based in St.Louis, Missouri, is a leading maker of kitchen and bathroom products, including decorative wall panels. Swanstone decorative panels have a three dimensional texture, and are suitable for use on tub and shower walls, and as inlays, backsplashes, and wainscoting. The wall panels are available in six textures, including Pebble, Geometric, and Beadboard, in more than 30 colors, including shades of cream, brown, grey and blue. Shower Panel Kits comprise side and back panels, corner molding strips, a batten strip, corner soap dishes, adhesive, caulk, and pressure sensitive tape. Swanstone is a solid surface material, whose color and texture run all the way through the panels and thus cannot wear away with use. Swanstone panels are heat resistant and can be used with steamer units. They are designed to be used for remodeling, with panels being glued up over the existing surface.
United Partition Systems. United Partition Systems is based in Ontario, California. It supplies wall panels for use in partitions and modular buildings. Its product range covers In-Plant Offices, Guardhouses, Single Story and Two Story Modular Buildings, Accordion Partitions and Building Canopies. Each project is supplied complete with AutoCAD drawings and structural engineering calculations. Shipping typically takes place within between two and four days of order being received. United Partition Systems is able to supply both custom and standard products. Its panels are frequently used to build insulated and sound-proofed working offices within high ceilinged industrial premises. The panels can be used to build offices of either one or two stories. These can be easily re-located as required by changes in plant layout.
OTHER RELATED PRODUCTS
Publisher: Abacus Construction Index is a professionally edited directory of recommended construction websites, published by Extonet Ltd. It is financed only by Google advertising; no payment is received from included websites.