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Access Panels in Plasterboard Ceilings

Access Panels in Plasterboard Ceilings

Access panels, often referred to as roof hatches or loft hatches, serve as robust and reliable solutions for concealing essential building infrastructure. These removable doors or panels grant access to various areas within ceilings, floors, and walls, offering practicality and versatility.

What Are Access Panels Used For?

Access panels play a crucial role in providing entry points to building components that may require occasional maintenance or repair. Commonly found in residential, commercial, and office environments, these panels are strategically installed to offer easy access to shut-off valves, pipework, drains, communication wiring systems, and electrical equipment.

While makeshift solutions using standard plywood or chipboard may be employed, a more sustainable and durable approach involves the use of high-quality access panels. These panels, equipped with pre-built frames and removable flush metal or plasterboard doors, ensure secure access while standing the test of time.

Access Panel Sizes and Recommendations

Access panel sizes and dimensions are measured from the back of the frame. For optimal fit, it is recommended to add 5mm to the structural opening size. For example, a 600mm x 600mm access panel would necessitate a hole size of 605mm x 605mm.

Types of Access Panels
Fire-Rated Access Panels
  • Offers up to two hours of fire protection.
  • Provides water protection and resistance.
  • Versatile, multi-functional doors with removable metal or plasterboard options.
  • Easily installed to match existing ceiling tiles and materials.
Plasterboard Access Panels
  • Paintable for seamless integration into the surrounding surfaces.
  • Beaded steel frame with a plasterboard door.
  • Concealed lock by a threaded steel bung.
  • Ideal for hiding access to electrics or plumbing works without the need to tear down drywalls.
Metal Access Panels
  • Features a removable flush metal door for easy handling.
  • Anti-tamper and offers excellent security.
  • Lightweight, durable, and fire-resistant.
  • Specifically designed for installation in dry-lined ceilings and walls.
Plastic Access Panels
  • Cost-effective and straightforward installation for reaching wall voids.
  • Designed to be sealed directly onto a structural opening.
  • Easily removable doors for quick access.
  • Commonly used for household purposes such as ceiling access panels.
Air-Tight Access Panels
  • Primarily used in settings like hospitals.
  • Restricts air leakage, improving insulation in buildings.
Choosing the Right Access Panel
  • Consider the Purpose - Choose the type of access panel based on the specific requirements of your project.
  • Evaluate Durability - Assess the durability of the access panel material, considering factors like fire resistance and longevity.
  • Factor in Security - For areas requiring enhanced security, opt for anti-tamper features in metal access panels.
  • Assess Aesthetic Integration - Consider whether the access panel needs to be plastered, painted, or seamlessly integrated into the surroundings.
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