Many important building components are housed beneath the structure in a crawl space, such as plumbing and electrical wiring. While these systems are generally kept out of reach for both safety and appearance, they need to be reachable if repairs, replacement, or the installation of a new system is needed.
A crawl space access panel offers easy access to the area, but keeps out animals and vandals that might otherwise try to enter the crawl space. These panels are made of a variety of materials which are selected based on the benefits and finished look they offer.
Materials for Crawl Space Panels
Crawl space entrances are generally close to the ground and can be either indoors or outdoors. Those outdoors have special considerations. For instance, the surrounding area can be damp, requiring a material that withstands water. A tight fit contributes to the insulation of a space and limits the possibility of wildlife entering.
For a standard size crawl space entryway, there are readily available panels made out of:
- Wood - A common and affordable material for panels, wood is convenient to customize in terms of shape, size, and finishing. It becomes heavy in larger panels. In order to withstand weather conditions without rotting or to provide fire protection, wood needs to be correctly treated.
- Metal - Access panels made of metal resist corrosion and rusting when galvanized steel is used. This is lightweight unless the panel is large, and many metal access panels will stop the spread of flames. Metal tends to be the most expensive material for access panels because of its durability, and finishing options can be limited.
- Plastic - Prized for its affordability, plastic is waterproof, but often cannot stand up to heat, cold, and sunlight for extended periods, so these panels will wear quickly. Fire resistance is limited as well, making these panels not ideal for crawl spaces.
Depending on the panel, there can also be options for a hinge and locking mechanism to further limit access.
Indoor crawl space access does not require the same level of waterproofing as outdoor panels, but other concerns about durability still apply. A panel should still be durable and effective at blocking the space.
GFRG and GFRC for Crawl Space Access Panels
Another option for access panels is GFRG and GFRC. The primary difference between the two is that GFRC is waterproof. They both use glass fibers to reinforce a base of gypsum (in the case of GFRG) or concrete (for GFRC). The resulting material is lightweight, resistant to scratching or breakage, fire resistant, and easily finished to match the wall the panel is installed in.
GFRG and GFRC crawl space access panels are also affordable. They are manufactured off site from recycled materials, then installed and finished at the job site.
Ledge Products provides GFRG access panels in a range of sizes to both individuals and contractors. Our wholesale panels are ideal for residential, commercial, and industrial building projects where they can replace an existing access panel or be incorporated into a new build. Each panel is easily installed with minimal manpower.
Access panels can be ordered directly from our team. Give us a call with questions or to discuss specific needs for a custom crawl space panel.