Panel Types

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Traditionally the metal building industry has entrenched itself with three standard “screw down” or exposed fastener panels.  The “R”, “M” or “A” panels as they are known are the most common.  They have been industry standards for many years.

These are the profiles you see on many barns, garages or industrial buildings.

In recent years, building designers, trying to reduce building costs and construction time have brought in metal panels for schools, strip malls, convenience stores, churches and doctor’s offices.   The use of the newer panels has introduced a refreshing way of aesthetically changing the look from just another metal building.

The panels are divided into materials for the part of the structure to which they are applied. So you have roof panels, wall panels, facia panels, soffit panels, and liner panels. The PBR panel is the most common.

They are further divided into the method of fastening to the secondary framing members such as concealed fastener or exposed fastener profiles. The roof panels, wall panels, facia panels, soffit panels and liner panels can be fitted with either fastening method.  As a rule of thumb, the concealed fastener panels will be more expensive.  These are what the industry terms as Architectural panels.

Architectural panels differ from standard metal building panels in three basic ways.

1) Architectural panels most often have concealed fasteners.  Designers and architects consider the elimination of exposed fasteners as an important alternative.  The use of a hidden clip that allows thermal movement is how this is achieved.

There are wall panels that produce a flat appearance or with a wide variety of shadow lines or reveals.  These panels are generally available in a variety of widths to accommodate the designers’ preference of rib spacing.

Roof panels are available with round, beveled, square or pencil ribs.  These ribs can be an integral part of the panel or in a form of a “snap on”, “seam on” or batten rib.  Each of these systems has its own unique characteristics and installation procedures.

The industry standard “R”,”M” and “A” panels are available in approximate 36” width and any length usually up to 40’ (because of shipping limitations).  The gauges vary from 29, 26, 24, 22 and some 20 gauge.

2) The Architectural panels are limited in gauge to 24 or 22 gauge.  The colors and finishes offer and array of choices.  Custom colors can be efficiently produced for large jobs, but will not be cost effective for smaller jobs.

3) Architectural panels systems generally require a greater degree of skill, knowledge and patience to install than standard metal building panels.  Many panel systems are similar, yet they each have their own subtle differences. 

If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to ask. FMP Steel Buildings can work with you to help you in your choice of panels, gauges, colors and finishes.