by Tony Wills
A guide to mounting wall panels
Choosing the right hardware depends on a variety of factors.
When covering walls and ceilings with pan- els, they need to be attached securely and
without unsightly screws or bolts on
show. But there are lot more considerations beyond that simple necessity.
The first thing to consider is the
characteristics of the desired panel: its
thickness, size, material type and its
weight, its edge detailing and surface
quality, its technical function, its cost
and its orientation in situ.
Questions to ask about the sub-
strate include: Is it perfectly flat, how
strong is it, what plane is it in and does
it form a fire barrier? If it is a plaster-
board wall, can you attach panels to
the studs or must the panel hardware
attach purely to the plasterboard?
But there is still more to consider.
Let’s take a look at some examples.
Example 1: A commercial wash-
room frequently requires access to
utilities. Also, some commercial
washrooms, particularly at airports
and service stations, suffer high traf-
fic and high wear. In those circum-
stances, quick but discreet removal of
the panels is a valuable asset but so
is the strength and durability of the
Example 2: Hotel lobbies, corridors
and room interiors are often paneled.
While not every panel needs to be
removed to access utilities, the panels
can suffer from frequent damage
requiring replacement. Also, refresh-
ing the interior every few years is a
good commercial investment provided
that this can be done with minimum
downtime and disruption to guests
and staff. Having a CAD drawing of
every panel and its precise mounting
positions will allow new panels to be
CNC fabricated off site to digital pre-
cision and readily swapped out during
a refit or repair.
Example 3: Retail environments
need to be executed quickly and ac-
curately, often using expensive surface
finishes. Precise grid layout of wall
paneling often becomes an essential
ingredient of the overall aesthetic.
These acoustic wall panels in an auditorium built for the Saudi Royal Commission, Jubail, Saudi Arabia, were manufactured by TrinityTree -
Northern Veneer and Plywood Company Ltd, London, United Kingdom, and installed using Button-fix polymer hardware.