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Why Use Metal Panels for Garage Walls?
Metal Panels for Garage Walls are not for everyone! Most would consider cladding their garage interior walls with metal panels as making them look cold and industrial. So why even consider using metal panels for garage walls?
Gone are the days when metal panels meant cheap corrugated metal sheets used to clad factory & warehouse walls. The quality, profile options and color range has made metal panels a great option for cladding garage exterior & interior walls.
There are 10 advantages of metal panels that you must keep in mind before you decide the paneling of your garage walls. These are:
- Aesthetic Appeal
- Structural Strength
- High Durability
- Low Maintenance
- Fire Resistance
- Rain Screen
- Pest Resistance
- Ease of Installation
What are Metal Wall Panels?
Metal Wall Panels are sheets of metal that are used as cladding or sheathing of commercial buildings, homes and even garages.
Metal wall panels are most commonly available as siding for exteriors, but metal panels suitable for building interiors are available as well.
Sheet: Metal wall panels are pre-formed or roll formed into sheets of uniform thickness and then cut into convenient sizes. They may be semi finished (need to be painted on site) or completely finished with a coating system. They can even come with insulation!
Uses: Metal wall panels are specifically designed and manufactured as exterior metal wall panels or interior metal wall panels as the functionality differs. For the same reason metal wall panels differ from metal roof panels or metal flooring panels.
Profile: Metal wall panels are of course available in simple profiles such as plain, corrugated, checkered, etc. But it is also possible to buy metal wall panels with ribbed and interlocking profiles. Such panels are much stronger, more impermeable and a lot easier to install.
Material: Usually Metal Panels used for cladding are made from Powder Coated or Galvanized Steel. However, Aluminum, and at times even Copper, can also be used.
Types of Metal Wall Panels
You have the option of choosing one of the following three types of metal panels for your garage walls:
Single Skin Metal Panels
Single Skin Metal Panels are pre-formed or roll formed in a profile and consist of just one sheet of the metal. If the metal is not inherently corrosion resistant, then the metal panel will have corrosion resistant coating.
They are economical, lightweight and easy to install. Just screw them onto the Garage Wall Studs.
Metal Composite Material (MCM) Metal Panels
Metal Composite Material (MCM) Metal Panels are made by sandwiching an engineered plastic core between two layers of steel or aluminum sheets. The bonding is done under predetermined conditions of temperature, pressure & tension.
The result is a metal composite which is lightweight (for its thickness) and offers superb aesthetics and architectural design flexibility. They are ideal as exterior metal wall panels.
Insulated Metal Panels (IMP)
Insulated Metal Panels (IMP) are similar to MCM in concept, except that they use insulating material, such as an expanded polystyrene insulating foam panel, instead of an engineered plastic or polymer.
The obvious advantage of using IMP, is the insulation. IMP is not only great for cold climates; it works well in hot and dry climates too!
10 Advantages of Metal Panels for Garage Walls
The 10 advantages of using metal panels for garage walls, in the infographics below, are worth keeping in mind when building a new garage or remodeling an existing one.
1. Aesthetic Appeal
Contrary to popular belief, metal panels can actually have great aesthetic appeal, as they can be
- Completely flat & smooth
- Shiny or matt
- Plain or textured
- In a range of eye-catching colors and designs
Metal can take on hues & sheen levels that drywall or plywood can never match. Kynar paint finishes on metal wall panels continue looking as good as new for years.
Metal Panels for Garage Walls can be the perfect backdrop for your shiny cars!
2. Structural Strength
Metal wall panels are strong. A lot stronger than drywall and even stronger than other sheathing material such as plywood, OSB or fiber cement board (FCB).
Metal wall panels can span between structural supports saving money on both secondary framing material and labor.
3. High Durability
Metal wall panels are durable. The risk of corrosion is mitigated by using aluminum, stainless steel, galvanized iron (GI) or simply by using very tough powder coating.
Metal wall panels will last over 50 years – that is surely more than other building materials used in your garage. Basically they are for life!
4. Low Maintenance
Metal Panels don’t need much maintenance. A spray with the garden hose will get them looking as good as new. Use soap water in case of oil stains or grease marks.
5. Fire Resistance
Metal wall panels will keep the fire from spreading to the house in case of a fire in the garage. They basically act as barriers and keep the adjoining areas cool.
Use of metal wall panels on top of drywall, on the wall adjacent to the house in an attached garage, would make that wall really fireproof.
6. Rain Screen
Exterior metal wall panels are designed with interlocking joints. They not only make it easier to install but also keep rain water from getting inside the garage.
You won’t have to worry too much about waterproofing your garage walls or about mold growth, rotten studs etc.
7. Pest Resistant
Unlike wood based sheathing such as plywood, OSB, MDF or shiplap, pests like termites or carpenter bees do not attack metal wall panels. The result – longer life & lower maintenance.
If you use IMP, you may not need to worry about or spend extra on additional insulation for your garage walls.
9. Easy Installation
Metal wall panels are lightweight and easy to install as they just need to be screwed on to the garage studs. Should they get damaged (dented or scratched due to an accident) they can be replaced quite easily.
Metal wall panels, considering their durability and minimal maintenance needs, are actually quite an economical sheathing or cladding option.
Disadvantages of Metal Panels for Garage Walls
High Upfront Cost
If you compare metal wall panel material costs with other sheathing options, then metal wall panels appear to be a lot more expensive than drywall, plywood, OSB, etc.
However, to do a fair comparison, you must add the cost of installation to get the total cost and then divide by the expected life.
“Total cost per square feet per year” for Metal Panels may still be lower than that for drywall or plywood sheathing on garage walls.
Dents are a continuous risk for metal garage interior walls. Actually all garage interior walls need to be painted, every now and then to cover up the scratches & dents.
Drywall comes out the worst. A wayward ladder or lawn mower will not just dent drywall, it will punch a hole in the drywall
In case of minor or blunt hits, a metal wall panel may dent at impact but will bounce back, But a major hit will dent the metal wall panel and deform it.
How to use Metal Panels for Garage Walls
My top 3 tips on using metal panels for garage interior walls for pleasing aesthetics and harmony in design are:
Exercise restraint when using panels with metallic colors and high sheen. It will be too overwhelming!
- Use the metal paneling as a wainscot. It will be pleasing to the eye and will also protect the lower part of the drywall from dings.
- Use it only on one interior wall (or even just part of the wall) as an accent. It will truly stand out and add class to your garage.
Use Visual Breaks
When using metal panels for entire garage walls, bring relief to the eye by providing visual breaks. Slatwall, wall cabinets or large paintings are easy and effective ways of breaking the visual monotony.
When using metal panels as cladding on garage exterior walls, bring a sense of balance and harmony by pairing two contrasting yet muted colors.
Thank you very much for reading the post. I do hope you found it informative and useful.