What is an Access Panel?

4th May 2022

Access panels are pre-fabricated doors and frames used to gain access to hidden services in walls and ceilings that need regular access or maintenance. They’re great for covering stop taps, isolation switches, air conditioning units and other internal features. Most access panels are suitable for drywall areas. Access panels generally fall into four types; metal faced, plasterboard faced, tile faced and plastic faced.


Types of access panel

Metal Faced:

Metal faced access panels consist of a metal door with a powedercoat white finish, a Picture frame is most common with the metal door as these are usually being installed into a wall/ceiling after its been plastered and will hide any imperfections in the cut, however, a beaded frame option is also available (designed to be plastered over for a discreet finish. Regardless of whether you choose the picture or beaded frame, Exitile metal faced access panels carry a multitude of special attributes ranging below


Fire Ratings – 0hr to 4hr

Acoustic Ratings – 0dB to 48dB

Smoke Tested available – Yes

Airtight Tested - Yes


Plasterboard Faced:

Plasterboard Access panels come with plasterboard infill into the door tray accompanied with a beaded frame surround, this option requires plastering once installed for a discreet sleek finish. Lock options for this panel type is varied from low security to high security options, if security isn’t an issue and it’s a discreet finish you are looking for, our touch catch lock option is what you are looking for. This option removes the need for a lock hole to the door face of the door as its mechanism is activated by a push motion! Our plasterboard panel can be requested with a 120 minutes fire resistance to match the buildings attributes.


Tile Faced:

Tile faced access panels come with a moisture board infill into the door tray ready to take ceramic tiles to the door face, which will match the surrounding area for maximum discreetness. Tile faced access panels come with a beaded frame, which is hidden upon installation. For locking purposes, a touch catch and budget lock are used. These access panels are available with a 120 minutes fire resistance, and only suitable for wall applications.


Plastic Faced:

Plastic faced access panels have a plastic door and frame surrounding and a friction lock.  the friction lock is push to close, and is usually opened with a flat head screwdriver. This type of access panel come in set sizes:

  • 152 x 102 mm
  • 228 x 152 mm
  • 203 x 203 mm
  • 305 x 305 mm
  • 457 x 457 mm


Unfortunately, these access panels are unable to be modified or made to bespoke designs.



What are access panels used for?

Access panels are used to gain access to hidden services in the wall/ceiling voids that need regular maintenance, lets be honest this isn’t the solution to gain access to your wall cavity!

Access panels are traditionally square in design, and consist of a frame and door – to keep the wires and such hidden from view.



In domestic settings, access panels can also be used to secure cables behind mounted television sets in living rooms or to cover faucets for outside taps. Plumbing access panels are typically used in these situations and are used to cover shut off valves, drains, and plumbing under baths or sinks. One of the most common types of access panels for domestic settings is 300mm x 300 mm panels as they are typically very user friendly, and can be used in many different areas, such as electrical, plumbing, wiring, to hide computer cables.


Access panels are often used in utility areas, such as basements, attics and garages; it’s common for drywall access panels to be used here, as the objects that need covering are more than likely to be in walls and drywall preserves the integrity of the structure. Both metal and plastic frames and doors are suitable for drywall access panels and can be used internally and externally. Not sure this makes sense?


For aesthetic purposes, access panels can be ordered in any colour required, and can be made in the material that best suits the needs of the project, meaning that they don’t act as an eye-sore in their given locations. However, access panels are often versatile and discreet, allowing people to cover them with desks, or hang photographs or tv screens over them.


Browse our full range of access panels here, from our fire-rated panels to industry leading FlipFix brand, at Exitile we have a variety of panels for a range of applications. For more on our services, or to discuss your unique panel requirements, get in touch on 02476 352771, or email us at [email protected].

FlipFix, the correct way to install an Access Panel

There is no longer the need to brace or support the structural opening, and no extra screws or glue required. The FLIPFIX Access Panels come a unique Fitting Device making it 5 times quicker to fit compared to a traditional panel saving you 80% on fitting costs, just cut, flip and fix!

New Patented Flush Lock
Fire rated for up to 2 hours
Easy & Fast Guided Installation