What are Accordion Partitions?

Dee S.
Dee S.

Accordion partitions are commonly found in schools, colleges, universities, performing arts theaters, gymnasiums, offices, and even homes. They are used to divide large areas, making one large room transform into two or more smaller rooms. For example, a large university hall can be made into several smaller classrooms through the use of accordion partitions.

An accordion partition can separate gymnasium space, allowing more than one group to use the same space.
An accordion partition can separate gymnasium space, allowing more than one group to use the same space.

The panels of the partition fold back, as the name implies, like an accordion. They typically run along an overhead track that is made of aluminum or steel, depending on the size and weight of the partition. Once it forms a wall, it can be easily latched into another partition or into a permanent wall. It can be set in a straight line or it can be designed to curve, creating an elegant, yet efficient, space.

There are several benefits to using accordion partitions. First, they create more usable space. As mentioned above, a large room with an abundance of unused space can be made into several smaller rooms. As a result, a large number of people can use a space for a variety of reasons simultaneously. For example, with an accordion partition, a large gymnasium can be divided so that multiple basketball, volleyball, or indoor soccer games can occur at the same time.

Many people like accordion partitions because they are lightweight and easy to maneuver. Other options, such as temporary wall units, are awkward and heavy. In comparison, a single person can open and close a permanent accordion partition with ease.

Although there is no such thing as a completely soundproof accordion partition, there are options that reduce noise significantly. Some brands are geared to reduce sound transmission more than others. Consequently, it is important to thoroughly research partitions to find the one that will work best. There are ratings for sound transmission that are laboratory certified and provide the best indication of how well a specific partition will reduce the transmission of sound.

The panels that form the accordion partitions can be made of a variety of materials. They can have a wood grain surface or a textured vinyl surface. They can also be finished with vinyl fabric or they can be laminated. Depending on the use and size of the room to be partitioned, some varieties work better than others. For example, smaller rooms may work best with fabric panels. In addition, the fabric panels are usually less expensive than other options.

It is possible to purchase or rent temporary accordion partitions. They are made of panels covered with durable fabric. They maneuver on wheels, instead of an overhead track. In addition, they are usually shorter than the height of the room. This discrepancy in height means that they do little to reduce noise between the rooms; however, they are a great option for areas where partitions are rarely needed.

Dee S.
Dee S.

Dee is a freelance writer based in Colorado. She has a B.A. in English Literature, as well as a law degree. Dee is especially interested in topics relating to medicine, legal issues, and home improvement, which are her specialty when contributing to wiseGEEK.

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