What Are the Different Types of Wall Panel Systems?

Tess C. Taylor

Wall panel systems are common structural items that serve a multitude of architectural, energy, utility, and aesthetic purposes. Wall panels are used to enhance, organize, secure, and conceal various wires, connections, parts, or components of building systems. In addition, wall panels can also provide an alternative energy source for a building. From homes and offices, to large warehouse and commercial buildings, wall panel systems come in different styles, each serving a specific purpose.

Some wall panels, such as solar panels, are used as an energy source.
Some wall panels, such as solar panels, are used as an energy source.

The most common forms are those used in homes to conceal electrical or network cables and wires. These types of wall panels generally come in standard sizes for use in utility areas of homes and are made of metal, wood, or plaster to keep components securely inside behind a panel or door. Wall panels can also be used in main living or office areas to hide wires and cables from sound systems, computers, and telephone lines.

It may be difficult to distinguish between faux wood paneling and the real thing.
It may be difficult to distinguish between faux wood paneling and the real thing.

Wall panel systems are also commonly found in offices where multiple telephone and computer lines, electrical wires, and cables must run into offices, along ceilings and floors, into elevator shafts, and into central processing areas. Wall panels keep all these items concealed from view, give easy to access to maintenance crews when repairs or adjustments need to be made, and provide security from exposure to dangerous lines.

In commercial or residential establishments, wall panels secure devices in place for convenient use or for separating certain areas of a building from the rest of the establishment. Wall panels can be fashioned from cardboard, wood, fabric, plastic, glass, metal, or flexible materials such as vinyl, plexi-glass, or fiberglass. They may be industrial looking, plain, or decorated in any desired finish to complement the environment in which they are used. These wall panels may be movable or stable, may slide on tracks, or be stored for occasional use. Wall panel systems make it easy to covert one area of a building or room for a special purpose, in addition to providing privacy.

For residential buildings, commercial buildings, and warehouses, wall panel systems are most often used to secure or conceal equipment and building components to keep the environment safe and organized or to enhance the structure and performance of the building in terms of energy use. In a commercial building, a series of wall panels may be used to create specific areas where work is performed, such as a production area versus an office area. Some wall panels are even used to create an energy source, such as those that are made from green building materials or solar panels.

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