Building a house, an office, or an advertisement board can sometimes be challenging because of the complexity involved in the process. Not only creating a structure from A to Z needs to have a precise schedule, but it also has to be cost-effective and, most importantly, enjoyable. The enjoyable part depends on some elements. Your contractor, budget, plan, and the materials are some aspects that can make your adventure fun and delightful. Though some of these may not be in your hands, others such as choosing and installing the right material are unquestionably your choice. This section of the custom-house or office building has become more manageable since the invention of aluminum composite materials (ACM). However, before using them, you need to what ACM panels are and how ACM panel installation is applied.
What are aluminum composite materials?
Unlike other construction elements, aluminum composite material panels (ACM Panels) have turned the heads of architects, constructions, and custom house builders for the past years. A simple comparison between other construction materials and aluminum composite panels clearly reveals the advantages of ACM panels. By taking a glance at some of the high-quality aluminum composite panels’ features such as high durability, flexibility, and rigidness, you can notice the difference between these materials. Furthermore, the numerous applications of ACM panels have made these materials the number one choice for most architects and contractors.
Though ACM panels were not popular initially due to fire-safety issues, they have gained popularity since their fire problems have been solved. 3A Composite was the first company to invent aluminum composite materials and continued producing them by having a patent until 1991. After the license expired, more companies invested in aluminum composite panels, resulting in the availability of more than 200 ACM panels manufacturers today.
Aluminum composite panels have two main aluminum layers and a core that is sandwiched between the layers. Although aluminum layers have been peaceful and have not raised issues, the core has recently been the foremost obstacle. In other words, the combustible or inflammable core material determines the fire-safety concern of ACM panels. Initially, polystyrene was used as the central core element of ACM panels. However, due to their highly combustible nature, ACM manufacturers have changed polystyrene to mineral-filled or fire-retardant materials, which have gained the approval of relevant building regulations. Therefore, before installing ACM panels pay attention to the fire ratings of the materials.
ACM panel installation:
Although ACM panels have various applications in signage, industry, transportation, and more, they are mostly used as the interior decoration and exterior cladding of constructions. ACM panel installation also has different steps based on the client’s usages. Therefore, when purchasing aluminum composite material products, be in contact with your provider.
Aluminum composite panel installation steps:
- Measurement: The first step or probably the pre-step of installing a panel is to measure the size of it. The precise measurement is crucial. Even a slight mistake in this step can demolish the other actions.
- Fabrication: When the size of the panels accurately measured, your provider can fabricate the boards. By using some special cutting tools, the panels can be folded, cut, or drilled. Installing fasteners and extrusions also appears in this stage.
- Waterproofing: One of the most crucial stages of ACM panel installation is waterproofing. The weather barrier is designed to protect the structure and is installed before applying the panels on the walls. In this step, a premium primer is applied to the plywood, and then, the weather barrier is used so that you can ensure that the panels do not leak water.
- Mounting system: To make sure the panels are installed in a straight line, the mounting system is used. After the system is installed, the panels are applied in a fixed order. The order depends on some factors, such as the priority of corners and particular shaped areas.
- Installing ACM panels: In this final step, the panels are installed on the mounting system. However, it would be best to make sure that the clips and the main profile are connected to the ACM panels. Then, you can screw them to the wall. After the installation is done, there is a gap between the panels. Most ACM panel manufacturers use a matching strip to hide the gaps. Other elements such as shims for leveling the panels and clips for attaching the panels are used in the final stage.
ACM panel installation guide for indoor application:
Before getting to the installation guide, it’s always better to let your provider establish the panels. However, you can have more information on the ACM installation guide in the next few paragraphs.
If you are trying to install ACM panels in uneven or blank walls, you need to purchase the materials in a width of 2 or 3mm. However, before installing the panel, you need a hole in the wall using a 9MM splinter. Then, according to the aluminum composite panel pattern and size, you need to cut them. Use a spray gun to spray the glue on the back of the boards evenly. Then, according to the pattern, you must glue the ACM boards as well. It is in the final step that you can remove the protective film.
The steps of ACM panel installation in entirely flat cement walls are a bit different. The thickness of aluminum composite materials needs to be two or 3mm. The first step is to measure your wall dimensions and make or design the panel based on your need. After creating them, the panels must be arrayed on the wall. Use a trimming knife to clip the edges of ACP sides and be careful not to waste the aluminum. Then, by using a pull-down screw, you can squeeze the aluminum panel and the aluminum compound. Finally, it would be best if you sealed the edges and the panels accurately to ensure no water leakage occurs in rainy situations.
ACM panel indoor structure:
We mentioned the process of ACM panel installation for indoor applications; however, it is necessary to have more information regarding the panels’ structure. The interior usage of aluminum composite materials requires less durability since they are not exposed to harsh situations. Moreover, the fire issue is not as crucial as external cladding. Therefore, PE cores are mostly used for indoor applications.
Furthermore, the coating differs from outdoor applications. For the most part, PE or double PE coating is used for interior decoration. A variety of color choices are available for PE coatings, making them suitable for indoor usages. Moreover, the thickness also plays an essential role in the ACM panel structure and its installation. Aluminum composite panel suppliers have made enough panels for diverse usages with different thicknesses.
ACM panel installation guide for outdoor application:
Outdoor application of ACM panels, such as external cladding, requires different installation steps that should be applied in the most accurate way possible. Because there is wind flowing in the back of the panels, it is necessary to install weather resistance barriers on the walls. Before installing the ACM panels, you need to verify that a weather resistance barrier is installed for more protection from the wind. As mentioned earlier, fire resistance also represents a significant role in ACM panels’ external claddings, especially for skyscrapers. Therefore, always be in contact with your provider for more information about fire safety issues.
- Another primary consideration is to prepare the panels for use. Always take a look at the direction of the ACM panels since they are colored in fixed directions. In most ACM panels, an arrow is applied to the protective film to show the painting’s direction.
- For preventing scratches on the panels, try to cut, roll, and drill the material from the back. ACM consists of aluminum layers that are extremely easy to cut, fold, and drill.
- Develop a sketch for the installation since some areas such as doors, windows, and opening areas needs to be installed before other regions. Try to predict the sequence of the panels before starting to fix them.
- Install the first panel in crucial areas, such as a corner. The correct installation of the first panel helps the other ones to be accurate. The opening panel is always the most critical one.
- It is crucial to remove the protective film as each installation section is done. Pay additional consideration to the areas that are exposed to the sunlight.
- Installing Aluminum composite materials for outdoor usages is even more crucial. The panels must be sealed in the correct order; otherwise, water leakage is possible in rainy situations.
ACM Panel Outdoor Structure:
The installation method of aluminum composite panels changes in outdoor situations. Installers need to be extra cautious when maintaining ACP panels for external cladding. These panels, if not sealed correctly, can leak water. Therefore, the installation process needs to be as precise as possible. The structure of aluminum composite panels also has a role in the process.
Since it is essential to have fire-resistant material for outdoor usages and external cladding, aluminum composite panel suppliers use fire-retardant core such as mineral filled ones and honeycomb core in the panels. Then the base is covered with aluminum and some extra coating, which is distinct from the internal usages.
The extra coating applied for exterior usages is usually PDVF, Nano PDVF, or FEVE coating. PDVF coating is called polyvinylidene fluoride and can resist severe weather, maintaining the panel colors for years to come. Besides, Nano PDVF is made up of nanomaterials, which make them easy to clean if they get dirty at all. In other words, NAN PDFV is self-cleaning. Finally, there is FEVE coating that is exceptionally resistant to UV rays. These coatings are used explicitly in countries where the sun shines like a diamond! They are durable, rigid, colorful, easy to clean yet flexible.
Aluminum composite materials have been around for more than four decades, and their structure and methods of installation are growing every day. They have indeed turned heads in the industry. The high quality of ACM panels has made them the best solution for interior decoration and exterior cladding, let alone other applications, such as signage, transportation, industry, and more. Each ACM usage requires a different installation method. The indoor usage of ACM panels requires an entirely different process than the outdoor one. Still, aluminum composite panel installation is considered to be simple and straightforward for the providers.
In this article, we gave you more information regarding the general installation of ACM panels. Then we moved forward regarding the structure of aluminum composite materials. Since internal decoration and external cladding are mostly used with aluminum materials, we tried to provide you with more details on the installation process. Installing ACM panels is not an individual task and requires experts to engage. Bear in mind that the best installer is your contractor. So always be in touch with them and make sure you have listened to their tips for installing ACP panels.
Source ACM Panel Installation Guide