Aluminum Paneling


I picked up my first batch of 19 aluminum panels today. One of them had to be cut into a trapezoidal shape while I was there, so I got to see‘s 10-foot shear in action.

I had made one simple request to the shop: Don’t write on the panels. Use masking tape. But what did they do? They wrote on them with black Sharpie. So now I get to spend hours removing the labels.

I then dry-fitted the panels into position using only a piece of Frog Tape along the top. This revealed that the shop made one mistake and I made a second, so those panels will be recut next week.

The panels are individually measured to cover each rib cavity within 1/16″, and with a 1-inch overlap. Those overlaps will be drilled and screwed into the aluminum Z-channel and C-channel ribs.

I haven’t decided whether to have them powder coated or not. We kind of like the clean sheen as-is, and it doesn’t seem to reflect that much heat. It reminds me of the classic Airstream.

The ceiling panels will be pretty tricky to hang, of course. I’ll need some help for that. They need to be precisely measured and cut out for vents and lighting as well.

I measured and ordered my second batch of panels for the upper corners. Those will be bent by a separate fabricator to 90 degrees, overlapping the wall and roof panels by the same one inch.

The metal cutter didn’t seem to understand that the panels they sell have a brushed “grain” to them. And I want the grain on the upper corner trim panels to match that of the walls and ceiling. So this took several attempts to communicate. That’s just one more thing they are liable to screw up (which they did).

Overall, this modular design makes everything easier to transport, handle, mount and unmount. That way if I need to fix some wiring or plumbing, I only have to unscrew a panel or two.

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