Access doors provide access to a specific piece of equipment or a confined space. They are typically small, hinged doors that offer access to compartments. Note, however, that access doors do not include roof hatches and floor hatches - a separate product category. Although many different types of access doors are available, they fall generally into three types: general-purpose, fire-rated, and drywall. Specialized products are also available. Most access panels are made of fiberglass or stainless steel. They may be recessed, flush-mounted, and equipped with louvers or vents to permit air flow. Access panels with see-through windows are also available.

General Purpose Access Doors

General-purpose access doors and drywall access doors may be flushed or recessed. Flush doors are designed for installation in drywall, masonry, plaster, tile, or any other flush surface. They have a one-piece frame that is easy to mount and designed to provide maximum clearance. Recessed access doors are also suitable for flush installation in either walls or ceilings; however, these products are designed to conceal the door panel, which is recessed by one or more inches. Both general-purpose access doors and drywall access doors carry product specifications in addition to mounting style. Typically, these parameters include access door material, hinge, latch, and finish.     

Fire-Rated Access Doors

Fire-rated access doors differ in terms of fire resistance, a value derived during a fire endurance test. Fire resistance is expressed in units of time, but may also incorporate other considerations. There are two types of fire-rated access doors: insulated and non-insulated. Insulated products are used to provide access to utilities in areas, such as stairwells, where fire ratings must be considered. Typically, several inches of insulation are sandwiched between the inside and outside door panels. Non-insulated, fire-resistant access doors are also available. Like insulated models, these products may comply with standards from Underwriters Laboratories (ULC). There are two main UL approvals for access doors. They are designated as B or ULB, and C or ULC.