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The Benefits of Insulated Metal Panels Over Tilt-Up Walls

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The Benefits of Insulated Metal Panels Over Tilt-Up Walls

When it comes time to choose a building envelope material, project teams can select from a wide array of options. Tilt-up walls can offer some savings, but one system leads the industry for installation, energy, and cost efficiencies: Insulated metal panels.  

By Metl-Span | October 13, 2022
The Benefits of Insulated Metal Panels Over Tilt-Up Walls

With every project, the teams responsible for bringing the building to life face increased pressure to deliver on energy efficiency and aesthetics. As a pre-engineered, all-in-one air, water, and vapor barrier with excellent thermal properties, insulated metal panels (IMPs) are a great cladding solution for many building types. Offering an extensive profile of aesthetic options, IMPs have evolved way beyond their original boxed cold storage applications. Now, architects can deliver colorful and stylish designs that are highly energy efficient and easy to install for a range of commercial, institutional, and industrial applications.

When comparing IMPs to tilt-up concrete walls, the ready-to-go metal panels offer a number of construction advantages. With tilt-up, all of the concrete building elements must be cast horizontally, poured, and cured. The contractor must then wait for sheathing, building wrap, and insulation from multiple trades to be installed prior to interior finishing. With IMPs, the panels arrive at the jobsite ready for installation. 

In addition, tilt-up construction requires the services of multiple carefully scheduled and coordinated subcontractors. IMPs offer a simplified, cost-effective building schedule for a more streamlined process. This delivers cost and labor savings, particularly on larger projects. The Metal Construction Association’s Selection Guidelines for Insulated Metal Panels states that IMPs can be erected at a rate of up to 5,000 square feet per eight-hour shift by a four-man crew.

All-In-One Weather-Resistant System      

All components of a well-sealed building enclosure are incorporated into IMPs as a single product. Unlike tilt-up, which relies on multiple products and systems to meet increasing code requirements, IMPs offer a fully integrated, high-performing building envelope with a single source of responsibility. This translates to faster wall coverage and thermal and moisture protection that building owners can count on to endure the lifetime of the building. 

With a specialized insulated foam core sandwiched between two coated metal sheets, IMPs also deliver the highest insulating value of any cladding material on the market. To ensure this quality, the American Architectural Manufacturers Association AAMA 508-07 guidelines measure four performance characteristics: air leakage, pressure equalization behavior, water penetration, and structural performance. 

Energy codes across the country also require certain levels of thermal performance. Cladding materials must comply with code through one of two levels, prescriptive or performance. For prescriptive, IMPs must provide minimal thermal values. For performance, the building is modeled to determine energy usage against an acceptable baseline. When a performance-based path to compliance is taken, an IMP’s higher U-value offers architects more flexibility with other building components as the enclosure performance is evaluated as a whole.

The Benefits of Insulated Metal Panels Over Tilt-Up Walls

Great Aesthetics

In addition to the construction and performance benefits, IMPs allow architects to customize panels and create aesthetic facades that meet design visions. Offering a broad palette of colors, designers can select IMPs with traditional hues, like silver or pearl white; choose from a number of bold colors, including Regal Blue or Colonial Red; or even create a custom color for a customer’s brand. The panels come in vertical and horizontal applications and can be smooth, embossed, or texture-coated, further expanding the aesthetic options. 

For downtown Milwaukee’s new 25-story BMO Tower, architects from Kahler Slater specified Metl-Span CF Architectural panels in Charcoal and Satin Nickel as well as CF Light Mesa panels in Tundra for the eight-story parking block at the base of the building. The custom-colored panels delivered a sleek, modern look to match the louvers that run vertically down the side of the structure. 

Trimless ends and pre-formed corners eliminated the need for metal flashing, and the water-resistant properties protect the panels from the rainwater streaming down the large glass curtainwall. Further, for BMO Tower, the panels delivered the required insulation values for the four-season climate with no additional insulation.

Check the Boxes   

Sustainably designed and easy to install, IMPs deliver high performance levels and durability for walls and roofs. Choosing IMPs is a sound investment, producing construction efficiencies, energy savings, longevity, and more.


About Metl-Span:

Metl-Span, a Nucor company, is a pioneer of insulated metal panels (IMPs), providing state-of-the-art IMPs and building materials to the commercial and industrial industries. Metl-Span is committed to delivering high-quality, durable, and energy-efficient solutions designed for unparalleled performance to stand the test of time. Metl-Span is headquartered in Dallas, Texas, with manufacturing plants across the United States and Canada. For more information, visit https://www.metlspan.com/


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