How to Use Curved Panels in Metal Building Design
The ability to curve metal panels and use them for visual appeal has grown in importance over the years. Curb appeal and visual impact plays a large role in attracting and retaining business, creating a particular style or look within a development, and in resale value. The trend toward steeper roofs has also played a part by increasing demand for various decorative and roof and edging options. Asymmetrical curves are very much in vogue.
Creating a curved metal panel was expensive and difficult until the advent of crimp curving, brought to the United States by Curveline, Inc. This method allows for creation of simple to complex curved metal panels to fit just about any need. If you don’t want the ribbed look, the material can be reversed so the smoother side is visible.
Curved panels can be specified as:
- Walkway roofs
- Decorative column covers
- Equipment screens
- Roof transitions
- Curved framework for concrete
Typically ASTM A446 grade D carbon steel is used for curved panels but galvanized steel and aluminum are also used. The best panels for curving are those with exposed fasteners, such as through-fastened metal although some concealed fastener panels can be curved. Field curving has also become possible through roll forming.
When inspecting newly delivered curved panels, you need to check for incomplete bending, panel dimpling, proper curve, and finish. Curving metal while preserving the finish has been greatly improved since the early days. Many vendors who no longer sell curved panels also advise against curving their flat stock.
When designing with curved panels, check with several vendors and take a look at past work, especially older installations, to check for corrosion or other issues. Each vendor should also supply you with information such as the bending radius their product tolerates, warranties, and the various finishes they may offer. Care must also be taken in corrosive climates such as coastal areas where salt is common. Some curved panels may be more susceptible than their straight brethren. Finally, remember that just like metal panels, some trim profiles are easier to curve; it’s a good idea to keep this in mind when selecting a panel profile.
To find examples of curved metal paneling you need only drive to a shopping center, past newer metal churches and auditoriums, or through new development. This visual enhancement still has people exclaiming when they see the seemingly impossible made real.