Metal Architecture Home

Doors: Rolling, Bifold and Walkthrough

Making an Entrance

There are numerous items to consider when designing a building, but when it comes to the aesthetics, few are as important as a building's entry. Whether large and complex or small and welcoming, the building's entry often creates the first statement and impression of the company that occupies it. Choosing the right material, finishes and colors is an important piece of making a good first impression.

Often, the desired look is achieved by introducing metal wall, metal canopy and metal soffit products at the building entry because they provide more options and design flexibility.


Foot Race

There are several metal materials to select from, each with their own unique advantages and disadvantages. Therefore, there are several important factors to take into account when determining which metal products best fit with the design and layout of the entryway.

For each entry, the volume of foot traffic must be considered. People walking into the building or passing it on the street may touch or bump the walls, leaving fingerprints and other marks behind. When selecting a material, consider the elements-rain, snow, wind, hail and intense sun. Will patrons be waiting for a ride at the entry? Will packages be delivered through the entry? Will snow removal equipment be used? When given a full choice of metal products to use at the entry, specifying a product that allows for design flexibility, durability, and impact- and dent-resistance is a must.


In an exposed entry where patrons will come in contact with the panels, aluminum plate panels would be your best choice. They are durable, as well as dent- and impact-resistant. Aluminum plate panels normally are fabricated from solid 0.125-inch- (3-mm-) thick aluminum material with internal panel stiffeners, with welded and ground smooth corners. They can be curved and customized to any shape or profile you desire and are available in an endless array of custom painted colors or anodized finishes. In addition to wall panels, curved, square, rectangular and custom aluminum plate column covers are used to dress up the entry columns on the building. Like wall panels, column covers are available in a multitude of configurations, colors and finishes.


Above foot traffic, many designers utilize aluminum composite material. ACM consists of two sheets of 0.02-inch (0.5-mm) aluminum permanently bonded to each side of an extruded thermoplastic compound core material. While the thin aluminum skins on the composite material make it more susceptible to dents and other impacts, the material is extraordinarily flat and highly formable with an excellent strength-to-weight ratio. This material allows for design flexibility and is available in a number of standard color options. Many designers combine several materials on the same project.

In addition to aluminum plate and ACM, stainless steel is an excellent option for entry canopies. Although stainless steel has limited design flexibility, it is durable and impact-resistant. Careful consideration must be given to sharp edges, however, and maintenance of the finish is required because stainless steel shows fingerprints.


Need Help?

With all the different options metal offers-including color, finish and material-contacting a metal expert in your area can aid you in selecting the right material for your needs.

Bob Griffiths is the new product manager at Firestone Metal Products Inc., Anoka, Minn. For more information, visit