Insulated Metal Wall Panels vs. PVC Wall Panels: Which Is Better?

Thursday, March 30, 2023

Inside large commercial buildings, you often have to divide the area into smaller spaces with non-load bearing partitions that meet specific insulation requirements. Insulated metal wall panels are a popular and pre-configured choice for interior walls, but PVC-based wall panels like Trusscore Wall&CeilingBoard can be used to create fully customizable, cost-effective wall assemblies that perform even better than insulated metal panels. 

What are Insulated Metal Wall Panels?

Insulated metal wall panels have an insulated foam core that’s sandwiched between two coated aluminum or steel panels. Insulated metal wall panels are often installed in climate-controlled commercial or industrial spaces including manufacturing, food processing, food storage, and cannabis facilities. 

What are PVC Wall Panels?

PVC wall panels like Trusscore Wall&CeilingBoard are made from polyvinyl chloride, which has a long history of being used to create pipes, cables, window profiles, flooring, and roofing thanks to its mechanical strength, abrasion resistance, water resistance, and lightweight properties

Trusscore PVC wall and ceiling panels are built to last in a broad range of commercial, agricultural, and residential applications. For commercial applications in particular, Trusscore Wall&CeilingBoard is a popular choice for cannabis facilities or indoor grow rooms, food processing facilities, cleanrooms, and more. 

Inside cannabis production and indoor grow room facilities specifically, Trusscore Wall&CeilingBoard can be used to create wall assemblies for smaller veg, flower, and grow rooms, mother rooms, clone rooms, wet and dry cure rooms, and extraction rooms. In food manufacturing or processing facilities, Trusscore Wall&CeilingBoard can also be used to create wall assemblies anywhere you need a climate-controlled space, including refrigerator rooms, processing areas, and food storage rooms.



    Pros and Cons of PVC and Insulated Metal Wall Panels for Commercial Buildings 

    Trusscore Wall&CeilingBoard performs equal to or better than insulated metal panels when compared head-to-head across several key categories, including: 

    • Durability.
      Insulated metal panels are highly durable, but since they’re made from metal, they can still be dented. Trusscore Wall&CeilingBoard, on the other hand, is scratch, dent, damage, and impact resistant thanks to the presence of PVC and the panel’s unique inner truss design.  
    • Ease of Install.
      Like Trusscore Wall&CeilingBoard, insulated metal wall panels are lightweight and have an interlocking system that makes both products quick and easy to install. 
    • Water Resistance. 
      Insulated metal panels have water resistant properties, and the interlocking system creates a waterproof seal. However, panels can be damaged during storage and installation, creating room for water to get in causing mold growth, swelling, or corrosion. Trusscore Wall&CeilingBoard panels are 100% moisture and water resistant — they’re designed to shed water and are installed in a way that creates a watertight seal to keep water from ever seeping in behind the panels. 
    • Antimicrobial Properties.
      Insulated metal wall panels are mold, mildew, bacteria, and fungi resistant. Trusscore Wall&CeilingBoard also provides complete protection against the growth of mold, bacteria, viruses, and fungi per third party testing (ISO 846:2019). 
    • Cleanability.
      In addition to being antimicrobial, insulated metal wall panels are easy to clean and can be washed down with commercial grade cleaners. However, for areas that need more thorough cleaning, you’ll have to rely on elbow grease — it generally isn’t recommended to pressure wash insulated metal panels because even low-pressure settings can strip away the coating on the panels. Trusscore Wall&CeilingBoard offers better cleanability benefits: The PVC-based panels are waterproof and have a smooth, non-porous surface that can be repeatedly, cleaned, disinfected, sanitized, and pressure washed without ever being damaged.  
    • Regulatory Compliance
      Trusscore Wall&CeilingBoard is Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) compliant, and it meets Current Good Manufacturing Practice (cGMP) requirements. Most insulated metal panel manufacturers are also compliant or certified by each group.   
    • Sustainability.
      Prefabricated insulated metal panels present a challenge from a sustainability perspective: If you have a 15-foot-high wall and panels are only available in 16’ lengths, you’ll ultimately waste a lot of product that’s made from materials that can’t be easily recycled — if they can at all.  Trusscore Wall&CeilingBoard, on the other hand, is 100% recyclable.
    • Prefabrication.
      Insulated metal wall panels are prefabricated, which means you’re locked in to ordering panels that have predetermined dimensions and R values from the manufacturer. While this is a benefit because panels are immediately ready to install, the downside is that the available panels may not meet your unique project needs. As a result, you’ll have to work with what’s available, which could mean adjusting your design or making concessions on insulation values. With Trusscore Wall&CeilingBoard, you can build fully custom wall assemblies that meet your exact specifications and perform better than insulated metal panels for less money (we’ll explain just how much in a minute).  

    With these advantages in hand, Trusscore Wall&CeilingBoard can be used to create high-performing, cost-effective insulated wall systems or assemblies that create a higher return on investment for your commercial facility. How? Let’s dive in. 

    Trusscore Wall&CeilingBoard Wall and Ceiling Assemblies are Fully Customizable

    Before installing Trusscore Wall&CeilingBoard, you’ll have to structurally frame the room out with the framing material of your choice (e.g., wood or steel). This is an extra step in the installation process, but it provides you with complete flexibility for your facility: You can build a wall of any height and length, and you aren’t limited by the dimensions of an insulated metal panel.  

    Once the framing is in place, you can choose the level of insulation your space requires. Insulation is incredibly important in climate-controlled rooms, because it ensures you can control the temperature within a room. Since the cost of energy for heating and cooling will be one of the biggest expenses for your business on a day-to-day basis, selecting the right insulation for your space can save you a lot of money by slowing down the movement of heat or cold through the walls, floors, and ceilings. Whether it’s an R value of 14 or 20, the choice is entirely yours. 

    For the finishing touch, Trusscore Wall&CeilingBoard is ready to install once the framing and insulation are in place. Trusscore Wall&CeilingBoard panels are available in a variety of lengths — 8', 10’, 12’, 14’, 16’, and 20’ — are ½" thick, and are 16” wide to match typical framing spacing. Panels can be installed vertically or horizontally depending on your project needs, and panel lengths can be easily cut to size. The antimicrobial panels are impact, water, and chemical resistant, and will never rot, rust, corrode, or support the growth of mold and mildew. 

    Note: You can also add a vapor barrier between Trusscore Wall&CeilingBoard and your insulation if needed or if required by code. 

    Trusscore Wall&CeilingBoard Assemblies Cost Less than Insulated Metal Wall Panels

    Insulated metal wall panels cost between $7 to $14 per square foot for materials only, while labor costs will add $1 or more per square foot. 

    With Trusscore, you can create a custom assembly that performs better than its insulated metal panels counterparts for between $6 and $10 per square foot. For example, if you’re installing Trusscore Wall&CeilingBoard on a 3.5” wall assembly with R14 insulation, you’ll pay around $6 per square foot installed. On the more expensive end of the spectrum, including a 5.5” wall assembly and insulation with an R20 value, you can expect to pay $9 per square foot — a price that's well within the range of even the most affordable insulated metal panel. 

    Trusscore Wall&CeilingBoard Assemblies Integrate with Mechanical and Electrical Plumbing 

    When creating individual rooms within a larger commercial building or cannabis facility, you’ll need to run electrical wires and plumbing into each in order to keep your operations running. 

    With insulated metal panels, running mechanical and electrical plumbing through the walls is impossible. Not only does the design of the panel itself prohibit interior plumbing, but trying to do so will jeopardize the integrity of the panel and create space for water to get in, leading to mold, swelling walls, and corrosion. 

    By creating a custom assembly with Trusscore, mechanical and electrical plumbing can be integrated within the wall assembly like normal, sparing you the headache of trying to figure out how you’ll run lighting, water, and heating into any room. 

    In addition to creating wall assemblies and partition walls, Trusscore Wall&CeilingBoard can be used to outfit every other wall in your facility. For modular grow rooms and other non-load bearing walls that don’t need insulation, NorLock by Trusscore is also an option — the durable, freestanding divider planks boast all the same benefits as Trusscore Wall&CeilingBoard, plus they can be re-configured with ease and can withstand the extra weight of equipment, shelving, or other items fastened directly to them. 

    Ready to order Trusscore for your cannabis or food processing facility? 

    Talk to a Trusscore Expert

    Have questions about Trusscore? A Trusscore Product Specialist is on hand with answers — ask us about product specifications, applications, where to buy, and more. 

    Ask an Expert

    Products for Grow Rooms



    Trusscore Wall&CeilingBoard is an interlocking, interior PVC wall and ceiling panel that is lightweight, low maintenance, and outperforms alternative products like drywall and FRP.

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    NorLock by Trusscore are durable freestanding, interlocking divider planks for interior walls, non-load bearing partitions, and penning.

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