There are the traditional wood plank wall panels that provide a rustic and rough-hewn look to dwellings. There are also luxurious wood panels made of polished oak and expensive wood like teak and rosewood that can provide a great look to the interiors of commercial establishments and residential mansions.

Aluminum, plastics, composites and other materials are replacing wood in modern walls. These materials eliminate the problems of wood such as accumulation of difficult-to-remove dirt, dampness, insect attacks and high maintenance costs.

Wall panels can create complete walls, as curtain walls do, or be installed to cover existing walls.

Curtain walls are non-load-bearing walls often made of transparent or translucent materials like glass or plastics. Loads are borne in these buildings by other structural elements like frames and columns, with the walls bearing only their own weight. Curtain walls can create superb effects and provide thermal and solar control.

Lighter wall panels can be installed over existing brick or other walls using nails, staples or glue. Nails are best on wooden surfaces, staples for when wooden battening is used and glue for even, dry, grease-free walls. Where walls are damp or uneven, treated-wood battening is fixed first on the walls and the wall panels are fixed to these. End profiles are used to finish the ends. Use of battening allows space for cables for power supply and communication.

Translucent plastic wall panels can allow in daylight creating a pleasing interior effect. Made with plastics, these panels can incorporate useful properties, such as filtering harmful UV rays and insulating against heat and noise. Energy savings can result as natural daylight replaces artificial lighting and heat insulation prevents heat loss in winter and heat gain in summer.

Aluminum, steel and composites can provide desired structural qualities in addition to pleasing appearance and lesser maintenance needs.

Modern materials have made it possible to produce wall panels in different colors, shapes, sizes and thickness to create desired effects or meet special requirements.

Wall panels have indeed come a long way since the days of pine wood planks.

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