When Saving Money Hanging Panels Costs More in the Long Run

Guest Post by Pat Mullery

This is the inaugural installment of what is likely to become a regular feature so the first thing I would like to do in this first article is address why the Monarch Z clip system make sense.

25 years ago I started my millwork career and the way to attach veneer panels to walls was a beveled hanging cleat (a pinch cleat, French cleat or Indian cleat). It was cheap and readily available; we always have some plywood rips around and it costs more to throw away than it does to use, right?

That may make sense when you are putting one removable panel on a reception desk but when you are working on a wall with hundreds of panels or a hospital with dozens of nurse stations the cost savings in materials doesn’t approach the value of using the Monarch hanging systems. When you are doing anything repetitive or on a large scale the value of Monarch Clips quickly becomes apparent.

Some folks in cabinets and millwork just think that Monarch z-clips are an unnecessary and expensive luxury especially if it is hidden when the panels are installed. It just seems intuitive to stick with what is “free” and avoid the extra expense. The facts are that materials are a much smaller component of the installed price than all of the labor involved in fabrication and installation. The portion of the price that can spin out of control fastest is the labor and the most expensive labor in most companies is the installer labor. So the installation is the portion of the price that must be controlled and minimized the most.

The way that breaks down is that ANYTHING that can make the installation go faster and smoother is worth considering. Anything that seems “free” but really makes it harder or take longer to install is actually costing you more.
Don’t throw away dollars to save pennies. There are other reasons to use z-clips but that is another installment for another day.

About the Author

Pat Mullery is a Project Manager at Creative Concepts of Orlando, Inc.  Pat has been in the cabinet and architectural millwork business for over 25 years with a short detour into theme park equipment manufacturing. In previous lives, Pat has been an aircraft electrician on AV8A Harriers and a prototype builder of defense department equipment.

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