Car Wash Construction — Materials and Factors to Consider


Sep 21, 2022

For car wash construction, you’ll require a structure made of materials that can withstand the high volume of water involved in the business’s daily operations as well as mold, mildew, and corrosion.

Choosing suitable materials requires due diligence and considering several factors, without which you could easily suffer losses when you have to halt operations too often.

This article explores various materials you’ll need to construct a car wash and the factors to consider to complete the construction.

What Materials Are Needed For a Car Wash?

Depending on the type of car wash building you want to build or retrofit, the following materials are necessary:

  • PVC wall panels
  • Steel (for the steel frame/structure)
  • Concrete (for sides and/or floor)
  • Drywall

The materials you choose will depend on the type of car wash you are building. For example, a steel frame will go well with PVC panels to complete the structure.

PVC wall panels also work great with concrete in two ways. First, you can erect the panels along two steel frame walls facing each other with a few millimeters between them. To complete the setup, you pour concrete into the space between the paneled walls and seal either end of the walls.

Second, you can build a concrete wall first, then cover it with wall panels once it is dry enough not to trap any moisture between the panels and the wall surface.

While the above methods are for a new car wash construction, you can reinforce old car washes with PVC wall panels.

Both steel frame and concrete walls will work well with plastic wall panels to protect the steel from corrosion and the concrete from molding, chipping away, or paint peeling.

Canada Car Wash Design Compatible with PVC Wall Panels

wall with octafrom quickliner

The most common car wash design in Canada is an in-bay automatic or a roll-over car wash, which is used by about 50 percent of all car washes in the country.

The in-bay or roll-over car wash system is usually a building measuring 60 feet long by 18 feet wide. This type of car wash can have a steel frame or concrete walls and floors.

The steel frame car wash is completed by installing PVC wall panels against the frame on all important faces of the car wash, both peripheral and partitioning walls.

Building a concrete wall from scratch means you don’t have to plaster or paint it before installing the wall panels. PVC wall panels go on the wall and cover all its imperfections.

No other surface preparation is required if the concrete walls exist and are already plastered and painted.

Quickliner™ Wall Panels for Car Wash Construction

Octaform Quickliner PVC wall panels

Now that you know what materials you’ll need, you may be lost as to which PVC wall panels to choose.

At Structural Panels, we stock and sell Octaform Quickliner™ PVC wall panels for application in wet areas such as car washes. The plastic panels go over the wall surface or steel structure and form a barrier that shields the wall surface from damage by water and chemicals.

Why Quickliner™ Plastic Wall Panels Are Ideal for Car Wash Construction

The following attributes make our Quickliner™ PVC wall panels suitable for use in car wash siding:

  • Smooth surface with a glossy finish: This ensures the panels do not hold too much dirt on the surface, which makes them easy-to-clean wall coverings that only need wiping down with a soft cloth dipped in a mild soap mix.
  • Interlocking joints along the edges: These ensure the panel surface is watertight enough to keep away moisture and water, thus preventing mold formation or damage to the wall beneath.
  • Inertness: Since PVC is non-reactive with water and chemicals in soaps and detergents, the panels make for an excellent barrier to protect the wall beneath from corrosion, which comes in handy if the panels are attached to a metal grid system.
  • Durability: The inertness of our PVC wall panels for car washes makes them last a long time because they won’t have the wear or tear caused by corrosion.
  • Ease of installation: The panels are easy to install using our SnapTrim™ installation system, where the panels fasten to any structure with supports every 16-24 inches. Installation accessories like wall trims, interfaces for walls and ceilings, panel joints, spacers, and fasteners are available.
  • Versatility: Our PVC panels aren’t only for walls; you can also use them for the automatic car wash ceiling.
  • Class-A fire rating: Car washes face fire risks from water getting into electrical equipment or heating sources used to prevent equipment freezing. Our Octaform Quickliner™ panels can withstand small fires.
  • Panel sizes: The panels measure 18 inches wide and ⅜ inches thick. The lengths available include 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18, and 20 feet. Custom lengths are also available. The panels are large enough to cover large wall surfaces and thick enough for optimal protection of the surface beneath them.
  • Colour options: You can purchase either black or white wall panels.

Factors to Consider in Car Wash Construction

Car washes are usually a great cash cow when executed well to ensure clients receive the best services. You’ll want to consider the following factors when constructing a car wash.

Construction Costs

There are many dynamics to the cost of setting up a car wash. The price will vary from place to place.

How Much Does It Cost to Build  Car Wash?

According to Car Wash Advisory, the cost of building a car wash can range between $2,642,605 on the lower end and $6,930,998 on the higher end, with a middle ground of $4,786,802.

The cost is based on land, permits, tunneling, electronic equipment, landscaping, vacuum system, marketing, HVAC & plumbing, water treatment system, materials, and construction labour.

The overall cost will vary depending on your location, but these high numbers shouldn’t scare you. You can start a good car wash for a lot less, especially if you have the land already or only need to refurbish an existing car wash.

Of all the construction costs, you can expect the price of PVC wall panels to be easy on your pocketbook.

Proofing Against Cold Weather

You might need heat sources to prevent the freezing of car wash equipment. These sources add a fire risk to your car wash, but since our wall panels are Class-A fire-rated, you don’t have to worry too much.

Type of Car Wash

The type of car wash will determine its design. If you choose a concrete wall design to be covered with wall panels, the installation will be easier than when using a steel grid system.

Closing Thoughts

Car wash construction doesn’t have to be complicated. You can always protect your walls from water and soap damage by installing PVC wall panels as a barrier for vulnerable walls.

You must buy the wall panels from a reputable source. Be sure to call us to learn more about our wall panels for car wash construction.