Roger Bisby tries out the Button-fix system.
Button-fix is an ingenious secret fixing system for panels of all descriptions. It can be used to secure bath panels, WC panels, wall panelling and even shower panels. It is also used on fitted furniture. Of course you could just get yourself a tube of panel adhesive but the difference is that Button-fix allows removal of the panels if you need to gain access for servicing or even renewing damaged panels.
A good example might be the panelling around a bar. If it gets damaged or starts to look a bit tired or dated it can simply be lifted sharply up with some glass suckers to release it and then pulled away. The one proviso is that you need a 15mm clearance margin at the top to allow the panel to clear the fixing. It is a good system but what makes it even better are the different types of housings for the buttons.
If you are prepared to have a shadow gap behind the panels you can use the surface mounted system that simply screws into the panel and the wall. If you want the panels to sit hard against the wall you can use the flush hangers but these have to be set into the host material with a router. The Button-fix router jig isn’t cheap but it is well made and allows you to use either of the jig inserts to suit the type of Button-fix you are using. I would imagine anyone doing commercial fit out would not hesitate to buy the jig but if you are just doing a one off you could make your own jig from mdf with a hole saw. The advantage of the Button-fix jig is that it is Perspex and this allows you to line it up precisely.
You might imagine that lining up the buttons and sockets also calls for some precise measuring but the locator pins make the job idiot proof. You simply prop your panel off the floor with some blocks and line it up level and plumb then give it a hard slap to make the tiny indents, just as you would with magnetic catches. I marked the approximate positions up with a pencil so I didn’t have to search too hard for the tiny dimples but they were so well defined and easy to see that I needn’t have bothered. I used the indents to make pilot holes for the button screws. The whole thing lined up like a lunar docking. No problem Huston.
My favourite fixing in the range is the flush routed in fixing because it gives a really secure panel which isn’t wholly dependent on the screws. The manufacturers say you can hang 200 kilos on four fixings. If you are anything like me you will halve that figure because a lot of panels are made from dubious grades of chipboard and screws into chipboard are not the best thing, so why take chances? The buttons themselves however are very strong. We get so used to plastic fixings being made of substandard plastic that snaps as soon as you look at it, so it is reassuring to see that the material used in this system is of the highest quality. Quality costs and I had a bit of a moment of doubt about how successful this product would be when I saw the cost of the hangers but I then realised that it was for a pack of 12 so they aren’t expensive after all .