What You Need to Know
Materials used to create grating include carbon steel, galvanized steel, aluminum, and fiberglass-reinforced plastic (FRP). The decision about which material to choose will reflect several criteria, including:
- The end-use or application for the grating
- The environmental conditions of the installation area
- The amount of weight the grating must bear
- The type of traffic, if any, the grating will carry
Grating Applications or End-Uses
The versatility of grating leads to its use in a wide variety of applications such as:
- Architectural structures such as sunshades, railing panels, and water fountains
- Bridge flooring or sidewalks
- Catwalks or other walkways
- Drainage covers
- Fire escapes
- Ladder treads
- Landing mats
- Loading ramps
- Machinery safety screens or supports
- Mezzanine floors
- Outdoor platforms
- Racks and shelves
- Running boards
- Stage floors
- Strainers or wash racks
- Sump covers
- Trench or channel drains or covers
- Window guards
The possible uses for grating expand beyond this list, and every project has unique design requirements that affect material choice.
Environmental Considerations for Grating Installations
When assessing environmental factors, answers to the following questions will influence the choice of grating material:
- Will the grating be indoors or outdoors?
- If located outdoors, will the grating need to withstand cold, wind, snow, ice, water, or heat?
- For indoor locations, will the grating experience temperature extremes?
- Does the grating need to resist bacteria or other contaminants?
- Will the grating need frequent cleaning, and if so, by what type of cleaning agents?
- How often will people need to move the grating?
- Will the grating be in an environment that includes high impact?
For some grating applications, environmental sustainability or recyclability is also a decision criterion.
The Need for Weight-or-Traffic Bearing Grating
In addition to understanding the grating’s exposure to external elements, it’s essential to evaluate the type and weight of traffic that will move over the grating. Answer the following questions to help guide your decision:
- Will the grating need to carry vehicles, forklifts, aircrafts, people, or a combination of traffic types?
- If people are traveling over the grating, do they need slip-resistance?
- And is the foot-traffic in an industrial, commercial, or public setting?
- How much traffic, if any, will cross the grating?
Now that you’ve outlined the end-use, environment, load-bearing requirements, and traffic conditions for your grating projects, let’s examine why and when to consider aluminum grating.
Aluminum Grating Offers Powerful Press-Locked Construction
Manufacturers often build aluminum grating by using dovetail press-locked construction. Press-locked is a mechanical process that relies on hydraulic pressure to join the grating’s crossbars into the bearing bars’ tops. The pressure forces some of the crossbars’ metal into a dovetail slot in the main bars, effectively locking the bars together.
The result? Grating with attractive, clean, uniform lines, and an interlocking design with excellent lateral stability and axial load distribution.
Reasons to Purchase Aluminum Grating
Consider aluminum for your grating projects under the following use cases:
- You want an aesthetic appeal. When the appearance of the grating is as important as quality and durability, aluminum delivers results. The metal is smooth, light in color, reflective, and available in various gloss finishes.
- Aluminum grating is ideal for projects such as:
- ornamental louvers
- privacy screens
- pedestrian bridges
- You need a lightweight, corrosion-and-bacteria-resistant material.
- Aluminum is about one-third the weight of steel per cubic foot. The lighter density gives manufacturers the flexibility to increase the thickness (and strength) while still reducing weight.
- Aluminum grating also has a naturally occurring, self-repairing oxide layer that protects the metal inside and makes it resistant to corrosion. It doesn’t rust or need coatings or paint that could peel or scratch off.
- Unlike grating made with other metal alloys, aluminum grating is non-toxic and has properties that resist bacterial growth.
The lighter weight, anti-corrosion, and bacterial resistance make aluminum grating well-suited for:
- sewage and waste treatment plants
- chemical production plants
- food and beverage preparation facilities
- marine vessels like ships and barges
- offshore rigging vessels
- any area exposed to rain, ice, or snow
- Your project requires malleability and Even with less density, the aluminum grating has substantial yield strength, giving it load-carrying capabilities.
- The strength/weight ratio has the added benefit of being easy to manipulate into unique shapes like curves.
- The lighter density of aluminum also makes cutting and installing less complicated, and the strength/weight ratio enables projects like mezzanines to have wider spans with less material.
- And in contrast to other metal alloys, aluminum grating retains ductility at low temperatures without becoming brittle. Cold temperatures also improve aluminum grating’s corrosion resistance.
- The combination of strength, flexibility, and lower density help aluminum grating perform well for projects where heavy weight isn’t required, such as:
- gates, trench covers, or hatches
- mezzanine walkways and platforms
- moveable ladders or decking
- stairways or stair treads
- outdoor installations in frigid climates
- You’re concerned about sparking or magnetic properties. Unlike steel, an aluminum grating is non-sparking, making it reliable in facilities that:
- Contain flammable gases, dust, or liquids such as oil refineries, paper manufacturers, or ammunition factories.
- Use products such as grain, flour, cornstarch, powdered milk, or egg whites, which can create combustible dust.
The aluminum grating structure is also non-magnetic, providing additional safety in production facilities and outdoor settings.
- Your project would benefit from grating that has thermal properties. Aluminum conducts heat, meaning it will warm quickly when subjected to heat or sunlight. But aluminum also resists sudden changes in heat. Thermal conductivity is valuable when the aluminum grating is in outdoor or cold areas where users would benefit from the metal’s warming quality.
- You may need ADA-compliant grating. The press-locked aluminum grating has a low percentage of open area and is available in skid-resistant finishes.
- You prefer environmentally friendly grating material. Grating made with aluminum is recyclable. Aluminum is one of the most recycled metals on Earth, making it sustainable. As the most abundant metal, aluminum is a readily available, cost-effective grating material.
Aluminum Grating from Interstate Gratings
Interstate Gratings manufacturers aluminum grating in a variety of spacings
. Finishes include:
- chemically cleaned to remove soils or finish inhibitors, or to improve luster
- anodized to thicken the aluminum for improved corrosion and wear resistance or overall appearance, including the ability to add color dyes
If you have questions about selecting the appropriate grating material, contact our team
. In addition to exploring the aesthetics, environment, strength, and weight requirements of your project, we’ll dive deeper into desirable product characteristics such as:
- ease of maintenance
- percentage of open area
- product spacing
- bar size and shape
- the grating style to meet load-and-span needs
The Interstate Gratings team relies on a consultative approach to deliver an exceptional customer experience. We manufacture and fabricate high-caliber grating designed to fit a range of applications. Our commitment to quality includes end-to-end inspections such as:
Ready to get started on your grating project and want to explore aluminum grating solutions? Call us today at (888)499-8494.
- in-house raw material testing and traceability
- rod strength testing
- job specification conformances