Quick Guide to Steel Grating Types, Uses, & Specs

October 10, 2022 | Categorized in:

steel grating walkway

Metal grating includes a wide variety of low-maintenance, durable, and versatile metal products used in all kinds of load-bearing projects across many industries. The specifics of the metal grating you need, including the metal type, production, spacing, finish, etc., is determined by the required strength, size, location, and usage of your project.

This quick guide to metal grating and steel grating types covers all the basics you need to know to get started on your next project.

Already know what you need? Check out Service Steel’s steel grating options, including steel bar grating and expanded steel grating.

What kinds of projects is metal grating used for?

Each type of metal grating has unique elements that make it ideal for particular types of applications and projects. Generally, metal grating is seen as the ideal solution for durable, low-maintenance, and safe applications:

  • Flooring – indoor and outdoor walkways, including mezzanines, catwalks, platforms, marine walkways, bridge sidewalks, industrial floors, operating rooms, and for lightweight vehicle traffic
  • Stair treads – fire escapes, industrial stairwells, stairwells exposed to extreme temperatures, and more
  • Protective coverings – water filtration systems, sumps, trenches, drains, etc.
  • Loading ramps – cargo ramps and platforms, including those built for forklift traffic
  • Fencing – fences, barriers, partitions, security screens, and snow fences
  • Additional projects – concrete reinforcement, light guards, window guards, vehicle and ornamental grills, shelving, truck beds, locomotive running boards, and more

However, this list is far from all-inclusive. If you don’t see your specific project type, we encourage you to speak with a steel expert at Service Steel to see if metal grating can still meet your needs.

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What is steel grating & metal grating?

Metal grating is valued for providing a secure and stable surface for walking and working, and can be produced and/or treated to provide a strong grip and traction. The materials used in all metal grating and the way it is constructed give metal grating a high strength-to-weight ratio, making it perfect for heavy-duty projects. When used as a protective covering or barrier, metal grating can also provide protection against large debris while also allowing ventilation and drainage.

What kind of metal is used for metal grating?

You can create metal grating using all kinds of metal, but the most common are aluminum and several types of steel, including light-duty steel, stainless steel, and heavy-duty carbon steel. Aluminum metal grating is most often used in marine and wastewater conditions. Steel is often used for more heavy-duty applications. Steel can also be galvanized, making it more durable, weather resistant, and long-lasting.

The metal grating experts at Service Steel are happy to provide guidance on which grating material is best for your project.

What are the different steel grating types?

Steel grating types are differentiated by how the metal is processed and configured. The different processes used to create metal gratings include expansion, perforation, molding, and welding.

Different steel grating types include:

  • Steel bar grating
  • Expanded metal grating
  • Compounded metal grating
  • Perforated metal grating
  • Pressed locked metal grating
  • Safety or grip strut grating
  • Wire mesh metal grating

Here, we will cover the two most common types of metal grating—steel bar grating and expanded steel grating—in greater detail.

Steel bar grating

Steel bar grating is typically made by welding together connected sets of parallel and perpendicular bars to create a grid that provides excellent traction while simultaneously allowing liquid, light, heat, air, and sound to pass through. Compared to a heavy solid sheet of steel, steel bar grating is relatively lightweight, but is still exceptionally strong and perfectly suited to load-bearing tasks. Its most common applications include industrial flooring, fire escapes, stair treads, and street drains.

Steel bar grating specifications to consider

  • Connection configuration steel bar grating can be further broken down into specific categories based on additional configuration types. These include Type W Grating (welded), Type SL Grating (swage locked), and Type DT Grating (dovetail pressure locked).
  • Bar spacing, span, and thickness when choosing your steel bar grating, you will need to consider the thickness of the bars of steel used as well as the spacing between the bars. The appropriate spacing and thickness should be determined by your project.
  • Finish the finish on your metal bar grating can help improve the durability and traction of your project, if needed. For example, you can opt for a bare or galvanized finish and serrated or smooth.

Expanded steel grating

Expanded steel grating is made by cutting slits into a grating metal sheet, then pulling the sheet so that the slits expand. This process is more economical than perforating because no metal is lost when cutting the slits (as opposed to punching holes). When the sheet is expanded, the slits create the diamond pattern that is so characteristic of expanded steel grating.

Like steel bar grating, expanded steel grating is perfect for projects in which it is beneficial for liquid, light, heat, air, and sound to be able to pass through a surface. Expanded steel grating is thinner than bar grating but sturdier than wire mesh. The result is a metal product that can be used for many types of flooring but is also useful in lighter applications such as fencing or even ornamentation.

Expanded steel grating specifications to consider

Like steel bar grating, you will need to consider several factors when selecting expanded steel grating for your project. These include sheet thickness and finish as discussed above, but also the opening length (or the diamond size).

Finding the right steel grating types for your needs

There are many factors to consider when choosing metal grating, so it’s essential that you purchase your materials from a reputable and knowledgeable supplier who can help you find the right metal grating solution for the parameters of your project. When looking for a supplier, make sure that you:

  • Speak with an expert – grating type, metal type, sheet thickness, sizes, finish… the list goes on. Your supplier should be able to answer all of your questions and provide you with guidance on what specifications are right for your needs.
  • Check that they comply with metal grating standards – names to look for include the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).
  • Ask about timing does the supplier have what you need in stock? Is it ready to ship, or will you have to wait? If so, for how long?
  • Ask for a quote – this allows you to check for competitive pricing and helps avoid any budgeting surprises.

Metal grating at Service Steel

Not sure what types of grating you should use for your latest project? Have other questions about metal grating? Service Steel is here to help you find the metal grating for safe operating conditions and a successful project.

Service Steel Warehouse stocks one of the largest metal grating inventories in the region. We offer steel bar grating from ⅛ x 1-¼ to ¼ x 1-½ ”, expanded metal grating in sizes #2 to #7, comprehensive finishing services, and so much more. With a team of industry experts, a ready-to-ship inventory, and competitive prices, Service Steel is the go-to supplier for large-scale construction and manufacturing projects across multiple industries.

Build a strong project with Service Steel. Find out more about our steel grating options, including steel bar grating and expanded steel grating, or speak with one of our industry experts and request a free quote today.