Is Fiberglass Grating Better than Steel?
For many, steel is the grating material of choice due to its low upfront costs. But does it really offer the best value? Is there another material that is better than steel? In many aspects, fiberglass grating is superior to steel. Read on to find out more about how fiberglass compares to steel.
In terms of strength, fiberglass grating is comparable to steel. Pultruded fiberglass grating does offer improved strength, but it is not suitable for every application. Although fiberglass grating is rigid, it is a more flexible material than steel. This flexibility gives it a higher impact resistance compared to steel. While an impact might damage or dent steel, an impact of similar strength on fiberglass grating will not cause any damage.
In the workplace, safety is of the utmost importance. Fiberglass is a safer material than steel in several key aspects. First, the material is non-skid, meaning it is designed to prevent sliding or skidding. Furthermore, it can be textured to increase traction. Steel, being a metal, is much more likely to cause slipping or skidding in damp conditions.
Fiberglass grating is also safer than steel in that it does not conduct electricity. The fact that steel readily conducts electricity can be a major hazard for workers.
The flexible property of fiberglass also gives it another advantage over steel; it is softer underfoot. The rigidness of steel can cause foot and back problems for workers, especially those that must stand for long periods of time. Fiberglass is easier on the feet and can decrease worker fatigue and increase productivity.
The biggest advantage that fiberglass has over steel is its durability. This is especially true in chemical or aquatic applications. Fiberglass is far more resistant to rust and corrosion when compared to steel. This means that steel grating will have to be replaced more often than fiberglass, leading to increased costs. Even in harsher conditions, fiberglass has proven to last for decades.
As far as costs, steel is less expensive upfront. However, that is only considering the cost of material and not installation. Because of its heavy weight, the installation of steel grating is costly. A structural steel foreman, special equipment, operators and welders need to be calculated into the costs.
Fiberglass, being a lightweight material, is easier to work with. Therefore, installation requires less manpower and equipment. The installation costs of fiberglass grating can be less than half of steel. Not to mention, fiberglass is virtually maintenance free. On the other hand, steel may have to be repainted as part of regular maintenance, adding to its long-term cost. In the end, fiberglass is often the better investment.
For more information about fiberglass grating and whether it is right for your project, contact us at DEFI. We provide structural fiberglass solutions across many industries and supply both molded and pultruded fiberglass grating.