Need help making a decision on your project? Request a sample.

Working on a project? Request a sample.

What Are Aluminum Grates?

Found in both industrial and architectural applications, Aluminum Grates are popular choices due to their diverse features and durable construction type.

Aluminum Grates

Aluminum Grates are load-bearing building materials that are corrosion-resistant, lightweight, and durable. They are found in both industrial and architectural applications because of their diverse features and durable construction type. In today’s blog, we will be focused primarily on Aluminum Bar Grating although there are also other forms of Grating, such as Plank Grating.

There are two primary uses for aluminum grates, also referred to as aluminum bar grate; to cover an opening or carry a load. They are commonly found on elevated catwalks, factory floors, platforms, pedestrian bridges or as Stair Treads. However, they can even be used in more unique applications within design or architecture such as railing infill panels, sunshades, or even decorating the sets of popular TV or movies you watch every day due to its industrial look and feel.

How are Aluminum Grates Made?

Aluminum Grates are manufactured in a two-piece construction. There is typically a rectangular-shaped bearing bar, which is the main structural component. This piece of the grate is what carries the load of whatever is going over it. The second bar is called a cross bar, or cross rod and its main purpose is to keep the bearing bars spaced at a set distance.

Swage-Locked Bar Grating is manufactured by a swaging (or pinching) and forming process that prevents cross bars from turning or twisting once placed in the diamond-shaped openings of the product's bearing bars.

Press-Locked Bar Grating is another construction type offered in aluminum. It’s formed by placing the cross bar in openings within each perpendicular bearing bar and applying intense hydraulic pressure down on the cross bar to hold it firmly in place. The result for both is a grating product with a high strength-to-weight ratio, minimum deflection and maximum safety.

Benefits of Aluminum Grates


Grating, in general, is a commonly used building material because it allows for ventilation of air, light, sound, liquid, etc. When used for surfaces that are made to be walked on, grates keep liquids from pooling, debris from being collected, allow heat to rise, and vision from being completely blocked.

Strength and Durability

They have a high strength-to-weight ratio, which means they are lightweight but durable. They can meet almost any load-bearing or weight requirement. This can be especially useful when needing to install grates on elevated surfaces.

Long-Term Maintenance

They are typically the more cost-effective solution when compared to other metal grates, such as stainless steel. Their durability and corrosion resistance also means that you will save money by not having to replace them often. If they are no longer useful in your application, aluminum grates are also recyclable, which is good for the environment.

ADA-compliant Grates

Certain types of Aluminum Grates are ADA compliant, meaning it meets the ADA standards for accessible design. ADA is the acronym for The American Disabilities Act and there are three requirements for grating and flooring products; slip resistance, height transitions and opening sizes. For more information on ADA compliant grating and flooring products, visit

Aluminum Grating Accessories

There are a handful of accessories that are common with aluminum grates, including angle, carrier plates, grating clips and fasteners, flat bar and stair tread nosing.

  • Angle: commonly used as a frame for railing infill panels.
  • Carrier Plates: tie together a cut Bar Grating piece and Nosing to complete a Stair Tread
  • Grating Clips and Fasteners: secure grating, such as McNICHOLS® CLOSE MESH Bar Grating to various supporting structures.
  • Flat Bar: typically tack-welded to your product selection, giving the edge a clean and safe finish
  • Stair Tread Nosing: a 90 degree angled product intended to help with slip resistance and step sight-lines.


Aluminum grates are a “grate” choice for your next project, whether your needs are industrial or architectural. The two main purposes of aluminum grates are to cover an opening and to carry a load but the possibilities are endless! If you have questions about McNICHOLS® Gratings or any other Specialty Metals and Accessories, please reach out at 855.318.8791, [email protected], or via Live Chat on