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What are the Different Types of Expanded Metal?

Learn more about the different types of Expanded Metal. This comprehensive guide will help you choose the right Expanded Metal type for your next project.

 |  6 min read

McNICHOLS® Expanded Metal is sheet metal that has been cut and stretched to create a pattern of diamond-shaped openings. This process adds strength to the metal and allows it to withstand heavy loads. Expanded metal is supplied in a range of materials including Aluminum, Carbon Steel, Stainless Steel, and Galvanized Steel. Expanded Metal is lightweight and easy to install, therefore making it ideal for a wide range of uses. This versatile product line is commonly found in applications such as security fencing, grating, walkways, and ventilation systems, as well as in architectural and decorative applications.

There are several types of Expanded Metal available, including Flattened, Standard (Raised), Grating, Catwalk Grating, and Designer. Each Expanded Type has unique characteristics and advantages. The specific type of Expanded Metal that is best suited for a particular application will depend on factors such as the intended use, the required level of strength and durability, and the desired aesthetic appearance. We will explore these different types, as well as the advantages and applications of each.

What is Flattened Expanded Metal?

Flattened Expanded Metal is Standard Expanded Metal that has been rolled, which flattens the metal and reduces its thickness. This process gives the Expanded Metal a smooth surface and a wider, more uniform strand, as compared to Standard (Raised) Expanded Metal. A decrease in the open area percentage can sometimes be a result of the flattening. A benefit of Flattened Expanded Metal is a flatter surface which makes the product a better option for certain applications or when welding is required.

Flattened Expanded Metal
Flattened Expanded Metal offers filtration and aesthetic appeal for applications such as ceiling tiles.

Flattened Expanded Metal, in a heavier gauge, is commonly used in applications such as walkways, ramps, and platforms, where a smooth surface is needed for safety and comfort. Lighter gauge Flattened is a great solution for filtration systems, machine guards, and architectural applications where a decorative finish is desired. One advantage of Flattened Expanded Metal is that it has improved structural strength and rigidity due to the increased thickness of the strands. It is less likely to curl or bend, making it a good choice for applications where durability and stability are critical.

What is Standard (Raised) Expanded Metal?

Standard Expanded Metal, also known as Raised Expanded Metal is a versatile material that can be used in a variety of applications. Its unique raised pattern of diamond-shaped openings is created through a process of slitting and stretching the sheet metal. Unlike Flattened Expanded Metal which requires a secondary manufacturing process, once sheared to length, Standard Expanded Metal is ready to go after the slitting process. Standard Expanded Metal is available in a range of materials, including Aluminum, Carbon Steel, Galvanized Steel, and Stainless Steel. It is commonly utilized in decorative and architectural features, filtration systems, and protective barriers.

Expanded Metal Grating
Standard (Raised) Expanded Metal's high percentage of open area provides greater visibility and airflow.

One of the key benefits of Standard Expanded Metal is its high percentage of open area, which allows for airflow and visibility. The increased open area makes it an ideal choice for applications such as ventilation systems or security screenings. Additionally, the raised diamond-shaped openings create a non-slip surface that provides good traction, making it well-suited for flooring in industrial and commercial settings. Its strength and durability also make it suitable for use in heavy-duty applications where safety and stability are paramount. Overall, Standard Expanded Metal is a durable and adaptable material that can be customized to meet the specific requirements of a wide range of applications.

What is Expanded Metal Grating?

Expanded Metal Grating is specifically designed for use as a walkway or flooring material. This type of Expanded Metal is commonly used in industrial and commercial settings where slip resistance, durability, and ease of installation are important. It can be made from a variety of materials, including Carbon Steel, Stainless Steel, and Aluminum.

Standard (Raised) Expanded Metal
The durability and traction of Expanded Metal Grating makes it a safe product for providing support surrounding a pedestrian walkway.

One of the advantages of Expanded Metal Grating is its high load-bearing capacity. The larger pattern and thicker strands of the grating provide increased strength and rigidity, allowing it to support heavy loads with ease. Furthermore, Expanded Metal Grating is easy to install, as it can be cut to size and fastened in place using a variety of fabrication methods, including welding.

What is Expanded Metal Catwalk Grating?

Expanded Metal Catwalk Grating is a type of industrial flooring that is made by cutting and stretching metal sheets to create a pattern of interconnected diamond-shaped openings. It is very similar to Expanded Metal Grating however, there is one primary difference. On Catwalk Grating, the long way of the diamond openings run perpendicular to the length of the sheet. This allows for increased structural support, especially on shorter spans and walkways. Billboard walkways is one of the most commonly known and prevalent applications for this type of grating. Expanded Metal Catwalk Grating is designed to provide a slip-resistant surface, allowing workers in industrial environments to move safely and efficiently on elevated structures.

Expanded Metal Catwalk Grating
Expanded Metal Catwalk Grating is commonly seen in billboard walkways along highways.

Expanded Metal Catwalk Grating is available in various sizes and thicknesses, and can be customized to meet specific application requirements. It is typically made from materials such as Carbon Steel and can be galvanized to improve resistance to corrosion, impact, and wear. Expanded Metal Catwalk Grating is also easy to install and maintain, making it a popular choice for a wide range of industries, including construction, oil and gas, mining, and manufacturing.

What is Designer Expanded Metal?

Designer Expanded Metal features unique patterns and designs, making it ideal for use in architectural and decorative applications. This type of Expanded Metal is crafted to create unique and decorative patterns that can be tailored to meet specific aesthetic or functional requirements. Instead of the traditional diamond-shaped openings found in standard expanded metal, Decorative Expanded Metal features more unique shapes, textures, and designs. Designer Expanded Metal is commonly used in architectural applications, such as building facades, decorative screens, and interior design elements, but it can also serve functional purposes, such as shading devices, security screens, and privacy partitions. It is available in a variety of materials, including Stainless Steel, Aluminum, Brass, and Copper.

Designer Expanded Metal
Designer Expanded Metal was used as an architectural feature on the exterior of the Walker Art Center. 

Designer Expanded Metal is made using the same process as Standard Expanded Metal, which involves cutting and stretching metal sheets to create a mesh-like structure. The process is more precise and controlled to achieve the desired pattern. However, the metal sheets used in Designer Expanded Metal are typically thinner, making them more flexible and easier to manipulate. The thinness of the metal allows for more intricate designs, allowing architects and designers to create unique and intricate patterns. With its unique design options, durability, and versatility, Designer Expanded Metal is an excellent choice for a wide range of architectural and decorative applications.

In conclusion, McNICHOLS offers several different Expanded Metal types for your individual needs and application. We carry Flattened, Standard (Raised), Grating, Catwalk Grating, and Designer Expanded Metal at our 19 Metals Service Centers. Every type offers its own characteristics, applications, and advantages. This variety is just one of the reasons thousands of customers choose to incorporate McNICHOLS® Expanded Metal in their projects.

We invite you to learn more! We are ready and Inspired to Serve® you at 855.318.8791, sales@mcnichols.com, or via Live Chat on mcnichols.com

What are the Different Types of Expanded Metal?
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