Steel channel, available in all sizes and thicknesses, is a versatile product. For those who don’t know, a steel channel has a straight back and two perpendicular extensions on the top and bottom, with a cross-section shaped like a squared-off C.
To make the structure more rigid, some types of steel channel add short inward-facing lips, which is parallel to the back, to the end of the extensions. To further increase rigidity, other types of channels will add one more slight ridge to the back. For bolting purposes, there are also channels with holes or perforations.
Compared with other structural steel products, steel channel is lighter and slightly more flexible. However, it offers less torsional strength, thus is prone to twisting under certain conditions. It adds rigidity to flat steel stock, and in comparison with angle iron of the equivalent thickness, it is slightly stronger when used lengthwise.
Steel channel has many uses, and here will give a few common examples in structures:
Steel channels can be used to build walls for things such as garages, warehouses, workshops, and other metal buildings. In these buildings, they are used like studs n conventional wood framing. They run vertically from the bottom plates to the top plate of the wall, bearing the vertical loads of the building.
Compared with wood studs, steel channel is much more rigid, and is capable of supporting more weight than the former. However, their weight difference is negligible, although the steel channel is more difficult in installation, requiring far more than simply driving nails, but welding, bolting and riveting.
Steel channel can be used as rafters on light-duty roofs, running from the eaves of the roof to the ridge, providing support for the roof deck. Steel channel, while supporting the same amount of weight, appears to be smaller and lighter than wood rafters.
The steel channel is stronger and longer-lasting, compared with wood. Also, it won’t get rotten, or be damaged by fungal decay or moisture. On heavy-duty roofs, steel channel placed perpendicularly on the I-beams every few feet, allows it to bridge the gaps between the I-beams and provides an attachment point for the steel deck.
#3 WINDOW AND DOOR FRAMES
For windows and doors, steel channel can be used to create their secure frames, applied in both metal and wood-framed buildings. It is much more secure than frames made of wood, so it is often used to create the frames of commercial fire doors and sub-grade basement doors.
#4 WOOD BEAM SUPPORTS
When the wood-framed building needs extra strength, the steel channel is always used to increase the rigidity and strength of its wooden beams. They will be placed in a large steel channel, which provides extra strength for them. At the same time, joists and other components can still easily attached to the wood beam.
As an alternative, smaller steel channels can also be placed at the bottom of the beam to increase the strength of an existing beam in the process of a remodel. Being placed on top of the beam as a cap is another alternative, providing extra strength during the construction of a home.
Being versatile, strong, light, and relatively maintenance-free, the steel channel is getting more and more extensively used for all kinds of structures.