It’s not often that you come across a product that can be used for such a wide range of applications and with such a degree of flexibility. It is fair to say that most construction materials do what they say on the tin but to apply the same rule to GRP grating you would need, to say the least, an enormous tin!
What makes it so versatile against comparable alternatives?
Firstly it can be cut quickly and easily, without the need for any hot work permits and without changing the properties of the material which means it can be adjusted on site with the minimum of fuss. All you need to cut it is an angle grinder, skill saw or even a jigsaw with the correct blade – most construction teams will have 1, of not all, of those as part of their standard tool kit.
With a density 4 times less than steel it is very lightweight in comparison making it easier to handle on site (as well as reducing shipping costs) whilst maintaining extremely high strength and impressive load capacity.
It is resistant to chemical corrosion so it can be utilised in almost any environment without failure concerns – it can used effectively in areas where alternatives such as steel, concrete or timber would not stand up to the job such as salt water and chemically exposed environments.
It is UV stable so the colour will not fade, it is non conductive so can be used safely around electricity, it is manufactured with fire-retardant additives as standard, it is impact resistant so will withstand a level of abuse and, in this day and age, one of its big pluses is that it has no scrap value so is off the radar of potential thieves.
It can withstand temperatures in a range of -150 to +150 degrees Fahrenheit without deterioration and, if deflected by load, will return to its original form one the load is removed.
As standard, the GRP grating panels come with an anti slip surface that is BS7976 approved offering “exceptional grip in wet, oily and icy conditions” making ideal for industrial areas and anywhere that requires a sure footing.
The science bit – how is it made?
GRP (Glass Reinforced Plastic) is made by laying glass strands into open moulds which is then wetted out with resin. The mould is then heated to cure the product into its final form. The most common form of resin used is Isopthalic which in itself gives the properties you have just learned about. However, using different resins can give additional benefits for extreme requirements:
Orthopthalic: increased resistance to salt water corrosion – used in our mini & micromesh products
Vinyl Ester: increased chemical resistance
Phenolic: low smoke and enhanced fire resistance
Sizes, thickness and colours
There are standard specifications that are stocked (see below) but as a rule the panels can be manufactured in any colour you can find on a RAL colour chart. Although thicknesses are fairly generic, due to the fact they are created in moulds, the actual dimensions of the panel can be to your own specification for larger requirements or cut prior to delivery for smaller orders saving installation time.
Due to its very nature it opens itself to be used with a wide range of fixings. ‘M’ clips are specifically designed to slot into the open hole and then screwed or bolted into the substrate. If a clamp is preferred (when fixing to galvanised bearers for example) then a ‘J’ Clamp can be used. These are the most common options however; dome washers and recessed square clips are also an option. Clamping 2 panels together can be achieved with a ‘G’ Clamp and you can also have the panels freestanding or on adjustable feet or Buzon’s if you require them to be raised slightly.
So, whatever your application there may be a very good argument to using GRP rather than one of the more traditional materials. Typical applications:
Industrial plant flooring – Riser flooring – Tank bunds – Walkways – Balconies – Drainage gully covers – Marina decking – Pontoon decking – Working boat decking – Working / inspection platforms – Stair treads – Ramps……. The list goes on!
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