Fiberglass Dock Grating
You’ve done it. You purchased the house on the lake that you and your wife have been dreaming about for years. The kitchen is brand new and the dinner parties you’ll throw here are going to be EPIC. What is better than an afternoon in front of the barbeque with your closest friends and family? Nothing, that’s what. Unless? The only thing missing to make your summers truly memorable would be the boat you’ve been thinking about for so long.
You’ve been looking at sales but before you make your purchase, you’re going to need to resolve the only issue in your otherwise perfect home – There’s no dock. You think, “I’m crafty, I’ll build one myself”. Where to start? Here’s where you start evaluating your options for decking material:
You think of wood immediately.
People have been building wooden docks for years, so why not? They’re aesthetically pleasing, sturdy and they smell nice when they heat up in the sun. But then you remember that time you and your childhood friend spent your summer jumping off a nearby dock into the water below and how the hot wood burnt your feet and gave you splinters. Not ideal. Wood also rots, cracks, warps, and can be affected by insects. Not to mention you’d be out there on your hands and knees re-staining your dock every other year. Ugh, no.
What else, then? Steel?
The first thing that pops into your mind are the steel slides at playgrounds and how as adults you and your friends have all agreed those should no longer be allowed. The traumatic experience of sliding down one of those on a summer day wearing shorts is funny now, but something to be avoided wherever possible. If you never encounter hot steel again in your life, it would still be too soon.
So, what now?
Where are you going to find a product that is durable, weather resistant, and won’t rust, warp, or crack? Then it comes to you – FIBERGLASS. It meets all of your criteria and best of all, you can build it and leave it for 30 years. No upkeep, no staining, no making sure it’s still safe to use year after year. It’s done. You pat yourself on the back for your genius and head to National Grating’s website to make your purchase. But wait – there are different types of fiberglass grating? Which one would be the best and safest way to meet your needs?
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There are two types of fiberglass grating: Pultruded and Molded. Pultruded grating is made from a series of parallel bars, typically having a “T” or “I” shaped profile. The closer the bearing bars are together, the stronger the grating. The bars are kept parallel with cross rods 6 inches apart that run at 90 degrees through the bearing bars. If you purchase pultruded grating with the panels closer together, this would be both aesthetically pleasing and easy on bare feet, as there wouldn’t be large cracks on which to trip or hurt oneself on. Here is a visual example of what your dock might look like if you opted to go with pultruded grating.
Molded Fiberglass Dock Grating
Molded grating, on the other hand, generally has a square mesh pattern. The squares in the mesh pattern are typically one and one-half inches on center. National Grating sells both gritted or concave non-slip surface, both of which would work well on a dock.
However, as the squares on molded grating tend to be quite large, this may not be ideal for a dock where one plans to walk barefoot. In this case, we would recommend mini-mesh dock grating. Mini-mesh grating bearing bars are spaces on ¾ centers, creating ½ x ½ square openings. Here is a comparison of standard molded grating vs mini-mesh grating:
Molded FRP Grating has a square mesh pattern made up of ¼’ wide fiberglass bars that are equally strong in both directions.
Our most popular molded grating for docks is mini-mesh grating with a ¾” mesh pattern and ½” open squares. The abundant surface area and fine-grit surface create an extremely comfortable surface to walk on in bare feet or flip-flops. Available in charcoal gray 4’ x 8’ panels 1” or 1.5” deep.
1.5 Inch Square Mesh
Our 1.5” square mesh molded grating is lighter and more cost-effective than mini-mesh. It’s just as strong as mini-mesh, but it has much larger 1-1/4” open squares which allow more light and water to pass through. It has a coarse grit that is not suitable for bare feet, but the grating can be turned upside down with the smooth side on top and it’s just as strong. The additional traction from the coarse grit and the larger open squares make the 1.5” mesh very suitable for steep ramps. Available in 3’ x 10, 4’ x 8’ and 4’ x 12’ panels 1” or 1.5” deep in charcoal grey or yellow. 4’ x 12’ x 2” panels are also available.
Molded grating can be fastened using stainless steel M-Clips that drop down inside the open squares.
Mini-mesh Clips 1.5” Square Mesh Clips
Pultruded Fiberglass Grating
Pultruded FRP Grating consists of series of parallel I-shaped or T-shaped bearing bars held together with cross-rods every 6 inches. The bearing bars are wider and stronger than molded grating so it can span longer distances. The bearing bars are installed perpendicular to the underlying supports.
Pultruded grating can be fastened using stainless steel Insert Clips that slide between the bearing bars
I-4000 Pultruded Grating
I-4000 is our strongest dock grating and can span up to 4 feet between supports. The 5/8” wide I-shaped bearing bars are spaced 3/8” apart and have a bare-foot friendly gritted surface. We stock I-4000 1” deep Pultruded FRP Grating in light gray 4’ x 12’ x 1” and 5’ x 12’ x 1” panels with the bearing bars running in the 12’ direction.
T-1800 Pultruded Grating
T-1800 offers the most surface area of any FRP profile. It is widely uses for stairs and decks in waterparks as well as trench covers around public swimming pools. We stock T-1800 1” deep Pultruded FRP Grating in light gray 4’ x 12’ x 1” and 5’ x 12’ x 1” panels with a bare-foot friendly gritted surface. The 1-5/8” wide T-shaped bearing bars are spaced 3/8” apart and run in the 12’ direction. Also available in white and yellow.
All of our FRP grating can be trimmed to size with any saw using a diamond tip blade.
All of our FRP Dock Grating is ADA compliment except for the 1.5” square mesh.
Regardless of which form of grating you use, rest assured that either product will be durable, corrosion resistant, and lightweight. At the end of the day, it boils down to personal taste and preference regarding the final look. Now that you are well-informed, you can start on the fun part and get to work – that dock isn’t going to build itself!