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5 Uses of Steel Channels

Roof made out of steel channels

What are the uses of steel channels?

  1. Beam Supports
  2. Walls
  3. Roofs
  4. Vehicle Frames
  5. Metal Buildings

Steel channels are a type of hot rolled steel product. As seen in its cross-section, it has a vertical web with a horizontal top and bottom flanges. These can be found in different sizes and web thickness. The general form of steel channels gives it strong structural strength which makes it ideal for frames and bracings. Common uses of steel channels can be found in the manufacturing of important and strong components of machinery or structures. Take a look at five of the most common applications of steel channels.

Beam Supports

Beam supports with steel channels

Some construction projects need a layer of support behind their aesthetic designs. For wood-framed buildings, steel channels are used as beam supports as they can increase the rigidity of the structure. Wood beams can also be placed inside a steel channel to provide extra strength while also allowing easier attachment of components to the wood beam itself.


One of the most common uses of steel channels, whether it be for support or bare usage, is to build walls. It is particularly popular for the construction of garages, workshops, and warehouses. It’s also quite a common thing for majority metal buildings to have walls made supported primarily of steel channels.

Steel channels are the vertical support for these structures. They are the ones that are planted in the ground. These can support a great amount of weight and are rigid enough to remain sturdy against certain forces.

They can also be used as the horizontal component of walls to provide points for attachment. In most cases, sheet metal is placed on the interior and exterior. The sheet metal and steel channels provide enough for the varying types of wall finishes applied. 

Steel channels allow for more distance between vertical poles without sacrificing the overall strength of the wall. With the sturdiness that steel channels provide, no warping or twisting will happen without any significant force applied to it.


A roof with steel channels

Steel channels can be used as rafters for light-duty roofs. They are mostly used to provide support for the roof deck. Steel channels can be smaller and lighter. Their intrinsic strength and durability allow it to support bigger loads when compared to the typical wood rafters.

Steel channels last longer, are more stable, and are intrinsically stronger. They are also resistant to most damage that wood roofing is generally vulnerable to, such as damage caused by decay and moisture.

For heavier-duty roofs, steel channels are placed perpendicularly on top of the rafters which are usually I-beams. The steel channels essentially bridge the gaps between the rafters which allows them to have more distance between each other. Again, it provides the necessary attachment points, in this case, for a steel deck.

Vehicle Frames

Steel channels that are used to construct vehicle frames are often specially made. They are formed into very specific measurements to allow certain functions to be done. Heavy-duty steel channels are used for the mainframe rails. They run from the front of the vehicle all the way to the back. It serves as a sort of main backbone where all the lighter steel channels will be affixed.

Lighter steel channels can also be used to create structural components for the engine such as radiator support. The lightweight and strong nature of steel channels make it the perfect material for vehicles. The rigidity, in particular, prevents the vehicle from becoming too flexible while still allowing a tiny bit of movement from time to time.

Metal Buildings

Steel metal building

As mentioned at the start of this article, steel channels are a major component of metal buildings. They are used with I-beams and a variety of other steel products to build commercial, industrial, and sometimes, residential buildings. The steel channel can be used as girts, studs, braces, and joists among other applications. The general rule is that the steel channels are used whenever the added strength of the I-beams are not necessary. Steel channels are either welded, bolted, or riveted in place and are usually the main supporting component that provides strength and sturdiness across the whole building.

Key Takeaway

The best part about steel channels is that they provide amazing strength and steadiness in correlation to its weight. Because of this, it can be used in a variety of applications. Many uses of steel channels make use of this property to help support structures and vehicles with the least possible addition to the weight

With the nature of steel channels, it is used with a variety of other steel products, most of the time I-beams, to really show its true potential. As one of the best steel products for support, Steel channels are versatile and strong on their own. However, they are even better when they are used in support or as supported by other steel products!

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