How To Clean And Maintain Aluminum Diamond Plate Shine

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Whether you work in construction, fabrication, or have a trailer, you are probably familiar with aluminum diamond plate. Other popular names for aluminum diamond plate are tread plate, checker plate, or floor plate. The pattern itself has raised diamonds on one side and a flat back (no texture on the backside). You can find this in all kinds of materials such as steel and stainless steel; however, aluminum is the most popular, and has the least amount of hassle. We show you how to clean aluminum diamond plate below.

The uses for aluminum diamond plate are endless. You will see it on stairs, food trucks, walls, and floors. This is great for commercial, industrial, and everyday settings. The raised pattern provides great traction so you don’t slip. Another benefit is that aluminum diamond plate makes a great decoration. Many gyms and trailers use aluminum diamond plate as wainscoting, while you will also see the material on the exterior of construction tool boxes. Ambulances, delivery trucks, firefighter trucks, and food trucks always have aluminum diamond plate on them.

How Do I Take Care Of Aluminum Diamond Plate To Keep Its Shine?

Like any other type of high-use metal, it’s important to know how to clean aluminum diamond plate to help keep it shining and working great. Because it is used for high traffic applications, chances are that it will get pretty dirty frequently. Here is a basic guide on how to clean and maintain aluminum diamond plate for shine and durability.

Step 1: Cleaners

We always recommend to NOT use harsh detergents or floor soap to clean aluminum diamond plate. If you want to use a cleaner of some sort, test it on a small patch or corner to make sure it doesn’t harm the metal. Don’t allow water or any cleaning products to sit in the surface for a long time–always spray and wipe. We always recommend just warm water and a towel because harsh chemicals will eventually destroy the finish when used improperly. If you want to use a more heavy-duty cleaner, use non-detergent car wash soaps. Wash and then rinse thoroughly right away, so you prevent staining, streaks, or water spots. Learning how to clean aluminum diamond plate isn’t as hard as it seems!

Step 2: Sealing + Protection

An option to consider to preserve your aluminum diamond plate is applying a protective coat of wax. Wax helps the material continue to look new. If you do this regularly, you can reduce the amount of time required to clean it on a regular basis. But like cleaners, you always want to test a patch before applying to the whole sheet.

Step 3: Further Action

In some cases, it can take more than cleaning and waxing aluminum diamond plate to get it to look new. You might need some specialized metal cleaners or polishes and a buffer to get it back to its original shine. You can hire someone that polishes metal or do it yourself. Just keep in mind that buffing and polishing takes a lot of time and effort, so set aside the right amount of time. Always make sure you follow the manufacturer guidelines.

Preventative Maintenance for Aluminum Diamond Plate

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It’s always better to be safe than sorry. While aluminum diamond plate is very durable and easy to take care, it’s sometimes the best way to clean the material is to never let it get out of hand in the first place. When you do this, you cut the amount of time it takes to clean and care for the material. It’s sort of like washing a car regularly–you want to preserve the paint, or in this case, the shine. Here are some tips on preventative care for aluminum diamond plate:

Tip #1: Evaluate

Keep an eye on your aluminum diamond plate. Always consider your geographic setting, whether you have more extreme weather conditions or lots of moisture. The East coast a perfect example of a spectrum of weather conditions. Hot sunshine is just as damaging as snow. If something needs to be cleaned, do it! If you take care of your metal, it can last for a very long time.

Tip #2: Be Nice

Don’t go in cleaning with a vengeance. Avoid using harsh chemicals, cleaners, abrasives, and acids. Corrosive products doesn’t work so well on any kind of metal. Warm water and a cloth works great!

Tip #3: Keep It Nice and Dry

Aluminum diamond plate may be great for wet environments, but water can damage it. Water causes spotting and when left in direct sunlight, it can cause etching. Dry the material thoroughly, even if it just gets hit with a sprinkle of rain or sprinkler.

Tip #4: Protect and Prevent

Protect your aluminum diamond plate whenever you can. Keep it out of the elements, and wax it. If you notice, most ambulances and firetrucks are stored inside when not in use. Even if aluminum diamond plate is designed for heavy use, it helps a lot to protect it when you can.

Tip #5: Don’t Forget Your Safety!

Whenever you are cleaning, buffing, or polishing, always make sure to take care of yourself. Have the right eye protection, gloves, and clothing. Also make sure you have enough supplies on hand before you even start. It’s always better to buy more and return the unused than to stop halfway to get more.

Where Can I Buy Aluminum Diamond Plate?

If you are looking to purchase aluminum diamond plate for your man cave or business, visit SizeMetal.com. We are the leading distributor of aluminum diamond plate, aluminum sheets, stainless steel, quilted stainless steel sheets, and accessories. We are based in California and ship nationwide to 49 states. Our focus on only these products allows us to provide our loyal customers great customer service, outrageously competitive pricing, and speedy, affordable delivery. We sell full sheets, custom sizes, along with offering custom cuts.

Visit our store here to browse our products!

Questions? Feel free to email us at contact@sizemetal.com or call us at (800) 935-1973. We are here to help with your project no matter what size it is.

Size Metal

contact@sizemetal.com

(800) 935-1973

1900 Proforma Ave, Unit G-2, Ontario, CA 91761.

What Diamond Plate Thickness Should I Use For Trailer Flooring?

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When building out your trailer, it’s very important to know the right thickness for safety. Flooring for trailers should be anti-slip reliable, and durable. With aluminum diamond plates, they offer the perfect balance of durability and aesthetics.

Plus, there are many benefits to using aluminum diamond plates for trailer flooring:

  • Corrosion-resistant
  • Anti-slip
  • Weather-proof
  • Easy to clean
  • Simple and quick install
  • Adds a sleek, modern look to your trailer
  • Great for indoors and outdoors
  • Has all kinds of applications from decorative to functional

What thickness should I use for flooring?

Well, it depends. We always recommend putting plywood down first. The popular thickness would be 3/4″ of some kind of wood. If you do have that, then we recommend going with 0.045″ or 0.063″ (1/16″). The more structure and support you have on the bottom, the thinner you can go. 0.045″ would be the thinnest we recommend.

If you don’t have a strong support on the bottom or you have beams, then you should go thicker. The most popular thicknesses would be 0.188″ (3/16″) or 0.125″ (1/8″), and even 0.25 (1/4″).

So it all depends on the flooring you put down before. Always take that into consideration when determining the thickness you need. The thicker the support, the thinner you can go.

For example, the picture above had metal frame, so you could go thinner or thicker. But it also depends on what you’re lugging. In this case, this customer lugs around quads and machinery, so he needed 0.125″.

The example below shows one of our customers that bought 0.063″ because he already laid plywood down and the aluminum diamond plate also fits on top of the the metal frame.

atp-trailer

How do I install it?

Depending on the thickness of diamond plate and support under it, that will determine how long your fasteners will be.

Tools Needed:

  • Self-tapping tin screws
  • Impact Drill

Screw along the edge of the sheets. You can also screw down the middle of the sheets to prevent rattling and for more security. If you have two sheets that meet, don’t forget to screw the edges of both sheets.

Where Do I Buy Aluminum Diamond Plate?

If you’re looking to buy some aluminum diamond plates, click here. We are located in Southern California, but we ship nationwide for a flat rate of $195 up to 50 sheets. Our aluminum diamond plates are hot-rolled, making them perfect for fabrication. We offer them in full sheets and custom sizes for all parts of a trailer. From stone guards and flooring, to wall wainscoting.

If you have any questions or trouble deciding what thickness of aluminum diamond plate you need for your trailer, give us a call at (800) 935-1973 or email us at contact@sizemetal.com. We are here to help! We ship flat rate nationwide!

SizeMetal is a leading distributor of sliced metal sheets. We offer aluminum diamond plates, aluminum sheets, stainless steel sheets, and accessories.

SizeMetal

1900 Proforma Ave, Unite G-2, Ontario, CA 91761

(800) 935-1973

contact@sizemetal.com

Aluminum or Stainless Steel: What’s the Right Material for the Job?

You’ll have noticed that two of the most popular products on our site are Aluminum diamond plate and Stainless Steel sheeting. Whilst there are many different applications where a form of either might work equally well, sometimes there will be a good reason to pick one over the other. In this blog, we take a closer look at the materials and their properties with that in mind.

Looks and cost

One of the first things you’ll want to take into account is cost. Though you’d be wrong to make a choice based on cost alone, it’s always an important consideration – any project will have a budget and you won’t want to overspend if you don’t have to. The reality here is that Aluminum is almost always cheaper than Stainless Steel. That’s because it’s a more plentiful material, it has a lower melting point (so less energy is required) and it’s easier to shape – especially when it comes to rolling it out into thin sheets. That also makes it easier for you to work with, and you won’t need any specialist tools.

Then there are looks. Hot-dipped Aluminum has a great shine to it – almost like a mirror. Stainless Steel can be mirror finish, too, though it’s more likely to have a slightly duller sheen to it. (You can check out our inventory to see the grades available.)

Of course, it doesn’t matter how great the finish looks if it’s not going to keep it, so if you have in mind a heavy-wearing application you might need to think again.

Material properties

Choosing the right material is always a trade off – between price, appearance, properties and more. The truth is that Stainless Steel costs more, but all things being equal it’s much harder wearing. It’s also very easy to clean and highly resistant to corrosion. That makes it ideal for conditions where sanitation is critical, and applications where it will often need to be cleaned. Aluminum is similarly easy to clean and won’t rust, but it’s not as tough as Stainless. It’s a softer metal and will dent and scratch more easily. In extreme conditions, such as marine environments, you’re also better off with Stainless Steel.

A final factor is how you finish the metal. In many instances you’ll want to keep the plate or sheet metal as it is. At other times there will be a good reason to paint or lacquer it. Whilst Aluminum will take finishes well, Stainless Steel simply won’t. Its surface will not accept a finish reliably, meaning that it can flake off over time. This doesn’t just look unsightly – it can pose a hazard if sanitation is important. The good news is that Stainless Steel looks good as it is, and you can choose a grade that suits your application.

The bottom line: Aluminum is cheaper, easier to cut and shape, and takes a finish better. Stainless Steel is more expensive and harder to shape, but has great resistance to corrosion and is extremely hard wearing. It also looks good as it is and will need a minimum of maintenance to stay that way.

 

Tread Plates Overview

Tread plate is the name given to sheet metal stock that bears the distinctive diamond patterns of raised marks on its surface (which also gives it its name of ‘diamond plate’). Other names include Durbar floor plate and checker plate.

Tread plate is typically made from Aluminum or stainless steel and comes in a range of thicknesses. It is lightweight but robust, easy to clean and non-skid, as well as being highly resistant to corrosion. This combination of properties makes it popular for applications such as industrial walkways, ramps and stairs – hence the name of Tread Plate – as well as work surfaces and wall coverings where hygiene is an issue (such as in dairy processing plants and ambulances). It is often used domestically for truck beds and kick plates, as well as for smaller applications such as tool boxes, because it is visually attractive as well as tough.

Variations

There are many variations of tread plate. Common materials include Aluminum alloy and stainless steel, which each have different advantages. However, veneer sheets are also available. These are sometimes known as ‘cosmetic’ sheets and are much thinner and less robust than the thicker plate typically used for industrial and other hard-wearing application. They are often just 0.025 inches thick (0.6mm). Their chief use is to provide the look of tread plate and some protection to a surface, but without the expense and weight. They are also used for craft projects since they can very easily be bent and cut. These sheets are occasionally made of plastic, as well as Aluminum, and are designed to be highly malleable. The diamond pattern is often embossed (imprinted into the surface), instead of being raised. They still have the same non-slip properties, though their flimsier nature means they are not generally used for flooring.

Materials and properties

Aluminum 3003. Tread plate is most commonly made from a kind of Aluminum alloy known as Aluminum 3003, consisting of Aluminum with a small proportion of Manganese (1.2 percent) as well as traces of other materials. This gives the Aluminum improved strength over the pure metal, whilst not impairing its machinability. The sheets are typically cold-pressed to create the raised diamond pattern that gives them their distinctive look and non-slip characteristics. The most common form is 0.063-inch plate (1.5mm thick), though heavy-duty 0.125-inch (3mm) plate is also available where additional durability is required.

The sheets are strain-hardened and partially annealed in the manufacturing process. This gives them an additional degree of wear-resistance, but means they cannot be further heat-treated. Finally, the sheets are hot-dipped to give them their bright finish, or else another finish is applied.

Stainless Steel tread plate is used for applications where corrosion resistance and hygiene are paramount, since stainless steel is extremely tough and will not rust. Tread plate is usually made from an alloy called 304 stainless steel, which comprises mainly iron, with a proportion of Chromium (around 18 percent) and Nickel (generally 8 percent). These give it its common name of 18/8 stainless steel. It also contains traces of Manganese, Silicon, Carbon and sometimes Molybdenum.

304 stainless steel is, like Aluminum, non-magnetic. It is fairly resistant to both thermal and electrical conductivity, compared to other metals, and is also exceptionally resistant to corrosion, because the Chromium ‘passivates’ and provides a protective layer on the surface of the metal. This prevents any corrosion from spreading to the inside of the stock. There are a few exceptions, such as in highly saline or low-oxygen environments, but on the whole it is easy to maintain and clean. Stainless steel tread plate can be finished in a range of ways, the most common being 2B (milled finish) and #4 (brushed finish), though there is a wide range of finishes depending on use. These will be suitable for different applications due to the level of smoothness and the ‘grain’ that can be felt on the surface. Stainless steel does not need to be painted to protect it, which makes stainless tread plate suitable for applications where hygiene is paramount, such as on food preparation surfaces, dairy processing plants, and medical equipment. (In fact, it should not be painted, because the surface does not allow paint to adhere easily and it can flake off, leaving an unattractive finish and a hazard to hygiene from small particles of paint.) It is also resistant to staining and picking up odors.

Machinability

Tread plate is designed to be easily cut, shaped, formed and drilled. Aluminum is a highly machinable material, and the most common thickness of tread plate (0.063-inch) can be cut and moulded with normal DIY tools. It can be cut with tin snips or a hacksaw, drilled with ordinary drill bits and bent without issue. This makes it a popular solution for truck beds, kick plates for doors, and other domestic applications. It can be ordered in pre-cut sizes for simplicity. The thicker 0.125-inch tread plate is harder to work with, but can still be cut and shaped with ordinary tools.

Stainless steel tread plate is harder to work with, especially for thicker sheets. Standard thicknesses range from 0.024-inch right up to 1-inch plate. Obviously these thicker plates require specialised industrial tools to form, but the thinner sheets can still be worked with regular DIY tools and are surprisingly machinable given the toughness of the metal.

Maintenance

In general tread plate requires very little maintenance. Neither Aluminum nor Stainless steel rust or corrode under normal conditions. In most cases, it is enough to brush off any dry dirt and wipe away any stains or mud with a damp cloth. Surfaces can be hosed down if needs be. More stubborn stains can usually be removed with a mild detergent and a soft cloth. The only conditions in which you need to clean and check them regularly is if they come into contact with corrosive chemicals or salt water, such as in marine applications. In these situations a thorough clean and check is recommended at least once a year, in addition to routine maintenance.

Learn more about SizeMetal here.

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5 Reasons to Use Aluminum Diamond Plate on Your Truck Bed

Aluminum diamond plate is a popular choice for circumstances where durability and looking good are important. You’ll often see it used for industrial walkways, stairs, ramps, kick plates and other applications where the material will be subjected to the elements and daily wear and tear. Here’s why it’s a great product for your truck bed.

1) It’s tough

Diamond plate is made from hot-rolled Aluminum sheets and comes in a range of thicknesses. Aluminum doesn’t rust like steel, and the sheets are remarkably resilient to wear. That means you don’t have to worry about dirt and damp damaging it. In fact, cleaning and maintaining it is a simple matter of brushing or hosing it down and wiping with a cloth to remove any marks. Looked after, it should last years.

2) It’s non-slip

The raised pattern on diamond plate that gives it its name also results in excellent anti-skid properties. Even when wet it provides a good grip to your feet. The proof of this is in its use for outdoors walkways and ramps, where safety is a particular concern whatever the weather. You can also buy embossed diamond plate, where the pattern is stamped into the Aluminum rather than raised on the surface. This also has a good non-slip effect.

3) It’s easy to machine and work with

Despite its durability, Aluminum diamond plate is a great material to work with. Covering your truck bed with it should be a job you can do yourself with a few tools and some basic DIY skills. The metal plates come pre-cut in a range of different sizes, so it’s just a matter of finding the right one and cutting it down, if necessary (as a rough guide, the length of the sheet should be the length of your truck bed plus twice the height you want to cover, and the width should be the width of your truck bed plus twice the height). Aluminum sheet is easy to cut, drill and bend, so you shouldn’t have any problems in forming it into a surface of the right shape. If you only need to cover the floor, then just allow a small margin on the dimension.

4) It looks great

Diamond plates have a very distinctive appearance due to their raised pattern and the natural shine of the Aluminum. The good news is that this shouldn’t change over time. It’s a great material that combines durability with aesthetic appeal, hence its popular use for truck beds and similar applications. It won’t rust and is resistant to staining, so if you look after it and clean it from time to time it will look just as good in five years time as when you first got it.

5) It’s cost-effective

As well as its other advantages, Aluminum is significantly cheaper than alternatives like steel. In fact, you’ll probably be able to cover your truck bed for a couple of hundred dollars, depending on how large it is. All being well, you won’t need to pay anything for maintenance, either.

Check out SizeMetal.com large selection of Diamond Plates and Stainless Steel Sheets.

By Eric Lee