Diamond plate is a sheet of metal with a diamond-shaped pattern embossed on one side. Diamond plate is sometimes also called tread plate, diamond tread plate, deck plate, and checker plate.
Diamond plates can be made from numerous types of metal, and the metal type influences the plate’s characteristics and where you should apply it. Let’s look at what materials diamond plates can be made of to learn more about their versatility.
One of the most common metals used to manufacture diamond plates is aluminum. Aluminum has a lower density than most other metals. Professional contractors and people doing DIY projects can appreciate how the lightness of aluminum diamond plates makes them easy to work with.
Aluminum’s excellent corrosion resistance is part of what makes aluminum diamond plates durable. Aluminum is very reactive to oxygen. When aluminum is exposed to air, an oxide layer forms almost immediately over the aluminum and protects the metal from further oxidation.
Fabricators make aluminum alloyed diamond plates to take advantage of the characteristics of multiple metal types. For example, alloying aluminum with a small amount of manganese increases the strength of the metal plate and improves its corrosion resistance while keeping the diamond plate lightweight.
Carbon steel is another material that diamond plates can be made of. Manufacturers create carbon steel as an iron-carbon alloy. While these are the two main elements of carbon steel, trace amounts of other metals are also present. Other popular metals that are often present include manganese, chromium, or nickel.
Carbon steel can be classified as low-carbon steel, medium-carbon steel, or high-carbon steel based on its carbon content percentage. Low-carbon steel, also called mild steel, typically contains between .05 and .30 percent carbon. This alloy costs less to produce than medium-carbon, and it’s more pliable. Diamond plate sheets made from low-carbon steel are easy for fabricators to bend or shape.
In contrast, medium-carbon steel contains between .30 and .60 percent carbon. The higher carbon ratio makes medium-carbon steel stronger and more durable than low-carbon steel.
The final metal that diamond plates are made of is stainless steel. Stainless steel is a popular material in modern kitchens, which gives many people the impression that “stainless” has to do with general stain resistance. But the word “stainless” actually refers to this steel’s high resistance to staining caused by corrosion.
Like carbon steel, stainless steel is an iron alloy. But instead of alloying primarily with carbon, stainless steel typically contains about 18 percent chromium, though it can have a minimum of 11 percent. The chromium hardens the steel and increases its corrosion resistance.
Stainless steel can be alloyed with other metals to take on other properties. For example, adding molybdenum helps the material resist softening at very high temperatures. And when stainless steel contains a high percentage of chromium, the diamond plate can better withstand saltwater corrosion.
Whether a fabricator chooses aluminum, carbon steel, or stainless steel, the material will go through one of two processes to become diamond plates. The fabricator can either stamp or hot roll the metal, using heat and pressure to transform simple ingots of metal alloys into diamond plate sheets.
When fabricators stamp diamond plate sheets, they pass the metal between a series of rollers that press the material. Each set of rollers has one roller with a diamond pattern and one roller that’s smooth. As the sheet passes through the rollers, one side of the metal will be pressed with the diamond pattern pressed into it while the other remains smooth. The stamping process is often used for manufacturing aluminum diamond plates.
In the process of hot rolling, the fabricator heats the metal using an electronic thermal machine. Then, the metal is passed through the rollers for precise stamping. When the metal cools, it will have the diamond plate markings. Fabricators commonly use hot rolling to make steel diamond plates.
The manufacturing process and treatments after manufacturing create variations in the appearance of diamond plates. You can alter the appearance of diamond plates for cosmetic reasons or because of practical needs.
The most common diamond plate design features raised diamonds made from line segments. The bumps that create the diamond pattern can be shallow or more raised, depending on how much traction the tread needs to provide.
Diamond plates can also be shiny or non-polished. Typically, if the diamond plate is used as a floor plate, it will have a matte finish. In contrast, cosmetic diamond plates typically have a bright sheen.
You can also order cosmetic diamond plates in different colors. CutsMetal offers beautiful diamond plate options in reflective chrome, black, gunmetal gray, white, red, and glacier gray. These colorful plates make it easy for you to coordinate diamond plates with other elements of your interior décor.
Carbon steel and stainless steel are especially well-suited to industrial and commercial settings. They’re a popular choice for lining truck beds. Because of their anti-corrosive properties in outdoor environments, including near waterfronts, diamond plates are used for decks, platforms, dock boards, conveyors, and floors that are frequently exposed to outdoor elements.
In warehouses, diamond plates can be used on mezzanines that help warehouse operators make the most use of vertical space. And one of the most common uses for diamond plates is on stairways, where the diamond patterning provides necessary traction to keep workers safe.
Diamond plates have become an increasingly popular material for residential use. Its durability, easy maintenance, and beauty make it an attractive option for interior decorating projects in your garage, workshop, kitchen, home gym, and more.
Embossed aluminum diamond plate sheets are simple to use in DIY interior design projects. They’re thin and lightweight, making them cost-effective and easy to install. Upgrade the walls of your home with diamond plate details, add unique diamond plate trim, or consider covering the cabinets in your garage with this versatile material.
Looking for a way to create an eye-catching wall? Diamond plate wainscoting from CutsMetal will beautify your wall and protect it from bumps and scratches. Check out our customer gallery for ideas, then shop our selection to get started.