A question that we bring up frequently in regard to FRP grating connections is whether to connect adjacent grating panels together? FRP grating is becoming more and more popular around construction projects as an alternative to metal grating. There are two types of FRP grating available, pultruded and molded. Most pultruded grating is directional, meaning the loading bars need to span a specific direction while most molded grating (as a mesh) can be placed in either direction.
But a question is asked, do we connect the panels together if the panel edges do not land on a supporting beam? This assuming the panel meets the deflection spec for a given project such as 1/4″ on a 48″ span. We tend to think the answer should be yes. But not everyone agrees. See image below. We added connecting plates to reduce the possibility of a trip hazard between FRP grating panels. Even with a very low deflection (under 1/8″), there still is a possibility that a worker could catch a shoe if her weight caused one panel to deflect and not the other. The image shows a plan view of grating panels (G11, G12) that have no supporting frame under the panel edges. This is okay as the panels do meet the spec in terms of allowable deflection. But we still felt that connecting plates would be the best approach.
So when you run into a project as described above, keep this in mind. There is no rule the panels should be connected, but it can help to mitigate a possible tripping hazard.