by Frederike Berg
What materials can scaffolding be made of?
Scaffolding is an important part of the construction industry, providing a safe and stable platform for workers to carry out their tasks at different heights. It is not only the type of scaffolding you use that is crucial to the success of your project, but also the material it is made of. In the past, scaffolding was mainly made of wood, but today a variety of materials are used, including steel, aluminium and even fibreglass. Read on to learn more about the advantages of each material for scaffolders.
Wooden and bamboo scaffolds
Although we see it less and less these days, wooden scaffolding has been used for centuries to construct buildings, bridges and other structures. In fact, wood was the world's most popular scaffolding material until it was increasingly replaced by steel at the beginning of the 20th century. This is because wood is usually easily accessible, lightweight, flexible and inexpensive. Modern scaffolding also makes use of these advantages, so that some components such as scaffolding planks or toe boards made of wood are also used for steel scaffolding. Read more about wooden scaffolding planks by clicking on the link.
A close relative of wooden or timber scaffolding is bamboo scaffolding, which is mainly used in Asia. These intricate bamboo structures are used to build everything from opera houses to skyscrapers in Hong Kong, for example.
Known for its strength and durability, steel scaffolding is a top choice for many construction projects and industrial applications. It is not only highly resistant to wear and tear, making it suitable for long-term use, but can also withstand harsh weather conditions and high temperatures. In high-quality scaffolding, this is ensured, for example, by hot-dip galvanising, which protects the steel from rust and other damage. This greatly extends the overall lifespan of the scaffolding material.
The worldwide popularity of steel scaffolds is also reflected in the variety of scaffolding types that are preferably made of steel. For example:
- Tube and clamp scaffolds
- Frame scaffolds and construction scaffolds
- System scaffolds and modular scaffolds such as ringlock, cuplock, kwikstage scaffolds
Although steel may appear to be a rigid and inflexible material at first glance, it is actually quite versatile. The individual scaffolding components can be adapted to any shape, and steel is elastic enough to absorb percussions well. Click on the link to read more about the advantages of steel scaffolds.
Aluminium scaffolding has not been on the market for very long, but it has quickly become one of the most popular types of scaffolding. This is hardly surprising as aluminium is lightweight and therefore easy to handle, transport and erect.
Although less durable than steel scaffolding, aluminium scaffolds have a good strength-to-weight ratio despite its comparatively low weight. It can also be used in humid areas as the aluminium material is not susceptible to damage from oxidation.
Never heard of fibreglass scaffolding? Yet, they do exist. Fibreglass or GRP (short for Glass Reinforced Plastic) scaffolding is a lesser known type of scaffolding that is mainly used in the electric utility, computer and chemical industries.
GRP is not used for the entire scaffold, but only for the filament wound scaffold tubes, sometimes called composite scaffold tubes. This ensures that fibreglass scaffolding is non-conductive and fire resistant, making it safe for electrical work.
Fibreglass scaffolds are comparatively light and resistant to all types of corrosion. They can withstand not only salt water but also light acid rain during chemical work. Click here to learn more about fibreglass or GRP scaffolding.
Each type of scaffolding material has its advantages and is best suited for different scenarios. Want to know more about the different types of scaffolding and their applications? Then click here to read our blog article on the subject.
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