What are the Types of Extruded Aluminum Channels?


Metal channels serve a wide variety of purposes across many industries, capable of performing in industrial, structural, and architectural capacities. Channels can be used for such applications including repairs of buildings, vehicles, machinery, and more. Steel channels, such as stainless and hot rolled, are typically used for structural applications. On the other hand, extruded aluminum channels are most often selected for many areas in and around architectural applications.

Aluminum channels are widely available in both the online marketplaces and in most home improvement stores and can be customized in length and specifications to meet your needs. But what kinds of aluminum channels are there, and what are their uses? Read on to learn about the various types of aluminum channels extrusions.

Extruded Aluminum Channels & Their Benefits

Among the metal channel types, an aluminum channel is a very versatile product that is made in a variety of thicknesses and sizes depending on the application. An aluminum channel can be used for both structural applications as well as architectural applications, depending on the specific type and use. For example, aluminum channels for construction are typically made from alloy 6061 because it is better suited for structural needs due to its higher strength, while 6063 grade aluminum is a great option for architectural purposes where visual appeal is often the focus.

Because channels are available in a variety of metal types, you might be wondering what the unique advantage is to using aluminum channels. One of the most important benefits of aluminum channels is their weight. Aluminum is incredibly lightweight, weighing less than a third of steel. Its lightweight allows it to be highly functional without sacrificing reliability and durability. Further, aluminum channels are highly corrosion-resistant because of the naturally produced oxide coating this alloy creates. This is highly beneficial, as you do not have to invest in the application of additional paint or coatings for aluminum channels to prevent deterioration. Therefore, aluminum channels can be used in damp, moist, and even particularly abrasive environments without the worry of rust or degradation over time.

Extruded Aluminum Channel & Profile Types

There are a large variety of aluminum channel options, including nut channels, slide track channels, and Z channels. Among the most common aluminum extrusion channel types are the following:

Aluminum Hat Channels: Aluminum hat channels are named for their unique, hat-like appearance, being composed of two horizontal flanges that reach outward and two vertical dimensions. Hat channels can be designed in a range of sizes, varying in thickness and height depending on what is required. Typically, the thickness of a hat channel will range between .005” and .150”. In terms of height, aluminum hat channels can be as high as 5.25”. Hat channels are incredibly useful for the leveling or furring of masonry walls and ceilings, providing a level and structurally sound surface. Hat channels, or furring channels, as they are sometimes called, are used in a wide variety of ways including drop ceiling installment, concrete wall applications, exterior applications, architectural curtainwall applications, and more.

Aluminum U Channel & J Channel: U and J channels are a type of aluminum channel that typically feature additional fabrication following extrusion, the process by which long lengths of aluminum shapes are extruded through a press formed from raw aluminum billet into a desired cross-section. During manufacturing, the inline fabrication that is most often applied post extrusion includes holes, notches, tabs, key slots, depressions, embossing, material insertion, and more. Aluminum U & J channels both offer a large range of applications across many industries. The most common uses for these types of channels include framing, tracks, slides, protective edges, railings, rails, rims, and decoration, to name just a few.

Aluminum C Channel: Another type of aluminum channel is the aluminum C channel. Aluminum C channel, like all other channels, is available in a variety of lengths and thicknesses, typically between .003” thick and .500” thick. Much like aluminum U and J channel, the addition of inline fabrication during the extrusion process is common for aluminum C channels. The uses of aluminum C channel vary but including for framing, covers, decoration, trim, railings, posts, and tracks, among the list of wide applications.

Finding the Right Aluminum Channel

While aluminum channels are readily available in a wide range of wall thicknesses, lengths, and sizes, it may be the case that you don’t find the correct size right off the shelf for your unique project. Custom aluminum channels can be designed and created to fit the specifications you require. Eagle Mouldings has the expertise to create custom aluminum channels of all types and sizes, alloys and finishes to ensure you have just what you need. Contact us today to discuss our expansive inventory of hat channels, C channels, U channels, Z channels, slide track channels, and more. Stocked and available in a standard mill finish, anodized or powder coat finishes.