Galvanized hanger straps are an indispensable tool for many construction and installation projects. These simple metal straps provide a sturdy and reliable way to hang, support, and secure various components in residential, commercial, and industrial settings. With their corrosion-resistant coating and high strength, galvanized straps have become a staple across numerous industries and applications.
What are galvanized hanger straps and why are they useful?
A galvanized hanger strap is a thin piece of steel that has been coated in zinc to prevent rusting and corrosion. The straps come in varying widths and thicknesses, with holes punched at regular intervals. This allows them to be screwed or bolted into place and hung in the desired configuration.
Galvanized straps are valued for their strength, durability, and versatility. They can support substantial weight without bending or breaking. Their galvanized coating enables them to withstand moisture, salt spray, and other corrosive exposures. And their basic design with pre-punched holes allows quick and easy installation in many situations.
From hanging ductwork and conduit to bracing walls and anchoring plumbing, galvanized hanger straps provide a simple and economic solution for countless building and construction needs. Their adaptability, in combination with their ruggedness, make them an essential component of any contractor’s toolbox.
Brief history and development of galvanized hanger straps
The process of galvanizing steel to protect it from corrosion has been around since the early 1800s. By dipping steel in molten zinc, an impervious zinc coating develops on the surface that shields the steel from moisture and chemicals.
This revolutionary corrosion prevention method enabled vast new uses for steel. Galvanized steel sheets became popular for roofing and siding in the late 1800s. Other galvanized steel hardware items, like nails and buckets, also emerged to resist corrosion in demanding environments.
The specific origin of galvanized steel hanger straps is obscure, but they likely developed in the early 20th century alongside the growing use of galvanized HVAC ductwork and piping. The simplicity of producing perforated steel straps made them economical. And their corrosion resistance proved well-suited to applications with moisture, condensation, and weather exposure.
Over the decades, manufacturing innovations have led to further refinements in galvanized hanger straps. Different grades of steel provide increased load capacity. Creative perforation patterns result in adjustable sizing. And specialized strap designs feature insulation or noise reduction.
Galvanized hanger straps continue evolving to meet changing needs, while retaining their core reliability and cost-effectiveness. This had secured their place as a go-to building component for supporting infrastructure.
Overview of common uses and applications
Thanks to their versatile qualities, galvanized hanger straps now play an integral role across numerous installation, construction, and repair projects. Here is an overview of their most common applications:
- Suspending air ducts, vents, exhaust pipes
- Mounting water lines, gas pipes, heat exchangers
- Running cables, conduit along walls and ceilings
- Mounting junction boxes, transformers, motor controls
- Hanging temporary plumbing, power lines, lighting
- Bracing wall studs, joists, rafters
- Securing water supply lines, drains, sewer vents
- Anchoring bathroom/kitchen fixtures
- Hanging tools and shop storage
- Repairs and reinforcement
Galvanized straps are also extensively used in industrial settings. Their high strength makes them well-suited for supporting mechanical equipment, roof vessels, cable trays, and more.
Galvanized Steel Composition and Benefits
To understand galvanized hanger straps, it helps to examine what “galvanized” means and what advantages the process provides.
What is galvanized steel?
Galvanized steel is regular carbon or mild steel that has been coated with a protective layer of zinc. The zinc coating is applied by submerging the steel in a bath of molten zinc, in a process called hot-dip galvanizing. As the zinc cools and solidifies, it bonds tightly to the steel surface forming multiple protective layers.
Steel coated with zinc for corrosion resistance
Zinc provides excellent corrosion protection for the underlying steel in two ways. First, zinc is a reactive metal that readily oxidizes to form zinc oxide, which stops deeper oxidation of the steel. Second, zinc’s impervious oxide layer physically separates the steel from corrosive agents like moisture and salt spray.
Combined, these mechanisms give galvanized steel exceptionally effective and long-lasting shielding from rust and decay.
Benefits of galvanization
Beyond corrosion resistance, hot-dip galvanizing imparts other worthwhile properties:
The zinc coating prevents rust far longer than paints or other surface treatments. Galvanized coatings may last 50 years or more without maintenance.
Galvanizing bonds to the steel, becoming part of the material itself. It does not crack, peel, or chip off like paints. This ensures long-term protection.
The metallurgical bond between zinc and steel strengthens the underlying steel. The coating also provides impact resistance from nicks and abrasions.
Standards for galvanized coatings
Industry standards define coating thickness and durability requirements for various uses. This ensures the galvanizing meets quality specifications.
Types of Galvanized Hanger Straps
While basic flat straps are most common, galvanized hanger straps come in a variety of styles for different needs:
Plain galvanized straps
- Simple flat straps with punched holes
- For basic support applications
- Most economical option
- Shaped like a “J” with one bent end
- Easier to install around pipes or cables
- Conforms to round surfaces
- Plastic coating secures around strap
- Protects against condensation dripping
- Provides noise damping
- Felt, rubber, or foam pad attached
- Prevents abrasion of surfaces
- Used on finished walls or piping
Specialized strap designs continue to emerge for unique mounting challenges and environments. Custom perforation patterns also enable wide adjustability.
Key Uses and Applications
Galvanized hanger straps deliver an optimal combination of strength, corrosion resistance, and ease of installation. Here is a closer look at how they are used across major industries:
HVAC systems involve extensive ductwork, piping, and equipment that requires proper support and suspension. Galvanized straps provide a versatile solution for hanging and anchoring these components.
Straps bolted around supply and return air ducts every 8-10 feet securely support their weight. Insulated straps prevent moisture buildup.
Straps hang gas pipes, refrigerant lines, and condensate drains attached to ceilings or walls. Rubber-coated straps prevent pipe vibration.
Electricians rely on galvanized straps for routing wire and conduit through buildings. Their corrosion resistance handles environmental exposure well.
Running cables and conduit
Straps attached along studs or joists every 4-5 feet provide support for electrical cables and conduit. Padded straps prevent abrasion of wiring.
Mounting boxes and equipment
Straps anchor junction boxes, transformers, control panels, and other hardware to surfaces. The zigzag J-hook design eases installation around conduits.
Galvanized straps assist construction in supporting temporary and structural components during projects.
Hanging temporary lines
Builders use galvanized straps to suspend temporary water lines, drains, power cords, and lighting during construction.
Bracing stud walls
To provide lateral strength, builders bolt perforated galvanized straps horizontally between wall studs as bracing. Straps stiffen the framing.
Plumbers take advantage of galvanized steel’s longevity and corrosion resistance for pipe runs and fixture mounting.
Securing water lines
Pipes are anchored every 4-6 feet with galvanized straps attached to framing. Insulated straps prevent sweating and dripping.
Straps bolted through studs or blocking provide solid attachment points for sinks, toilets, and other fixtures.
Proper Installation Techniques
While galvanized hanger straps themselves are simple products, proper techniques for installation are important for safety and longevity.
Measuring and cutting straps
- Measure required length and cut with aviation snips
- File any sharp edges smooth
- Use screws or bolts per application specs
- Pre-drill holes to prevent cracking at edges
- Ensure screws/bolts are galvanized or stainless steel
- Place straps every 4-10 feet depending on weight supported
- Do not exceed specified weight capacities
- Use multiple straps evenly spaced for long spans
Using insulation and padding
- Insulated straps prevent condensation on cold ducts/pipes
- Rubber-coated straps reduce vibration and noise
- Padded straps protect finished wall and pipe surfaces
- Wear gloves when handling cut sheet metal
- Secure loads before working underneath
- Ensure straps are rated for the weight they support
Galvanized vs Other Building Materials
Galvanized steel straps have pros and cons compared to other materials used for hanging and supporting building systems:
Compare to copper, plastic, stainless steel
- Copper: Excellent corrosion resistance but very expensive
- Plastic: Lightweight but weaker and prone to UV damage
- Stainless steel: Strong and corrosion resistant but costly
Galvanized steel provides one of the best strength-to-cost ratios for corrosion resistance. It lasts longer than plain steel and is more affordable than stainless steel.
Weight, strength, longevity
Galvanized steel offers a good balance of light weight, high strength, and long service life compared to alternatives. Copper is heavier while plastics are weaker.
Galvanized steel is more economical than both stainless steel and copper. It makes an affordable option for cost-sensitive residential and commercial projects.
Innovation and New Products
While galvanized hanger straps have been around for decades, manufacturers continue improving designs and developing new specialty products:
Specialty strap designs
Unique perforation patterns allow more adjustability. Plastic inserts minimize vibration and prevent abrasion. High-strength alloys increase load capacity.
Higher strength steel alloys
Newer strap materials like dual-phase and martensitic steels provide increased tensile strength with lighter weight. This allows thinner, stronger straps.
Companies devise innovative specialty hangers for solar panels, home gyms, garage storage, and other specific mounting needs. Custom designs are also available.
- Galvanized hanger straps are essential, versatile building tools
- Ideal for HVAC, electrical, construction, plumbing
- Galvanization provides key benefits like rust resistance
- Important to use proper installation techniques
Galvanized steel straps will continue seeing widespread use thanks to their optimal balance of strength, longevity, and cost. Their simplicity makes them indispensable for suspending and bracing building systems and components. Correct installation ensures galvanized straps provide secure, long-lasting support across endless construction applications.
Frequently Asked Questions
What sizes are available?
Galvanized hanger straps are available in a wide range of widths, thicknesses, and lengths. Common widths include 3/4″, 1″, 1-1/4″, 1-1/2″, and 2″. Thicknesses vary from 16 gauge to 12 gauge. Standard lengths are 10 feet, but can be custom ordered up to 20 feet or more.
How do I cut and bend straps?
Use aviation snips to cut galvanized straps to the desired length. Bend straps by securing in a vise and carefully bending to the needed angle. Apply bend relief cuts if needed to facilitate bending without cracking the galvanized coating.
When should I use insulation/padding?
Insulated and padded hanger straps should be used when condensation buildup is a concern, vibration/noise reduction is desired, or finished surfaces need protection. Examples are cold air return ducts, hot water pipes, and expensive wall treatments.
What is the weight rating?
Load capacity depends on the strap’s gauge, width, and steel grade. A 1-1/2″ x 16 gauge strap may be rated for up to 150 lbs, while a 2″ x 12 gauge strap may support over 700 lbs. Check manufacturer specifications for proper weight ratings.
How long do they last?
With proper installation and maintenance, galvanized hanger straps typically last 50 years or more in residential settings, and 25+ years in harsh industrial environments. Ensure continued corrosion resistance by repairing any damage to the galvanized coating.
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