Resource Guide for Selecting Hot Rolled A36 Steel Channel

Are Hot Rolled A36 Steel Channels categorized in some way?

Steel channels are broken down into the following categories:

  • Bar Channel
  • Ship & Car Channel (usually represented as MC Channel-Miscellaneous Channel)
  • Structural Channel (represented as C Channel)
  • Stair Stringer Channels (Also known as Junior Channel)

What are the differences between the categories of hot rolled A36 steel channels?

Bar Channel - a set of smaller channel sizes. These sizes are classified as bar shape since the depth is under 3”. At 3” and above, structural channel begins. They are typically used in lighter weight projects.

Ship & Car Channel (MC)-a group of sizes that were developed for the construction of marine vessels and automobiles.

Structural Channel (C)-used in various construction and manufacturing projects.

Stair Stringer (Junior)- a group of sizes used in the construction of stair casings.

What are the main types of material that channels come in:

  • Plain carbon hot rolled A36
  • Galvanized (Zinc plated for corrosion protection)
  • Stainless Steel
  • Aluminum

A chart for all the different types of channel can be found on the Steel Cities website. We mainly focus on plain carbon hot rolled A36 steel channel; however, we can assist with the other types of channel as well.

Can you explain the general hot rolled A36 steel channel terminology?

  • Depth-the width of the channel on the outside
  • Thickness of web-the thickness of the middle section
  • Width of flange-the height of the legs on the outside

How are hot rolled A36 steel channels specified?

They are specified using the channel depth (in inches) and the weight of the channel (in pounds per foot).

The exception to the above would be bar channel, which is measured by depth, flange height, and web thickness.

How are hot rolled A36 steel channels measured?

Channel is measured by getting the width of the channel on the outside (also called depth), the height of the flanges (also called legs) on the outside, and the thickness of the web (the middle section).

Mike Anderson, VP of Sales with Steel Cities, has prepared a short how-to-video to demonstrate how to measure steel channel! Please take a few minutes to learn how to measure properly to avoid costly errors.

What size are hot rolled steel A36 channels available in?

  • Bar Size-3/4” deep to 2-1/2” deep
  • Ship and Car (MC)-3” deep to 18” deep
  • Structural (C)-3” deep to 15” deep
  • Stair Stringer (Junior)-8” deep to 12” deep

A full listing of sizes and dimensions can be found on STEEL CITIES STEELS website.

What lengths do the hot rolled A36 steel channels typically come in?

Standard lengths are 20’ and 40’

Can hot rolled A36 steel channels be cut to size or processed in any way?

Yes, they can be saw cut to specifications.

Another typical process often requested on channel is to have holes drilled in it for bolt locations

What are some of the applications for hot rolled steel A36 channels?

It is used for frames, braces, repairing equipment, trailers, building construction, enclosures, walkways, ramps, chassis, manufacturing equipment and machinery, car frames, ships.


With a wide range of standard sizes and types available, it is easy to find a suitable channel size for your needs. Accurately measuring the steel is critical to ensure you select the right size. If you are not sure how to measure, or need some guidance on the sizes and lengths available, talk to a steel supplier that will take the time to stop out and give you the time and attention needed. A good supplier will help you measure the channel correctly to ensure that it matches up with the specific channel listed in the book or website. With the correct channel in hand, you can be sure that your project will be strong, stable and built to last.

Contact Steel Cities Steels

If you have questions or need more guideance on steel channel and how to measure properly for your projects, give us a call. The sales reprsentatives at Steel Cities are ready to assist you! Please contact Mike Anderson at or call 800-228-2026.

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