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Old 12-08-2021, 02:05 PM   #1
Join Date: Jan 2021
Location: Elgin, TX
Posts: 29
Hat Channel vs Square Tubing


I've been doing research, reading, searching, watching videos. I've found opinions but nothing definitive about the benefit of hat channel over square tubing in a roof raise.

What are the pros and cons of each? Is one stronger? Is one easier to attach the sheet metal to? It seems like it would be easier to source tubing, and weld it inside the hat channel on each end. So unless there's some benefit to hat channel that I'm not finding, I think I'll go with tubing.

Thank you for any input!

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Old 12-08-2021, 05:37 PM   #2
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Location: Philadelphia
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Year: 2003
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Chassis: CE 300
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Hat channel has about the same bending resistance as square tubing, given the same thickness and amount of material. Hat channel is cheaper to form since it does not have a seam that needs to be welded/fused like square tubing. Square tubing has a much stronger innate resistance to twisting forces, but this isn't really relevant for material used in a composite structure like a bus body. Another advantage of hat channel is that it has two flanges facing the outside of the body, allowing the outer roof panels to be attached to each alternate rib with a double row of rivets.

For a roof raise, square tubing is much easier to source and perfectly adequate.
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Old 12-08-2021, 05:46 PM   #3
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MG makes good points...and I agree with his comments. We use 1/8-inch wall square tube. We extend that tube into both the upper and lower hat channels and weld those into place. But we also bend 1/8th inch 3-inch wide steel bars into "angles" and weld them on the sides. I put angles in quotes, because we bend them with a radiused bend instead of a sharp angle to match the profile of the hat channel. We do the combination, which is admittedly overkill, to give us the benefits of both options...including the flange surfaces for adhesive and rivets.
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