Can I order bolts to ASTM A36?

ASTM A36 Bolt
ASTM A36 is a very common steel standard that covers structural carbon steel shapes, plates and bars. Fasteners are not specifically included in the scope of A36, but that doesn’t stop engineers and contractors from asking for A36 bolts.

Why is that an issue?

The inherent problem with trying to order bolts to a ASTM steel standard, is that steel standards like A36 do not include the necessary fastener information like bolt configuration, type of or amount of threads, style of head, compatible nut or washer, acceptable coatings, etc. For example, ASTM A307, which covers low carbon general purpose bolts and studs, has the following sections detailing bolt specifics:

  • Section 1.3, suitable nuts
  • Section 7.1, thread geometry
  • Section 7.2, head dimensions, thread length, other bolt dimensions
  • Section 7.3, nut over-tapping allowances for hot dip galvanized bolts
  • Section 9, test methods
  • Section 13, product marking

Without these details, every mundane aspect of the fastener would need to be discussed and decided between the purchaser and the manufacturer, or assumptions would need to be made that may or may not meet the needs of the application the bolts are being used in.

ASTM A36 addresses this in the ASTM standard by including an appurtenant material chart. What this chart says is that if bolts are called out as A36, since A36 does not specifically cover bolts, then they should instead conform to the grade listed in the chart.

Below from Section 3.1 and Table 1 of A36:

When components of a steel structure are identified with this ASTM designation, but the product form is not listed in the scope of this specification, the material shall conform to one of the standards listed below unless otherwise specified by the purchaser.

Material ASTM Designation
Bolts A307 Grade A
High Strength Bolts A325
Nuts A563
Forgings A668 Class D
Anchor Bolts F1554 Grade 36
Table abridged to show only those items relevant to Portland Bolt

This is not to say that the materials listed above conform to or can be made from A36 steel – in many cases they cannot – simply that if the purchaser calls out a product per A36, but one that is not covered in the above scope (shapes, bars, plates), the manufacturer or supplier can supply product conforming to the above standards. For example, say someone requests A36 anchor bolts.  According to this chart, those anchor bolts should be instead furnished to ASTM F1554 Grade 36.  ASTM F1554 grade 36 anchor bolts are typically made from A36 or some similar low carbon raw steel, however care must be taken to make sure all the requirements of F1554 are met.  Most off the floor A36 is missing the reduction of area (RA%) measurement, required by F1554, but not by A36.  Additional testing may need to be performed.  If, per the above chart, the anchor bolts are made per F1554, the threads, grade marking, compatible nuts, and most every other aspect and detail of the anchor bolts is already called out, saving time for both parties buy not requiring a lengthy discussion of the details, unless modifications or variances are necessary.

Portland Bolt is happy to answer questions like these or similar. We are the bolt experts; feel free to use us as a resource.

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20 comments

    Dear Dane,

    We received washers ( A36 & F436) without markings.Is there any markings requirements for these washers? kindly clarify.

    @Syed- F436 washers require the manufacturer’s marking be stamped or etched into the washer, washers made from A36 steel do not have any marking requirements.

    Hi. I received an anchor bolt’s specification.
    It required anchor bolt material as ASTM A 36M or F1554 Gr.36.
    Are those materials same?

    @Daizy- those materials are similar, but not exactly the same. You would need to compare the material test reports with the ASTM requirements to make sure they are within the parameters of the standards.

    I need to make a 11/8″ draw bolt for a 30 ton hollow hydraulic cylinder, what grade of threaded rod and nuts and washers do you recommend?

    Thanks, Scott

    @Susan- Since A36 is a raw steel specification, we would typically supply that as ASTM A307A or B. For A307 bolts, the recommended nut is A563 gr.A, and washer is ASTM F844.

    @Nithees- A36 is a low carbon, low strength steel and is not an equivalent to A325. A325 is a heat treated, high strength structural bolt. If you substitute it would most certainly run the risk of causing a failure.

    @Amit- A36 does not require any specific marking, but A36 is a steel grade, not an anchor bolt grade. It would be better to order the anchor bolts per F1554, then there would be marking requirements.

    @Amit- It would depend on the grade that the anchor bolt was made to. Some grades require a grade marking, others do not.

    @Malcome – Both A307 and grade 5 are fastener standards, so bolts can be ordered per either grade. They differ from A36 in that A36 is a raw material/steel specification and A307/grade 5 are fastener specifications.

    I have received some a36 bolts.There is no marking of heat number or “a36” on the bolt.How do I identify whether it is a36 or not? Is there any marking system?

    @Fayad – No, there are no marking requirements for A36 material, hence the problem ordering bolts to raw material specifications. You will need to contact the manufacturer of the bolts to ascertain specifics about the bolts in question.

    In the above given example of requesting A36 anchor bolts,could it be furnished to ASTM A325 instead of ASTM F1554 Grade 36 as per the chart given in A36 standard.

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