The EVS Metal Blog

What are the Differences Between Welded & Rivet Joints?

The first in a new series from EVS Metal answering common questions about metal fabrication, finishing and manufacturing.

Q: What’s the difference between welded and riveted joints?

A: Riveted joints and welded joints are two totally different ways to join pieces of metal and they’re generally used for completely different applications.

Because rivets are essentially a type of bolt that is unlikely to look “finished,” it is more likely to be seen as part of an inner structure or skeleton, like those required for bridges or large buildings. What it comes down to is that welded joints are more aesthetically pleasing and often used in finished products where that weld will be seen rather than hidden. Basically, rivets are bolt-like devices used to secure two pieces of metal together, whereas welds use high heat to melt the pieces of metal together to form a joint.

Types of Riveted Joints

There are two major types of riveted joints: lap joints and butt joints. Additionally, there are subtypes of these joints, including:

  • Single Riveted Joint
  • Double Riveted Joint
  • Chain Riveted Joint
  • Zig Zag Riveted Joint
  • Diamond Riveted Joint

Types of Welding Joints

Five types of welding joints are delineated in the American Welding Society standards: butt, corner, edge, lap, and tee. There are a number of different subtypes of butt welds, as seen here:

  • Square Butt Joints
  • J-joints
  • V-joints
  • U-joints
  • Single-V joint
  • Double-V joint
  • Single-J joint
  • Double-J joint
  • Single-U joint
  • Double-U joint
  • Flange (edge of corner)
  • Flare groove

Other differences:

Riveted joints are not completely sealed, unlike welded joints. Therefore, riveted joints are not leakproof. Rivet joints are also semi-permanent, in that they can be cut and removed, whereas welded joints are considered to be a permanent form of joining. Additionally, a welded joint produces a smooth finish, while a riveted joint will protrude from a structure’s surface.

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