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A grate is a furniture-type item. It is used as a construction material for wall grates and floor grates. Grates can be constructed from stone or ore (with the masonry labor at a mason's workshop), wood (with the carpentry labor in a carpenter's workshop), metal bars (with the blacksmithing labor at a forge), or glass (with the glassmaking labor at a glass furnace).
 Wall Grate
A wall grate is basically a fortification, but with two differences:
- It is a building instead of a construction. It doesn't overwrite the tile below it, and it can be smashed by building destroyers.
- It can be linked to a lever or pressure plate. Once linked, it works like a linked door which doesn't stop fluids, arrows or Miasma when closed.
Wall grates set the boundary for the room being resized, but they do not provide support for the doors construction. Unlike a constructed wall, the grate has some quality level and can be decorated.
 Floor Grate
A floor grate is similar to a floor or a closed floor hatch in that it can be walked upon and blocks creature and item movement between Z-levels. However, it lets water and magma through like an open tile. Floor grates blocks projectiles, unlike wall grates. They do not block line of sight. Floor grates can be linked to a lever or a pressure plate. Triggered, a floor grate opens like a hatch, but with a 100-tick delay.
Floor grates must be attached orthogonally (i.e. not diagonally) to firm ground or some solid construction (a wall, floor, etc.) if they are to be supported over empty space, not (just) other grates. Floor grates can also be placed directly on top of a non-constructed floor or staircase, rather than empty space, in which case it doesn't need any support next to it.
A floor grate does NOT count as solid construction. It will not support any buildings or constructions. However, you can designate a construction to be built orthogonally to it with no other supports. This will cause the construction to cave-in immediately after being completed. This can be useful for controlled cave-ins.
Stockpiles cannot be placed over floor grates.
Floor grates over empty space block miasma from rising through them (miasma will normally flow upward through empty space).
 Bars vs. Grates
Vertical/horizontal bars seem to be functionally identical to wall/floor grates. The only notable difference between grates and bars is that grates are finished goods (which must be produced from raw materials) and have quality levels (and thus boost your fortress's architecture value significantly), while bars are simply raw materials that can be thrown into place at a moment's notice and then deconstructed later should they be needed later for other jobs.
One other important difference is that Grates can be made from stone, which is generally much more plentiful than the materials for bars.
- If you wish to remove a floor piece that is linked to a grate, make sure that the dwarf that carries out the job does not stand on the grate, or remove all grates first. The grate will not be supported, and fall (with your uncareful dwarf on it), and you will experience the famous idiom: "It's not the fall that kills you, it's the sudden stop at the end."
- On a similar note, be cautious when removing a large number of grates next to each other, as a dwarf trying to remove a grate will stand on one his neighbor is about to yank out from under his feet. This can be largely avoided by removing them in batches of alternating grates (IE: Grates 1, 3, 5 then 2, 4, 6, etc...)
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