Steel Decking – What Are The Advantages Of Light Gauge Steel Framing Over Wood?

Chances are if your home comes with an outside deck the framework is probably wood. Even if it’s made from a synthetic material, the underlying supported framework is still likely to be pressure treated wood.

Let’s face it, pressure treated wood is in plentiful supply and it’s cheap. However it can be unpredictable. Most wood framework these days is made from younger wood. It isn’t as dense as mature wood and therefore not as strong. Because of this fact, as the years go by and the seasons come and go, home owners will have no idea if their framework is going to contract or expand. In other words despite a contractor’s best efforts to fit a precise pressure-treated frame, there’s no guarantee that it will stay that way. Ultimately this means that the boarding on top may develop dips and dives, thus creating unsightly raised joints.

So what’s the alternative?

Savvy decking engineers are now abandoning pressure-treated wood in favour of light gauge steel (LGS) framework. Here are a few of the benefits…

  • LGS has the ability to be lighter in weight than wood framework but is far stronger.

  • Vastly increased joist spans means less footings need to be dug, saving on time and cost

  • LGS framing offers greater design flexibility for that contemporary look

  • Every joist is machine cut, so they are always the same size with never any imperfections.

  • The consistency of the material can create perfectly flat and level decking

  • Unlike wood framing LGS won’t shrink, warp, or twist

  • All steel is delivered to the site cut into desired lengths so there’s very little (if any) waste

The bottom line is that there are very few downsides to using steel framework. Even from an aesthetical point of view, when the wood has been placed on top of the framework, it’s virtually impossible to notice that there is a steel frame underneath. That said LGS framing still remains a bit of a stumbling block for contactors. Here’s why?

  • Many contractors have only ever dealt in wood and therefore may have a lack of understanding and knowledge of how to effectively lay a steel frame.

  • Some people just don’t like change and many are happy continuing their old ways

  • It’s true that LGS framework can be more expensive and is arguably more labour intensive to install. As a result many contractors can’t get past the cost issue. However this is a short-term view because the customer will benefit and save money in the long-term as the longevity of the steel frame far outweighs that of a wood one.

  • People believe that it isn’t as easily available as pressure-treated wood, but the truth is that most commercial hardware outlets and metal fabricators will stock light gauge steel. What’s more you can submit your designs and get them cut to the exact length within a matter of hours.

To find out more about LGS framework for decking or if you’d like us to help you with your metal decking design, then contact Metro Steel on 07 3204 1000 today.

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