Steel Deck Framing – Costs, Information, Best Products, Designs & Ideas
Steel frame decks look very similar to the average wood deck, but they are much more durable. Steel decks are installed with interlocking joist and stringer systems that strengthen the structure against weather damage and corrosion. They are easy to use and flexible enough to accommodate the angles, bends and curves of the deck design.
Steel deck framing is the latest evolution in deck design and has quickly become a favorite over the traditional wood deck. This is because wood decks are prone to rotting, breaking, warping, damage and splintering. The average wood deck will need a complete replacement approximately every 10-15 years. A major factor in the rapid decline of wood decks is their exposure to water – something that can rarely be avoided for an outdoor deck next to a swimming pool.
Conversely, average professionally installed steel decking will remain completely intact and safe for over 60 years. It will keep the same like new condition for at least 25 years and maintenance requirements are very low. Unlike wood, steel is not susceptible to moisture damage and high quality steel will rarely show signs of aging.
Durability is the number one benefit of steel frame decking. Their 60+ year lifespan dwarfs most other materials such as wood (even treated wood can’t compete with a lifespan like this). They are also maintenance free, environmentally friendly, rust and corrosion resistant and extremely strong. This makes steel decking one of the best material options for high intensity areas such as near swimming pools or in harsh outdoor weather conditions. Other benefits of a steel deck include:
- Easy installation process
- Safe and smooth finish
- Pest resistant
Like any material, steel has its drawbacks. For those hoping to install a steel frame deck, here’s what that means.
- Difficult to tinker. Building a deck frame is simple for those with the know-how and resources, but experience is very crucial to the success of the deck being installed. Construction crews are able to install steel bridges at a very fast pace and using a simple method, but it will be difficult to do at home if you don’t already know how to build a steel bridge frame and if you have the right tools.
- Australian tariff. Australia applies a very high manufactured import tax on products like steel, to protect local Australian manufacturing companies. This makes steel quite an expensive material in Australia. Australian steel generally costs between $0.75 and $2.00 per kilo.
- Initial costs. Steel is much more expensive upfront than other materials like wood. However, remember that steel decking can often last up to four times longer than wood decking. If you intend to keep the house in the family or live in it for a long time, you can consider the steel framed terrace as an investment.
Steel Framing Design Ideas: Plans, Kits, and Manufacturers to Inspire Your Steel Framing System.
05. Steel Bridge
A lesser-known option for the handy DIYer is a steel deck frame kit. Buying pre-fabricated steel frames from quality Australian manufacturers like Steel-Deck ensures that you will be equipped with all the metal materials you need, including steel joists, beams, span tables, frames foundation, posts, installation guide and more.
Steel-Deck is compatible with all types of decking, which means you can enjoy the benefits of a steel-framed deck while maintaining the aesthetic appeal of wood or tile. Simple screw assembly makes installation easy. These pre-made kits are also quite affordable; for an instant free quote, complete this pre-engineered steel bridge calculator.
Bunnings actually offers a custom steel frame kit with brackets and joists cut to your desired length. The steel deck comes in kit form and is made from GALVASPAN fire rated steel, which will prevent rotting and warping for decades. It is a versatile design that could be used for mezzanines and other sub-floor applications as well as outdoor pool decks etc.
03. Picture frame decking
The picture frame deck is a beautiful new style that has recently emerged for both aesthetic and practical reasons. Having a clear border for the deck edge is safer, especially for children and the visually impaired. A definitive deck edge helps people conceptualize the space they have and prevents nasty accidents such as falling off the deck, slipping, or misjudging the stairs. (For a metal staircase calculator, see here).
A platform deck is an elevated deck that is usually not at ground level. There are many reasons to install a platform deck rather than just a deck that conforms to the shape of the floor. The most common is that the floor may not be level. If you live on a hill with a steep slope, installing a platform can be a much simpler task than trying to level the ground.
Another reason is aesthetic appeal – platform decks are sleek, standout pieces that dominate a backyard space. Another reason someone may opt for a deck is the type of pool they have. Often people install steel framed decks around above ground pools to provide easier access and make the pool feel more natural to the back landscape. Steel is undoubtedly one of the most environmentally friendly construction materials in the pool. A steel frame deck is therefore the ideal way to ensure its durability in the years to come.
01. Smartkits Australia
Smartkits is one of Australia’s leading suppliers of pre-engineered bridge kits. All of their deck frames are made from 100% Australian steel and they have partnered with trusted Australian brands such as BlueScope and Colorbond Steel.
This frame kit includes everything you need to assemble the steel frame and reaches a height of up to 1m. The frame can support all kinds of coating products such as wood, composite or tile. They are highly customizable and you can enter specific dimensions for stairs and curves as needed. Each kit comes complete with council-compliant drawings, documents and installation guides.