With the new long lasting finishing materials available on the market such as hardwoods (Ipe for instance can last up to 100 years) and plastics (such as Azek that can last for over 50 years) – what really determines the life span of your deck is the framing material.
Decks are normally framed with pressure treated material. Pressure treated material is the cheapest material on the market and it only lasts for up to 25 years.
In 2008 Delta Decks has successfully completed a complete steel and hardwood project. Posts, beams, joists, stair stringers, railing post brackets, post to concrete attachment - all 100% structural steel. We designed the steel framing structure (in accordance with the Ontario Building Code for Steel structures), took careful onsite measurements of the relative position of the house and concrete footings, prepared 3-D drawings for the steel fabricator and erector.
All parts were power coated with a durable exterior finish. The fabricator and erector welded and bolted the structure on site from pre-manufactured components. Various designs were incorporated for easy on site adjustment as well as proper support of stair stringers, railing posts and other wooden finishing deck elements. We then had to work and try various methods of fastening Ipe to steel.
We were very happy with the results. We see steel frame and durable wood or maintenance free finish as a great alternative to regular wooden frame decks. The advantages of the steel frame are the following:
Much less bounce on the deck. The structure “feels” a lot more solid
A deck frame that will not rot or decay, it can last 50+ years
Steel frame power coated with any color you like
More aesthetically pleasing frame (no joist hangers, nails, cracked pressure treated wood). All pieces are straight and uniform in appearance.
For elevated decks you end up with less posts and beams because each post and beam can carry significantly heavier loads.
There is never a squeaking noise
Ability to incorporate heavy objects into the design of the deck – concrete planters, stone kitchens etc.
In terms of the cost the steel frame can add anywhere from $30-50 per square foot for your deck project. The benefits – aesthetics, durability, peace of mind and an extremely solid feel of the project will definitely be worth the extra investment for some clients.
We will soon have completed project pictures posted on this web page.