Is Steel Framed Decking Worth the Extra Cost?

When it comes to building a deck, the choice of framing material can significantly impact the structure’s longevity, strength, and maintenance requirements. One option that has gained popularity for its numerous benefits is steel deck framing. In this article, we will explore the advantages of steel deck framing and why it might be the best choice for your next decking project.

Strength and Durability

Steel deck framing stands out for its exceptional strength. Unlike wood, which can warp, twist, and crack over time, steel remains straight and true. The yield strength of steel is approximately ten times greater than that of wood, ensuring a more robust and reliable structure. This means that steel frames can support larger and more complex deck designs without compromising on stability.

Higher Load-Bearing Capacity

Building codes typically require residential decks to support live loads of 40 pounds per square foot (psf). Steel deck framing can handle live loads ranging from 50 to 200 psf, providing an extra margin of safety and allowing for heavier furniture, hot tubs, and other features. This superior load-bearing capacity makes steel an ideal choice for two-story decks and other demanding applications.

Fire Resistance

One of the standout features of steel deck framing is its fire resistance. The Fortress® Evolution steel framing system, for example, boasts a Class A fire rating through Intertek, indicating its superior performance in fire conditions. This can be particularly important in areas prone to wildfires.

Low Maintenance

Steel deck framing is a low-maintenance solution. Unlike wood, which requires regular staining, sealing, and potential repairs due to rot and pest damage, steel is resistant to these issues. Galvanized steel, in particular, is highly resistant to corrosion, ensuring that your deck frame remains in excellent condition with minimal upkeep.

Straightforward Installation

Comprehensive steel framing systems offer a straightforward installation process. Many systems are designed with pre-engineered components that fit together seamlessly, reducing construction time and complexity. This can make the installation process more efficient and counteracts some of the higher material cost.

Long-Term Warranty

Investing in steel deck framing comes with the assurance of long-term durability. Many steel framing systems, like Fortress® Evolution, come with extended warranties—often up to 25 years. This long-term warranty reflects the confidence manufacturers have in the durability and longevity of their products.

Environmental Considerations

While steel production has a higher initial environmental impact compared to wood, steel is fully recyclable and has a longer lifespan, which can offset its initial carbon footprint. Additionally, the use of steel can reduce the need for replacement and repairs, contributing to its overall sustainability.


In summary, steel deck framing offers numerous advantages over traditional wood framing. Its superior strength, higher load-bearing capacity, fire resistance, low maintenance requirements, and straightforward installation process make it an excellent choice for building a durable, safe, and long-lasting deck. With the added benefit of a long-term warranty, homeowners can have peace of mind knowing their investment is protected. Yes, steel deck framing is worth it.

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