Wood vs Metal Framing

Wood framing is NOT what it used to be. All the material we see now comes from second growth trees and moves more, cracks more, and simply put… it is a pain. Over the years we have built thousands of decks in the Pacific Northwest. We have noticed the uptick of complaints from our installers and customers regarding wood. While we will still offer it as an option for now, we are aiming hard at converting fully to steel or alternative frames.

Structures have always been built using steel, but it has not been until recent years that a steel system designed specifically for decks was created. This has resulted in the price being much more competitive than it used to.. Below we will dive into each material a little deeper.

Metal Framing:

  1. Strength and Durability:

Metal framing is renowned for its exceptional strength and durability. It can withstand extreme weather conditions, seismic activity, and is resistant to pests such as termites. This makes it an ideal choice for structures in regions prone to harsh weather or those requiring a high level of structural integrity.

  1. Fire Resistance:

Steel is inherently fire-resistant, providing an added layer of safety to any structure. In the event of a fire, steel framing maintains its structural integrity longer than wood, reducing the risk of a collapse.

  1. Dimensional Stability:

Unlike wood, metal framing does not warp, twist, or shrink over time. This dimensional stability ensures that the structure remains straight and level, reducing the likelihood of maintenance issues. Our customers love the fact that their decking will stay straight on a steel structure and not start getting wavy over time!

  1. Longevity:

Steel framing has a WAY longer lifespan compared to wood. It is less susceptible to decay, rot, and other forms of deterioration that can compromise the structural integrity of a building over time.

  1. Environmental Impact:

While steel is a recyclable material, its production has a higher initial environmental impact compared to wood. However, the long lifespan and recyclability of steel can contribute to its overall sustainability.

Pressure-Treated Wood Framing:

  1. Cost-Effectiveness:

Pressure-treated wood framing is generally more cost-effective than steel, making it an attractive option for those working within budget constraints. The lower upfront costs can be especially appealing for residential projects.

  1. Ease of Construction:

Wood framing is well-known for being easier to work with than steel. Additionally, wood framing can be cut and shaped more easily, allowing for greater flexibility in design.

  1. Maintenance:

While pressure-treated wood is treated to resist decay and insects, it still requires regular maintenance, including resealing or restaining, to ensure its longevity.


Ultimately you get what you pay for. Yes steel will cost more upfront, but if you have to rebuild your wood frame deck in the future you will certainly have wished you went steel. If you are in need of a quick and cheap deck and plan on selling your home in the future, than wood may be a better option to save some $.

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