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Home » DeckingArticles » Metal Decking: The Choice for Bridges and Roofs

Metal Decking: The Choice for Bridges and Roofs

Metal decking is usually made of corrugated steel or aluminum, and is used for roofing and floors. It also forms the floor of huge structures, like bridges, stadiums, and warehouses because it is very strong and durable.

Use for Roofs

Metal decking is laid directly over struts for roofing. Metal roofs are durable, weatherproof, attractive, strong, and easy to maintain. In cold-weather climates, they can handle a significant snow load, and snow slides off the roof easily if it has sufficient pitch.

Use for Floors

Metal decking is used with concrete for floors, and there are two kinds commonly worked with. The first is composite metal decking, and it is deeply corrugated to interlock with the concrete and reinforce it. Composite metal makes an exceptionally strong floor, suitable for bridges and other weight-bearing structures.

Metal decking form is less deeply corrugated, and provides a base for the concrete. It holds the concrete instead of reinforcing it, and produces a smooth, strong floor but without the exceptional strength of reinforced concrete.

Advantages of Metal

Metal decking is used primarily for roofing and larger construction projects, and there are many advantages to using it. As stated previously, metal decking roofs are preferred in climates where there is a lot of snow in the winter, while the floors are strong, attractive and very durable. They are easy to maintain and can be erected in almost any weather. They are often weatherproof, fireproof, and can be acoustically insulated for sound control.

The Steel Decking Institute has established standards for metal decking that ensure that the quality of steel decking is consistent. The corrugations of this decking have a trapezoidal shape that makes them exceptionally strong for their weight. Because of the high strength/weight ratio, this decking can span large spaces smoothly

Environmental Considerations

Some people argue that mining and processing metal decking material is an energy-consuming and environmentally hazardous process. On the other hand, this material is extremely durable, so it needs replaced less frequently and is also recyclable.

Sound environmental practice would include using the best kind of decking for the job, using recycled products whenever possible, and recycling any construction scraps.

Metal decking is the best choice when a deck needs a high weight-bearing capacity and when large spaces must be spanned, as in bridge construction. It is the roofing material of choice in northern climates, because it can bear the snow load and snow slides off so easily. In these instances, metal decking is wise, economical, and an environmentally friendly choice.

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