Steel Decking vs Aluminum Decking
Steel is a metal alloy (or combination of two or more elements) whose major component is iron. Varying the amount of carbon (the primary alloying material) and its distribution in the alloy controls the qualities of the steel. Aluminum is also an alloy that can be made by combining aluminum and other components.
Pros and Cons
Steel decking can boast it is more durable and will not warp under extraneous conditions (depending on the quality of steel used). Also, steel decking boasts stronger structural stability over aluminum. With industrial uses as well as commercial uses, steel has proven itself over time to be up to the challenge of pretty much anything that has been thrown its way. Skyscraper buildings use steel in their construction, as well as simple steps and walkways you may choose to have installed for you decking.
Aluminum has been given a bad reputation in the past, warping and just giving out at seemingly random intervals. This however is due to the technique with which the aluminum was created. As with steel, aluminum needs to be combined properly with its alloying material to create the right type of aluminum for the job at hand. Aluminum is becoming more and more popular as technology progresses, allowing for greater uses in more markets. The processing has been more refined to be workable in almost any environment without its previous failures.
An aluminum deck allows for easier handling of materials resulting in lower installation costs, and repair options, but needs to be supported in a way that steel decking does not. Steel decking supports itself and creates more space for storage, where aluminum decking has to have a good supportive frame to start with, as the aluminum is more of a coating of a deck rather than a deck itself.
All in all, the steel decking is a longer lasting, durable, and allows for more flexibility in design but is not used often in home construction because of the cost and the look that they provide. Steel decking is more of an industrial application of decking, as it requires generally no maintenance or upkeep. Aluminum will require more time but allows for greater variations in the look and feel you want, keeping the cost down for the materials. Also, more and more aluminum decking companies are coming out with new technological improvements that allow for a wider range of choices in the appearance of your new deck.