Southport, North Carolina, custom builder Thomas Dugan specializes in hurricane-resistant, disaster-resistant custom coastal homes, built of concrete using Superior Walls precast insulated concrete panels. "But we also wanted to reduce the amount of wood used elsewhere on the exterior, if possible," Dugan writes in Professional Deck Builder (see "Concrete Decks for Coastal Homes," by Thomas Dugan, PDB 5/15). "For fully enjoying coastal living, however, large porches and decks-traditionally made of treated-wood components-are a must-have. Our challenge was to find an alternative porch and deck design that would be cost-competitive with wood without having wood's drawbacks in our harsh coastal environment."

"Because we were already building with concrete for our wall systems," Dugan goes on, "it seemed logical to look for a concrete solution for our porches and decks. My research led to Versa-Dek, a steel pan system with a dovetail design that allows for clear spans of up to 20 feet or more. The pans are used to support a thin slab of poured-in-place concrete, allowing us to build decks that are inherently waterproof below, essentially maintenance free, readily adaptable to a variety of finish materials, immune to fire, and resistant to wind forces beyond a Category 3 hurricane… The panels are supported by a steel frame." Read More