Framing Decks With Steel

One big advantage steel framing has over wood is that its greater spans allow the use of fewer footings.

The author buys steel framing members precut to the exact length needed.

Although steel can span considerably longer distances than wood, it’s only about one-third the weight.

Complex framing can take longer with steel than with wood. For decks like the one pictured above, the steel has to be cut to length on site. Plus, complicated designs have a lot of screwed connections, which take longer than gun-nailed wood connections.

Some steel framing systems require the use of framing hardware to make connections.

Ledger and rim track is available with tabs punched on standard framing layouts.

The joists are screwed to these tabs.

A specialized steel-cutting saw makes quicker work of cuts and does a better job containing the hot chips of steel from the cuts.

Step drills work great on steel and allow one bit to drill holes of several sizes.

Specialty, hotdipped galvanized, selfdrilling screws are used to connect steel framing members.

Screws for attaching steel ledgers are shorter than those used with wood.

LGS beams are made by joining a joist and a track. A single beam (right) consists of one joist and one track, while a double beam (left) consists of two single-beam assemblies.

It’s simpler and cheaper to make support columns and railing posts from wood.

Once everything is wrapped with finish materials, it’s impossible to tell what the underlying material is.

Wood support posts attach to LGS beams with hardware that’s similar to what would be used with wood framing.

Wood posts are bolted to the steel framing. A short piece of track between the joist and the post stiffens the joist and provides a rigid mounting surface.

Stair stringers are typically made of wood, which is more economical and easier to wrap with finish materials.

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