Deck support: It's what's beneath the surface that counts

Deck support: It's what's beneath the surface that counts

(BPT) - The substructure of your deck is the heart of its durability and the foundation for its aesthetics. Until recently, wood was the go-to material for builders and contractors...

(BPT) - The substructure of your deck is the heart of its durability and the foundation for its aesthetics. Until recently, wood was the go-to material for builders and contractors but many professionals are now switching to steel for its superior structural integrity and design flexibility. Steel won't rot, crack or warp and its inherent strength allows for longer spans between beams and posts making it possible for architects and homeowners to integrate curves and other design elements into their decks, while achieving more useable space underneath.

'The substructure of a deck is something that homeowners rarely consider but one that can make all the difference in the life and performance of a deck,' says Adam Zambanini, vice president of marketing for Trex, the world's leading manufacturer of high-performance wood-alternative decking and railing. 'As a manufacturer of deck boards designed to last for at least 25 years, we recommend using steel framing to ensure that the substructure lasts as long as the deck surface. Dimensionally stable steel is the only material that can deliver on the refined look and feel of what you'd expect from a high-performance deck board.'

Offering superior durability and aesthetics, steel outperforms wood on a variety of levels:

Performance - Traditional wood framing can split, warp and shift over time, leading to an uneven surface in the deck boards above. Steel deck frames are precision engineered to ensure a refined, flat surface for the life of the deck. They also are significantly more resilient to weather, moisture, time and pest deterioration.

Design flexibility - Have you ever tried to bend wood? Steel framing components have the ability to be bent and shaped allowing for curves and angled corners to create more intricate and dramatic deck designs. Additionally, they are more lightweight than wood and can span up to six feet (vs. four feet for wood), resulting in the need for fewer posts and greater flexibility in post placement. This creates less obstructed views and more open space below the deck for storage or even additional outdoor living area.

Safety - A substructure is the platform that will support your deck - not to mention your friends, family and loved ones - for decades of outdoor living activities. In addition to offering superior strength and longevity, steel is non-combustible, termite-proof and free of pressure-treating chemicals. For maximum safety, Trex offers the only code-listed deck substructure rated for exterior use in its Elevations Steel Deck Framing System.

Eco-friendly - In addition to lasting longer than wood, steel deck frames are made from recycled materials, can be recycled themselves and, unlike pressure-treated lumber, are chemical free.

'With its ability to prolong the life of a deck and improve its overall appearance, steel deck framing delivers performance and design benefits that wood simply can't,' says Zambanini. 'It's a smart investment for any homeowner looking to maximize the life of their deck and keep it looking great for years to come.'

For more information about Trex Elevations Steel Deck Framing System, visit trex.com.

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