Steel Frame vs. Wood Frame


New Creation Decks has, over the last several years, switched almost exclusively to steel framing for our decks. Here is why you should consider a Steel Frame Deck versus a Wood Frame Deck for your next project:

Stability, Uniformity & Precision:

Pressure-treated lumber is factory saturated with a waterborne preservative and is often delivered wet, swollen and heavy. As the installed framing lumber dries out, it is subject to warping, shrinkage, splitting, cracking, and twisting. Before composite decking this was not so much a problem. The typical 2 x 6 wood decking that was screwed directly to joists would usually “hold things in place,” resisting any movement and visible transmission of such things as frame warp below. Composite decking, which is thinner and more ductile in nature, is more vulnerable to instability in the substructure. A common complaint from customers with wood framing is that their composite deck boards become wavy, rising and dipping in response to the instability in the substructure. With a steel frame, surfaces remain flat.


Steel framing is resistant to rot and termites as well as fire. Composite Decking is also resistant to these threats, so there is some sense to providing a substructure that provides similar resistance. Our steel framing is warranted for the life of your composite decking.


An 8 inch tall, light gauge steel joist can typically cantilever 4 feet beyond its last support beam. Longer allowable spans with steel generally translate into less vertical posts and footings. Stairs work out better with steel as well. Our engineered stair design requires only the outer stringers to allow a tread span width of 4 feet. With wood, such a stair requires intermediate stringers to support the treads. With pressure-treated lumber, the stepped cuts in the stringer are highly subject to cracking and warping. Wood stairs, because of all the exposed cross grain cuts in the stringers, are often the first things to fail.


The current material cost of a 2”x 8” steel joist, 16 foot long, is about 11% more than its wood counterpart: a 2 x 10 x 16’ pressure-treated joist. The structural framing comprises about 20 to 25% of the material cost of the deck, which is small portion of the overall cost by comparison. Using Steel frame often makes up for it’s cost by utilizing smaller beams, less stringers, and vertical supports.


Steel Framing is essentially chemical free compared to pressure treated lumber. Steel Framing is also a sustainable and recyclable resource.

At New Creation Decks, we are committed to Steel Deck Framing, and believing it to be the best product that we can provide to our clients!