Floor decks are used in construction to support the weight of concrete while it cures. Because it provides structural stability, it plays an important role – and it is essential that you think long and hard about the type of floor deck that you intend to use.
Not sure which type of floor deck is right for you? Although it may seem a bit confusing at first, the fact is that you can easily identify the type of form deck you should use if you go about it step by step.
Steel vs. Composite
Generally speaking, there are two main types of floor decks that you can choose from Steel or composite. Both are actually very similar to one another and provide many of the same benefits insofar as the fact that they are inexpensive and can be installed quickly and easily.
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The main difference between steel floor decks and composite floor decks is the fact that composite floor decks will reinforce and increase the strength of the floor system. It has embossments that will bond with the concrete as it is cured and increase the overall strength of the floor.
On the flip side, steel floor decks will not increase the strength of the floor and just act as a form on which you can pour concrete. It has a smooth surface without any embossments and so it will not bond with the concrete as it cures.
Because of this difference, steel floor decks are normally not used for long spans or slabs that are more than 6 inches deep. Composite form decks however are able to support longer spans, and slabs that are up to 7.5 inches deep.
Factors to Choose the Floor Deck Profile
Aside from choosing between steel and composite floor decks, you also need to consider the profile of the deck. Different profiles are designed to different specifications and used in different situations.
To choose the right type of floor deck profile, you should first identify the concrete slab specifications that need to be met that it will support. The three main factors that you need to consider are the depth of your slab, its load, and the span that it needs to cover.
Based on those factors, you can look at the specifications of different types of floor deck profiles. The specifications will normally include the span limit (which is the length that it can support), and the gauge (which is the thickness of the material).
The higher the gauge (i.e. the lower the thickness of the material), the greater the load that it is able to support.
It should be noted that aside from the technical specifications, you should also think about various other factors that may influence your decision. Some of the most important is whether it fits the building footprint shape, and the cost of the floor deck as well as its availability.
On top of that, you may also want to look at the aesthetic appearance of the slab soffit, its ease of installation, and any other services that are provided.
To sum it up, if you want to choose the right type of floor deck you should first decide whether you need it to reinforce the concrete slab (which composite decks will do) or not. Once you’ve answered that question you can then look for profiles that match your requirements in terms of the span, load, and depth of the slab.
If you still aren’t sure about which type is best, get in touch with a floor deck supplier and ask them directly what they think.