A recent Houzz survey reports that 1 in 5 homeowners who underwent home renovations in the last year made exterior upgrades to their property. Breaking it down further, 1 in 8 of those weekend warriors funneled their energy into a complete deck overhaul. With the rising popularity of DIY home improvement projects in today's ever-evolving landscape, these statistics will only continue to climb.
If you're like Houzz survey respondents, upgrading your outdoor space with a new deck may be the answer to elevating your stay-at-home experience. A deck addition will help you maximize your usable square footage by extending your living area beyond the indoors. And not to worry, when it comes time to sell your home, deck renovations can recoup up to 90% of their cost, according to HGTV's "Top 15 Home Updates."
Before your project gets underway, it's necessary to consider the type of building materials you'll need to tackle this major upgrade. Your first inclination might be to track down deck board samples from your local home improvement store. While important, make sure not to overlook what kind of foundational materials will support the decking system itself. At one point in time, lumber was the only type of product available for use. However, since lumber typically starts deteriorating after 10 years in service, builders and homeowners alike may want to consider an alternative solution. Light-gauge steel framing, a lasting alternative to short-lived wood framing, can help you create your dream outdoor living space. It will also defend against a spendy decking overhaul later down the road.
Here are three tried-and-true ways steel framing can help you build a dream deck on a foundation that lasts:
1. Lends to longevity
If you're looking to assemble a long-lasting deck, composite and PVC deck boards are likely at the top of your list, and with good reason. Their UV- and moisture-resistant properties, for one, offer protection from the irreversible effects of weathering. In fact, a growing number of manufacturers now back the performance of their surface boards with impressive 25-year-plus warranties. But why install 25-year deck boards on a frame that is subject to deterioration?
To avoid the headache of replacing your entire deck structure when the wood frame can no longer serve as adequate support, look to steel framing. Light-gauge steel offers commercial-grade strength and can last as long as today's enduring PVC and composite deck boards. What's more, steel sidelines problems associated with moisture absorption, one of the most common reasons for lumber decomposition. And, because steel doesn't warp with changes in temperature, the sturdy frame profiles remain straight and true over time. This makes for a more enduring, dimensionally stable solution that keeps deck boards flat and smooth underfoot.
2. Makes safety a top priority
With your deck in use for much of the year, lives are on the line if your deck structure fails. With such high stakes, safety should be top of mind when building your dream deck. Fortunately, building with light-gauge steel allows you to avoid any risk of deterioration that can threaten the integrity of your deck system, including rot and decay from water, fungi and pests.
"When built right, framing is the supporting structure that is unseen and unappreciated. But, if homeowners use an insufficient building material, their entire decking project can be compromised," said Toby Bostwick, VP of Product and Brand at Fortress Building Products. "The inherent strength and stability of steel framing will support a deck build and ensure a long-lasting foundation that will serve families for years to come."
You can take additional "steps" towards ensuring the integrity of your deck framing system by integrating a steel deck staircase into your renovation. Steel framing deck structures with a compatible staircase sidelines safety challenges rampant in older decks, such as miscalculations, poor stringers to deck connections and inconsistent rises and runs. These freshly introduced steel stair components and brackets make it possible to marry your deck framing and stairs for one unified build.
3. Supports design freedom
To create a deck with lasting style from the bottom up, look for a manufacturer that offers a comprehensive, ready-to-assemble steel framing system. Whether you're a weekend warrior or hiring a deck builder, integrated framing products will make it easy for you to construct a dream deck without compromising your family's safety.
To help you achieve your desired aesthetic, these steel deck framing systems can work with any type or brand of decking, including composite, PVC, aluminum, tile, wood and tropical hardwoods. With this amount of design flexibility, your backyard can look like a continuation of your interior hardwood floor, sweeping your family from indoors to out without interruption.
Dream big and build strong
Ready to turn your dream deck into a reality? Armed with steel deck framing, you can support those beautiful new surface boards for 25-plus years. And in building strong with steel, you will create a deck that invites you to stay home.