Residential deck with I-beam construction?

Old 05-30-13, 12:11 AM
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Residential deck with I-beam construction?

Have any of the pros here done residential steel decks or know roughly what a plain-jane steel frame would cost?

We have a 50's ranch and would like to have a rear deck going the length of the house (roughly 45' x 12'). For various reasons I won't go into, the spans need to be 25' and 20' AND I don't want to compromise the space underneath with a high beam (ideally 8", 10" max). Also, if we keep those spans we can take advantage of structural half-walls that are already in place so no new footings would be required.

Out of curiosity we started looking at steel and found some really sharp designs integrating exposed I-beam structures with wood elements on the stairs, railings, etc.

Cost now enters the equation and this is where curiosity kills the cat... online, one can configure a freestanding "mezzanine" this size and have it delivered for about $20k-- ready to assemble complete with brackets, screws, steps, railings, powder-coating, and with steel decking ready for flooring. I would never order such a thing but I'm thinking this could be a rough cost of something locally sourced-- about $35/sqft. Am I nuts? Granted, it still needs decking and is very plain-jane without any design elements but structure wise, it seems like a good deal even when you add in several days labor to assemble.

Is a residential deck very different from a mezzanine in the commercial world? I've seen $30/sqft thrown around for wood decks so I was a little surprised by the steel figure coming in relatively close.

Any pitfalls/tips regarding going with steel? I know there is light gauge steel too but something appealing about the I-beams... just not sure of the cost...
Old 05-30-13, 01:09 AM
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An option to consider would be having an engineer design the thing for you, then shop around for material prices from local steel fabricators. It's been too many years since I was active in the business, but when I left (in 1999), fabricated steel was going for around $3 a pound for the simple stuff. Go with weathering steel, and you'll never have to paint it, allowing the natural, rust-colored patina to do its thing.

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