Bigger and better in Georgia: steel supports monstrous deck construction

With over 20 years of industry experience, Jason Alloway, owner of the New Castle Building Group and Fortress® Preferred Contractor, is a veteran of building bigger and better decks for Georgia homeowners. As evidence of his hard-earned reputation as a trusted deck builder, Jason’s business is based almost entirely on referrals. To deliver on its promise of adding performance and lasting beauty to custom-built patios and outdoor living spaces, the New Castle Building Group relies on high-quality building products such as steel frames.

When the New Castle Building Group was commissioned to build a huge 850-square-foot deck in Johns Creek, Georgia, Jason knew that a traditional wooden frame wouldn’t be enough. Eventually, the existing wooden frame that prompted the backyard overhaul was sagging, rotting, and was considered unsafe to use. To ensure a solid deck from the ground up, the New Castle Building Group turned to Evolution steel deck frames from Fortress Building Products. As the ideal cover frame solution, Evolution offers performance advantages that wood cannot compete with.

Steel avoids the risk of deterioration

With steel, Jason and his crew can reassure the long-term structural integrity of the Johns Creek Project. Steel resists most tangible threats, including rot and rot from moisture absorption, fungus, pests, and weathering. In use, steel frame profiles stay straight and true over time. This makes for a permanent, dimensionally stable cover frame solution that keeps surface boards flat and smooth underfoot. With that reassurance, Jason and his team can put aside the problems that plagued the homeowner’s old timber framed deck, including deterioration from prolonged exposure to moisture and warping from extreme Georgia temperatures.

Power to boot

The ultimate yield strength of steel is around 10 times greater for all muscles and muscles than for wood. Professional terrace builders like Jason can create luxurious outdoor living scenarios – complete with fully equipped outdoor kitchens, hot tubs, fire pits, and lavish seating areas for family and friends. There is no reason to fear that the added weight of these coveted amenities will result in premature failure of the deck system. To put the power of steel in perspective, the Johns Creek Project was designed for a payload of 200 psf. Building codes require that a residential deck carry a payload of only 40 psf. “It doesn’t get much stronger than that,” says Jason.

The load-bearing capacity of steel is also directly related to its ability to provide larger spans. A steel beam can span up to 16 feet between supports, a distance that is simply not possible with lumber. As a result, Jason and his team were able to frame the massive deck with fewer pieces of material, which in turn resulted in labor savings.

Comprehensive framework systems ensure safe, complete builds

As an attractive quality for large projects, Evolution also supports an uncomplicated deck construction process. The comprehensive frame system includes an intuitive latch and convenient beam lengths for a wood-like installation process.

New lock

According to Jason, however, the real “game changer” is the Evolution steel staircase system. Ordinarily it would take the New Castle Building Group a full day or two to frame the deck stairs. With the constructed steel staircase system, the crew framed the staircase within a few hours. Jason attributes the significant labor savings to the system’s fixed and adjustable stair brackets, which can accommodate various climbing and walking options. In addition, its self-drilling screws ensure maximum strength and security in connections.

The integration of a compatible steel staircase system into the Johns Creek project not only made sense from a work-related point of view, it also circumvents serious safety concerns such as poor connections between cheeks and decks and inconsistent slopes and gradients. These challenges are common with traditional wooden decking, as conventional stair construction requires deck builders to cut pieces of wood by hand – a recipe for miscalculations. These newly introduced steel stair components and brackets make it possible to combine deck frames and stairs for a uniform structure.

looking ahead

Engineered to last as long as today’s durable composite panels, the Evolution steel deck frame will keep this 850 square foot deck structure stable for 25 years or more, protecting the legacy of work and impeccable reputation of the New Castle Building Group.

As a Fortress Preferred Platinum Contractor, Jason and his crew build exclusively with Evolution. “Progressive steel framing systems like Evolution are light years above wooden framed decks – I’m 100 percent convinced that steel is the way to go,” adds Jason.

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