Use Higher-Grade Steel Decking to Save Money & Time

steel decking
steel decking

When designing a new building that includes steel decking, general contractors can actually save both time and money by ordering higher-quality steel.

The grade — or quality — of steel is measured with a unit called ksi, or kips (kilo-pounds) per square inch. One ksi is equal to 1,000 psi. The higher the steel’s ksi, the higher its quality and strength.

This more specific unit of measurement replaced a letter-grade system that was in place until 2002. What was Grade E steel, for example, is now 80ksi. A key factor to remember however, when ordering materials for a project, is that there’s no significant price difference between high and low grade steel.

How Does Steel Grade Affect A Roofing Project?

Ksi measures minimum yield strength and refers to the amount of pressure that the fasteners on a steel deck can tolerate before reaching the point of failure. When roofers work with higher-quality steel, they’re able to use fewer fasteners and can use wider rolls of membrane because of increased resistance to wind uplift.

This is good news to general contractors for three reasons:

  1. It reduces material costs.
  2. It speeds up project timelines.
  3. In addition to enabling roofers to install the roof faster and cheaper, the costs of higher-grade steel are on par with lower-grades.

So, Why Would Anyone Use Lower-grade Steel?

Because it is more readily available.

Of the two most common grades of steel (33 and 80 are the most common), 33 is much easier to come by. No GC wants to push back a timeline while waiting for materials. So it is crucial that they request a higher grade of steel early in the design process.

Involving your roofing contractor in the technical requirements of the roof during the bidding process is invaluable. When a roofer recommends higher quality steel, it’s because they’re trying to provide the best product for the best dollar for any particular job.

Higher-grade steel is no more expensive than low-grade steel, but it will save you time and money in the long run. Get out in front of potential supply issues and order quality steel early!

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