Steel strength unpacked: Understanding today’s standards

Steel’s role in construction is fundamental, thanks to its incredible versatility and robustness. However, picking the right type of steel for specific builds isn’t a matter of making an educated guess about what type of steel will “get the job done” –  it’s a process that demands awareness of and adherence to the current standards for steel grade. 

Why standards matter

Not every type of steel fits every job, especially when it involves components like decks and structural accessories that have to bear specific loads. For example, Commercial Steel grade (CS) might be fine for general purposes, but it falls short for deck construction because it doesn’t meet the ASTM standards such as A653 and A1063. These standards are essential as they set the required minimum yield stress and ensure the steel’s coating works well with concrete, preventing problems such as galvanic corrosion. 

Furthermore, steel coatings that contain high levels of aluminum might be prone to hydrogen gas corrosion if they interact with Portland cement. Such reactions are a huge hazard in structural applications, which illustrates the importance of choosing the right materials that are in alignment with prescribed standards. This level of due diligence promises both chemical compatibility and structural integrity.

Sticking to specifications

For key structural elements like roof decks, floor decks, and pour stops, following the ANSI/SDI SD-2022 standards is necessary. These guidelines ensure that all materials used can handle the demands of their roles without fail. Meanwhile, when it comes to non-structural accessories such as closures or flashing, the selection criteria can be more relaxed—here, the focus shifts to the steel’s formability and its ability to maintain flatness.

The assurance of quality

The Steel Deck Institute strongly advocates for the use of mill certificates when sourcing steel for decks. These certificates are not just pieces of paper – they are guarantees that the steel meets the rigorous AISI S100 standard requirements. The steels listed under this standard have gone through extensive testing and years of reliable performance, making them trusted choices for supporting various building needs.

Understanding and adhering to the right standards in steel selection not only fulfills legal and safety requirements but also ensures that every construction project rests on a strong, reliable foundation. Whether it’s a load-bearing deck or a non-structural piece, the correct choice of steel is where every project should start.

For more information on current steel standards, we encourage you to study the ANSI/SDI SD-2022 manual to make sure your materials are the best and safest.

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