Steel Roof Decking

My wife, Kristin, sometimes gets angry with me while grocery shopping. It’s understandable. She’s asked me to grab some tomatoes or a loaf of bread and instead I’m just standing there looking up at the ceiling. Technically, it’s not a ceiling, but the underside of the roof, and I’m looking up to see the connection detailing, including whether or not the steel roof deck I’m looking at was welded, pinned, or screwed down to the steel joist, beam and angle supports.

If you’re a structural engineer, you might also do this inside your local supermarket, Target, Walmart or The Home Depot. Many of these “big box” stores are typically constructed of tilt-up concrete perimeter walls, tube steel interior columns, and roofs built of steel joists, girders and decking. Though Simpson Strong-Tie is well known in the light-frame wood construction industry, some may not know that we’ve long been developing and selling anchors and fasteners for commercial construction.

Outside of a few dips into a Verco or ASC steel decking catalog from my consulting days in Las Vegas, my first real foray into the steel decking industry was about two years ago. I was asked to assist in representing Simpson Strong-Tie as an associate member at the Steel Deck Institute’s (SDI) quarterly meeting held just down the road in Dallas in November 2011. Since joining SDI, my main focus has been to find out what the industry needs, both from the installer’s and designer’s standpoint for steel deck attachment. Though we’ve had a screw attachment offering for years, my colleagues and I have worked to develop a better overall system which now includes:

Quik Drive(R) PROSD150.

  • The Quik Drive® PROSD150 auto-feed screw driving system for steel decking that can drive either our #12 support screws or #10 or #12 side-lap screws quickly and efficiently. Watch a 20-second video of the system in action here.
  • Multiple support and side-lap screw options available in collated strips or in bulk, with different drill point tips suitable for different material thicknesses and different coatings for multiple environments – see our F-Q-STLDECK14 flier for more information.
  • An easy-to-use Steel Deck Diaphragm Calculator for designing your diaphragm for wind or seismic lateral loads (includes combined shear and tension check, and detailed calculations can be printed on demand). Stay tuned for ongoing upgrades to this web app.
  • A simple system for providing fastener substitution submittals for previously design projects (send us your structural plans or fill in the Steel Decking Submittal Request form)
  • Approval of Simpson Strong-Tie(R) X-series screws for steel deck attachment by inclusion into the Third Edition SDI Diaphragm Design Manual, Appendix VII.
  • Factory Mutual approval #3045651 – FM Global has you register with their RoofNav system to retrieve more information
  • More fastening options in the R&D pipeline to increase shear and uplift diaphragm capacities to meet the needs of the most demanding jobs with cost-effective and innovative solutions

Back to my daydreaming in the grocery store structural analysis of the steel roof system. Have you ever wondered about best practices to design for openings in steel deck diaphragms (say for skylights)? Or about designing for concentrated loads? Or maybe you just want to learn about the roll-forming process or why the underside of deck is typically painted white? If so, you are in luck.

The Steel Deck Institute is presenting a webinar, Designing with Steel Roof Deck on November 13 at 11 am EST. The webinar is intended to expand participants’ knowledge of steel roof deck by introducing them to the benefits, manufacturing processes, shapes, properties, and finishes of this product. The basis of the presentation is SDI’s new Roof Deck Design Manual, which will be provided to participants. Various roof deck design considerations will be explored as well as an overall coverage of fasteners and industry construction practices.

Engineers from CANAM/United Steel Deck and Vulcraft will be presenting. Simpson Strong-Tie will be moderating the webinar and providing two PDHs (0.2 CEUs) for participants. Sign up for the webinar here.


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Paul McEntee

Author: Paul McEntee

A couple of years back we hosted a “Take your daughter or son to work day,” which was a great opportunity for our children to find out what their parents did. We had different activities for the kids to learn about careers and the importance of education in opening up career opportunities. People often ask me what I do for Simpson Strong-Tie and I sometimes laugh about how my son Ryan responded to a questionnaire he filled out that day: Q.   What is your mom/dad's job? A.   Goes and gets coffee and sits at his desk Q.   What does your mom/dad actually do at work? A.   Walks in the test lab and checks things When I am not checking things in the lab or sitting at my desk drinking coffee, I manage Engineering Research and Development for Simpson Strong-Tie, focusing on new product development for connectors and lateral systems. I graduated from the University of California at Berkeley and I am a licensed Civil and Structural Engineer in California. Prior to joining Simpson Strong-Tie, I worked for 10 years as a consulting structural engineer designing commercial, industrial, multi-family, mixed-use and retail projects. I was fortunate in those years to work at a great engineering firm that did a lot of everything. This allowed me to gain experience designing with wood, structural steel, concrete, concrete block and cold-formed steel as well as working on many seismic retrofits of historic unreinforced masonry buildings.

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