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David, while I can't really offer any suggestions relative to what type of decking you could install to reduce the heat situation, I can tell you that aluminum is a fairly poor conductor of heat and therefore would NOT contribute to the overall temperature on your deck. I have taken a section of our aluminum joist and placed it in the sun for several hours during the heat of the day and was able to pick it up with my bare hands.
I suspect the only thing you might be able to do to mitigate the suns effect would be to create some sort of shade either with a pergola, gazebo or awning. Even very light colors get hot under direct exposure to the sun.
I haven't seen anything in here about the temperature of the decking. Here in Alabama where we have had too many days this summer with temps of 99° F and heat indices of 110° F, how hot would an aluminun deck be? I walked out on to my wood deck to water the flower boxes and jumped back indoors after only a few steps to look for my sandals. I'd really like to find something that would replace the deck planking, as mine is starting to splinter from age and wear. I am to the point I am about to consider replacing the decking.
For those whom I know will be kind enough to offer suggestions, my deck is all wood (so far,) 16' X 20', and on the east side of the house, where the shade starts at 2:30 in the afternoon and covers the deck by 5:30 or 6:00.
There are so many materials that can be used for decks and other outdoor spaces. Choosing the suitable one needs a bit of information to help you choose well. http://www.bclumberstore.com is source of quality materials anddesign tips for your decks.
Brian, thanks for responding. How about lifetime costs? It says on your website that the upfront costs may be 25 - 35% higher than a comparable wooden deck. It would be interesting to know how long it takes that initial expenditure to pay for itself. I'd imagine it wouldn't be hard to calculate with some estimates of maintenance cost and the difference in expected lifetime.
Also, what about sustainability? Your website says "safe, strong, sustainable" but it would be interesting to know how it stacks up against wood in that regard. Wood is a renewable material; aluminum is a recyclable material; it would be good to know how they compare. There has been some discussion on this site about the sustainability of aluminum.
Dave, as one of the people at SigmaDek intimately involved with the development of the product since its inception, I'd like to address your comment/concern vis-a-vis noise when walking on an aluminum deck substructure. This matter was dealt with very early on in and thouroughly addressed in our risk register. We engineered a proprietary clip which results in a very robust and secure relationship between the deck board and our SigmaDek substructure. It also provides a much quicker installation time which will be appreciated by the person doing the actual construction. SigmaDek was designed to be deck board neutral thus allowing the consumer to choose the look and features they preferred in a deck board along with the integity of the SigmaDek substructure. Having walked on numerous SigmaDek test decks, I can assure everyone that there is NO perceptable difference in the sound between a wood constructed deck and the SigmDek substructure. I would invite anyone to visit our website www.sigmadek.com to further their understanding of our unique system and attendent benefits as well as view a timelapse video. Thanks everyone for your very encouraging comments and look forward to SigmaDeks immanent launch.
This is a great example of a material option that might be overlooked simply as a result of convention. Most decks are made of wood simply because most decks are made of wood, not necessarily because it's the best material. As engineers, we should constantly be challenging this type of thinking. Maybe the material which is conventionally used is the best one, maybe not - what are the pros and cons? Engineering education is supposed to encourage this kind of critical thinking; how often it succeeds in that goal is probably a question for another thread.
One issue which I didn't see discussed in the article was noise. Obviously a noisy deck could be a nuisance to a neighborhood. Rain on an aluminum deck would sound very different from rain on a wooden deck. Even walking on the deck with hard shoes could be loud depending on how it is designed. These issues could be addressed through testing and simulation.
I'd also like to see a detailed cost breakdown. I could imagine that the lifetime costs of an aluminum deck would be lower due to the lower amount of maintenance required, but would like to see what the numbers say.
Another interesting question would be the environmental impact. Is it possible that aluminum is actually the green option? After all, it is a recyclable material.
Finally, as a metallurgist, I'd like to know more about the castings. Some photos of the castings would be nice. I'd also like to know the alloys used, surface treatment, etc.
Overall, this is an interesting article which will hopefully get engineers thinking about non-traditional material options, not just for their decks. This is exactly what I read Design News for.
We looked at a number of sources to determine this year's greenest cars, from KBB to automotive trade magazines to environmental organizations. These 14 cars emerged as being great at either stretching fuel or reducing carbon footprint.
A quick look into the merger of two powerhouse 3D printing OEMs and the new leader in rapid prototyping solutions, Stratasys. The industrial revolution is now led by 3D printing and engineers are given the opportunity to fully maximize their design capabilities, reduce their time-to-market and functionally test prototypes cheaper, faster and easier. Bruce Bradshaw, Director of Marketing in North America, will explore the large product offering and variety of materials that will help CAD designers articulate their product design with actual, physical prototypes. This broadcast will dive deep into technical information including application specific stories from real world customers and their experiences with 3D printing. 3D Printing is