ASK D-MAC: My deck was dented when it was unloaded from the truck. Do I need to replace it?

•Edge of deck bundle damaged in transit
• Deck end bent during transit

Before we get to the answer, it is important to remember that even though everyone knows that steel deck is beautiful and may work very well in both a structural and architectural capacity, the product and the manufacturing, handling, and shipping processes were all designed around structural utility and not architectural aesthetics.

This is reflected in the official industry positions maintained by the Steel Deck Institute (SDI) and its member companies. For example, the SDI has always maintained that oil canning (waviness in flat surfaces of the deck) “shall not be a cause for rejection of steel deck products.” The industry is basically saying that metal deck does not need to look good when it leaves the factory for it to perform its intended function.

In the 2014 Code of Standard Practice Section 3.1 Product Quality, the SDI also states that

The following shall not be cause for rejection of steel deck or accessories:

3.1.1 Oil Canning

3.1.2 Denting or crushing due to shipping, storage, or installation that does not adversely affect the structural performance of the deck or deck accessory.

3.1.3 Damage to primer or other surface coating that can be repaired…

The key question raised in 3.1.2 is “how much damage will adversely affect the structural performance”?

If you read all of your ASK D-MAC emails, you may recall that for 1.5” roof deck, the SDI holds that no reinforcement or repair is necessary for holes or dents that are less than 6” in diameter and do not impact more than two vertical webs. Read more about replacing decks here.

Unfortunately, there are no “rules” like this for composite floor deck. Research has shown that composite floor deck that is damaged but does not fail during the concrete pour performs just as well in service as undamaged floor deck. However, shoring may be required to ensure that the deck holds the wet concrete during construction. In this case, it may be more cost-effective to replace a few damaged sheets than to construct shoring that was not originally included in the design. Consult with the project engineer to determine the best remedy.

If you choose to repair the damage shown above, these images show what can be achieved with hand tools and minimal effort.

• Same bundle after repairing edges with hammer
• Same deck end after simple repair using pliers

In conclusion,

1. Metal deck is a durable structural product that retains its load-carrying capacity in spite of minor dents, damage, or penetrations.

2. Metal deck only needs to be replaced if the damage is severe enough to impact its structural performance, which is clearly defined for 1.5” roof decks, but requires engineering judgement for floor decks.

3. Many dents and dings caused by handling can be easily repaired using a hammer and pliers.

4. If your project utilizes steel deck in an architectural application, D-MAC can help, but we

a. need to know WHEN YOU PLACE YOUR ORDER so that we can provide additional packaging to minimize damage from handling, and

b. HIGHLY recommend that you provide the architect and owner with the information contained here so that everyone knows exactly what to expect from this structural product.

As always, please ASK D-MAC if you have any concerns about your steel deck!