Floor decking includes all types of structural decking materials that are used as walkway surfaces. Most products are made of wood, plastic, metal or composite materials. Wood decking is relatively inexpensive, but requires frequent maintenance and repairs. Plastic decking costs more than wooden decking, but provides a longer service-life and requires less maintenance. Plastic floor decking may look artificial, however, and can expand and contract with significant changes in temperature. Metal decking is more expensive than either wood or plastic materials, but is well-suited for demanding applications in industrial environments. Composite decking is more expensive then wood, but less expensive than plastic or metal. Like plastic and metal decking, however, composite decking requires less maintenance than wood decking. Composite floor decking may stain or strain. Cleaning methods vary with the wood component.
Plastic decking or plastic lumber is usually made from high-density polyethylene (HDPE) or low-density polyethylene (LDPE). Some floor decking suppliers also offer products made of polystyrene (PS) or polyvinyl chloride (PVC). Others sell plastic lumber made from different types of recycled plastics. To improve the performance of these materials, floor decking suppliers may reinforce plastic lumber with fiberglass or resins. Typically, fiberglass is used to increase the load-bearing capacity of floor decking. The amount of recycled content varies widely, and single-polyethylene-resin products are considered to be environmentally preferable.
Steel deck is a type of floor decking made from cold-formed, corrugated sheets and supported by steel joists. Some deck profiles come with embossments that are designed for use with concrete slabs. Others have perforated web elements that reduce noise reverberation if strips of fiberglass insulation are installed. Typically, floor decking that is made of steel is treated with zinc and tested according to published standards from organizations such as the American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM), the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI), or the Steel Deck Institute (SDI). Dimensions and physical properties for floor decking made of steel include nominal thickness, design thickness, overall depth, weight, allowable reaction, section modulus, and moment of inertia. For types of steel decking with different nominal thicknesses, suppliers may list values for single, double, and triple spans in tabular form.