Difference Between Non-Composite Form Deck and Composite Floor Deck

When it comes to constructing floors in commercial and industrial buildings, selecting the right type of floor decking is crucial. Floor decking plays a vital role in providing structural stability, load-bearing capacity, and overall durability to the building. Two common options for floor decking are non-composite form deck and composite floor deck

Understanding the differences between these two types can help architects, engineers, and builders make informed decisions to ensure optimal performance and cost-effectiveness in their construction projects. 

Join our floor decking experts from Oates Metal Deck and Building Projects, Inc. as we will delve into the dissimilarities between non-composite floor deck and composite floor deck, exploring their unique characteristics, advantages, and application scenarios.

1.5” Non-Composite Form Deck

1.5” Non-Composite Form Deck

1.5” Composite Floor Deck

9/16” Form Deck (left), 2” Composite Deck (right)

What is a Non-Composite Form Deck?

Non-composite form deck is a type of floor deck product that is used as a concrete form. One notable characteristic of a non-composite form deck is the absence of embossment or shear connector devices. Unlike composite decks, which rely on the interaction between concrete and the steel deck for enhanced structural performance, the primary purpose of a non-composite form deck is to provide a stable platform for the concrete during the construction process.

Form deck is designed to be connected to the frame using the same attachment methods commonly used for floor and roof decks. When working with thin metal sheets measuring less than 0.0280 inches (or less than 22 gauge), it is recommended to use welding washers to ensure secure connections. Form deck is available with a galvanized finish due to its corrosion protection. It is not recommended to pour concrete onto a prime painted deck due to the corrosive reaction between the concrete and paint. 

9/16” Form Deck with rebar - prepping to pour concrete. 

Advantages of Non-Composite Decks

Non-composite form deck offers many advantages, such as: 

  • Versatile applications: Non-composite decks can be used as both floor and roof decks, providing versatility in construction projects. They can accommodate different design requirements and are suitable for a wide range of building types and applications.
  • Ease of installation: These decks are relatively easy to install, requiring standard attachment methods used for floor and roof decks. The simplicity of the installation process can save time and labor costs during construction.
  • Concrete formwork: Non-composite decks serve as effective concrete formwork, providing a stable platform for pouring concrete during construction. This eliminates the need for additional formwork systems, reducing material and labor requirements.
  • Design flexibility: Non-composite decks offer design flexibility, allowing for various concrete thicknesses and types of concrete reinforcement. This flexibility enables customization to meet specific project requirements and structural design considerations.
  • Corrosion protection: Non-composite decks are furnished with a protective galvanized coating, offering corrosion resistance and durability. This extends the lifespan of the deck and reduces maintenance requirements.
  • Compatibility with different finishes: The bottom side of the deck can accommodate various finishes, including paints, coatings, or floor coverings, providing aesthetic options for the final appearance if the bottom of the floor is exposed to viewers. 
  • Fire resistance: Form deck systems provide inherent fire resistance

Suitable Applications for Metal Non-Composite Form Deck

Some of the types of projects that may include the installation of a non-composite floor deck are: 

  • Concrete Slab Construction: Form decks are commonly used as formwork for concrete slab construction. They provide a stable and level platform on which concrete can be poured and shaped. 
  • Mezzanine Floors: Mezzanine floors are intermediate floors added within a building to create additional usable space. Form decks provide a reliable platform for pouring the concrete slab, ensuring a stable and robust mezzanine structure.
  • Equipment Platforms: Form decks are suitable for constructing elevated equipment platforms or raised floors where heavy machinery or equipment needs to be supported. 
  • Staircases and Landings: Form decks can be utilized in the construction of staircases and landings, providing a secure and sturdy foundation for the concrete steps or landings. 
  • Trenches and Tunnels: Form decks are commonly used in the construction of trenches and tunnels where a durable and stable base is required for pouring concrete. The form deck acts as a support system until the concrete sets and provides structural reinforcement to the trench or tunnel.

What is a Composite Floor Deck?

Composite floor deck serves multiple essential purposes. Once installed and securely fastened, it acts as a robust working platform during the construction phase. Furthermore, the deck can assist in stabilizing the structural beams of the building. Most of all, the composite floor deck serves as a concrete form, providing a mold for pouring the concrete slab. Lastly, it reinforces the slab to efficiently bear the anticipated design loads throughout the building's lifespan.

One distinctive feature of composite decks is the inclusion of shear connector devices integrated into the deck itself. These embossments are specifically designed to mechanically lock the concrete and the deck together, creating a composite action. This enables the concrete and deck to work in unison, effectively distributing subsequent floor loads and enhancing structural performance.

The most commonly utilized finish for composite deck panels is galvanized, which involves the application of a protective zinc coating on both sides of the deck. This galvanized finish offers corrosion resistance and durability, ensuring the longevity of the composite floor deck.

During installation, composite floor decks are typically positioned in a manner where the panel ends do not overlap on the supporting beams. This configuration ensures optimal load distribution and structural integrity within the composite system.

1.5” Composite Floor Deck Installed over beams

Advantages of Composite Floor Deck

Composite floor decking comes with several advantages, including: 

  • Ease of installation: These decks are relatively easy to install, requiring standard attachment methods used for floor decks. The simplicity of the installation process can save time and labor costs during construction.
  • Concrete formwork: Composite decks serve as effective concrete formwork, providing a stable platform for pouring concrete during construction. This eliminates the need for additional formwork systems, reducing material and labor requirements.
  • Design flexibility:Composite decks offer design flexibility, allowing for various concrete thicknesses and types of concrete reinforcement. This flexibility enables customization to meet specific project requirements and structural design considerations.
  • Corrosion protection: Composite decks are furnished with a protective galvanized coating, offering corrosion resistance and durability. This extends the lifespan of the deck and reduces maintenance requirements.
  • Compatibility with different finishes: The bottom side of the deck can accommodate various finishes, including paints, coatings, or floor coverings, providing aesthetic options for the final appearance if the bottom of the floor is exposed to viewers. 
  • Enhanced load-bearing capacity: The composite action between the steel deck and concrete slab increases the load-carrying capacity of the floor system, allowing for longer spans and heavier loads.
  • Structural efficiency: Composite floor deck systems maximize the structural efficiency of the floor system, utilizing the strength of both the steel deck and concrete slab in a synergistic manner.
  • Fire resistance: Composite floor deck systems provide inherent fire resistance, enhancing the overall fire performance of the building.
  • Acoustic insulation: Composite floor deck systems can offer improved acoustic insulation, providing a quieter and more comfortable environment.

Suitable Applications for Metal Composite Floor Deck

When it comes to projects that utilize composite floor decking, the options are vast. Here are some examples of the various types of applications composite decking can be used for: 

  • Multi-story buildings: Composite floor deck is ideal for multi-story buildings, where longer spans and higher load-bearing capacities are required to support the vertical loads.
  • High-rise buildings: Composite floor deck is often used in high-rise buildings to withstand the substantial vertical loads and provide structural rigidity.
  • Large-scale commercial and industrial structures: Composite floor deck is well-suited for large-scale structures such as warehouses, manufacturing facilities, and commercial complexes, where strength, durability, and long spans are essential.

Choosing Which Floor Decking is Right for Your Project

When selecting the appropriate floor decking for your project, there are several factors to consider, including the comparison between composite decking and non-composite decking options. 

Load Requirements

Consider the intended use of the space and the anticipated loads to ensure that the chosen decking can handle the required weight without structural issues. While the load capacity of both composite and non-composite decking is the same, when concrete is poured on top of decking, the composite deck with concrete tends to have a stronger capacity for heavy loads than a non-composite deck with concrete. 

Material

Both non-composite and composite decks are made of the same steel properties and galvanized finishes. 

Embossments

Embossments on floor decks refer to the raised patterns or ridges on the surface of the deck. Composite decks have embossments that the concrete adheres to, whereas a form deck does not.

Fire Resistance

Composite and non-composite decks both offer great fire resistance.

Sound Insulation

Consider the sound insulation capabilities of composite and non-composite decking materials. Both provide equal sound insulation. Additional sound dampening materials can be placed along the underside of the deck if noise reduction is a significant concern.

Moisture Resistance

The galvanization coating offers good moisture resistance for composite and non-composite decking.

Cost

Composite deck and form deck are typically the same cost. 

Aesthetics

Composite and non-composite form decks both come with galvanized finishes. The underside of the deck can be painted, providing versatility in achieving desired aesthetics.

Installation

The ease of installation for composite and non-composite decking options is the same.

Contact Your Metal Deck Supplier Today

At our metal deck supply company, we take pride in offering exceptional products and unmatched service. When it comes to non-composite floor deck or composite floor deck, our knowledgeable team is ready to assist you every step of the way. We understand the significance of selecting the right metal floor deck type that aligns with your project's specific requirements, and we are committed to helping you make a decision that will offer you the very best results. 

Contact Oates Metal Deck today by calling 713-475-0427 or filling out our contact form below to get started.