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What Is Cellular Metal Decking? [Definition, Types, & Uses]
Paul Rubio

By: Paul Rubio on August 7th, 2020

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What Is Cellular Metal Decking? [Definition, Types, & Uses]

Metal Deck | Cellular


Do you have a job in which cellular metal decking has been specified? This type of metal decking system is not used that frequently. Before you submit a bid there are a few important things you need to understand. Cellular metal decking isn’t just another type of metal deck. It’s expensive, not readily available, and it serves a completely different purpose than non cellular metal decking.

At Western Metal Deck we’ve been supplying metal decking for over 30 years. It’s our goal to educate our customers on all of the different types of metal decking.

In this article we will cover:

  • What Is Cellular Metal Decking?
  • What Do I Look For In The Specifications?
  • Cost And Lead Times
  • Uses Of Cellular Metal Decking?
  • Types Of Cellular Decking


What Is Cellular Metal Decking?

Cellular metal deck is normal metal decking that has a flat piece of steel welded to the bottom of the panel. It’s available as a roof or floor deck for both acoustical and non-acoustical decking applications.


How Do I Know If Cellular Steel Deck Is Specified On My Job?

Sometimes it can be tricky to tell if the specifications require a cellular metal deck. There are few things to look for:

  1. When you see two different gauges listed next to each other, that’s a clear indication that the job is calling for cellular metal deck. Here’s an example: 18/18 GA. The first number refers to the gauge of the metal decking and the second number is the gauge of the flat plate.
  2. If you have a set of plans and you see the words cellular deck or the initials “CD”. Here’s an example: PLB-36-CD.
  3. The drawing of the metal deck shows a flat plate on the underside.


How Much Does Cellular Metal Deck Cost?

Cellular metal decking costs 2 to 3 times more than the price of a normal metal deck. If the job is under a couple thousand square feet then it could actually end up costing you even more. We recommend you always contact a metal decking supplier to get an accurate cost vs throwing in a guesstimated materials cost.


Cellular Metal Deck Lead Times

Cellular steel decking has a significantly longer lead time then a typical steel decking. It will vary based upon the metal decking supplier, but expect a 12 to 16 week lead time.

Unlike non-cellular metal decking it cannot be found in stock. Cellular metal decking is made on an order by order basis. If you miscalculate and run short for your project then you will be in a difficult position. We recommend that you double check all measurements and even order some extra sheets at the longest required sheet lengths.


Why Should I Use Cellular Metal Decking?

The vast majority of metal decking jobs don’t require cellular metal decking because it costs too much and it’s not readily available. Most jobs that have cellular metal decking specified will be for an acoustical floor deck.


Cellular Acoustical Floor Decking

When you have a floor deck the concrete will fill the top voids of the metal decking. Therefore, you cannot locate the sound absorption batts on the topside of the metal decking as shown below.


Cellular Acoustical Roof Deck


The solution is to take a piece of perforated flat sheet and weld it to the underside of the decking. The factory will then insert the sound absorption batts inside the high void of the floor decking as shown below.


You will see this type of metal decking used on projects where you need to reduce the amount of noise such as: gymnasiums, libraries, theaters, and schools.


Additional Uses Of Cellular Metal Decking

Cellular acoustical floor decking could be used in most applications, but there are some alternate conditions in which cellular decking will be beneficial.

  • The Roof Of A Food Services Facility
    Cleanliness is an important issue when you are preparing food. The flat sheeting that’s located on the underside of the decking is much easier to clean than the open voids of a non cellular deck.
  • Cellular Raceways
    This is an expensive metal deck system that’s located within the concrete slab. It’s purpose is to distribute telecommunications cabling and power throughout the building.


Types And Gauges Of Cellular Metal Decking

Cellular metal decking is available as light as 20 gauge and as heavy as 16 gauge. It’s common to have the steel decking in one gauge and the flat sheeting on the underside in a different gauge. 18/18 is the most common gauge for this product. If the sheeting on the underside of the panel is less than 18 gauge it’s more likely to have a wavy appearance known as oil canning.

Cellular Roof Deck

Cellular roof deck is available in six different panel profiles. It’s available as a Punchlok II system and a button punch side lap decking.

Cellular Floor Deck

Cellular floor deck is available in ten different panel profiles. It’s available as a Punchlok II system and a button punch side lap decking.

Cellular Acoustical Decking

Cellular acoustical decking is primarily used as a floor deck, but is also available as a roof decking. It’s available in all of the standard profiles in both a Punchlok II system and a button punch side lap decking

Do You Need Cellular Metal Decking?

Do you have a job that has specified cellular decking? Learn more about the material specifications on our cellular metal deck product page. Western Metal Deck can help you purchase cellular metal decking for your project. Our experts have been selling and installing metal decking for over thirty years and we’re here to answer any of your metal deck questions.

To continue learning about cellular and everything metal deck related, check out our Learning Center.

If you have a metal decking job that you need to bid on, give us a call or fill out our quick and easy online quote form.

Request A Quote

About Paul Rubio

Paul Rubio is the Vice President and one of the owners of Western States Metal Roofing. He has been in the metal roofing industry for 25 years. WSMR is a manufacturer of metal roofing, wall panels, and metal siding. We have colors and finishes that nobody else has with nearly 100 different colors in stock. Our selection of color options and finishes is likely the largest in the industry.