Southern Bleacher completed our first welded stadium decking project in 2001 and has completed many projects since that time. The welded system was added in response to other bleacher manufactures trying to develop a system to compete with our Interlock 2000+ Decking. We have confirmed that the welded system is inferior to the Interlock 2000+ system in many performance categories. As such we will recommend Interlock 2000+ system in substitution for welded decking as it is far and away superior and enhances the function and aesthetics of the stadium without increased cost implications.
If you are considering a welded deck system, it's important to understand factors that can impact your stadium project.
Typically the word welded indicates strength. However, in this application, the welded joint is a non-structural and is simply there to join two tongue and groove planks together. With Interlock decking, the specially designed plank locks together to provide a superior connection to the adjoining deck boards. Additionally the logistical requirements with welded deck boards only permits them to be welded into groups. In wider areas, such as a front walkway or ramps there will be joints that are not welded, allowing differential movement and fluids to penetrate through the decking. With Interlock decking, planks are joined together regardless of the width of the area. Due to these interlocking planks, the Interlock 2000+ provides a superior deck stiffness (rigidity).
For projects in which the issue of having rainwater, spilled drinks and other moisture collect top-side is a minor consideration, welded stadium decking offers some re-routing of fluids.
Unlike the Interlock 2000+ system, which lets water drain through planks to a channel system below the decking, welded decking keeps fluids on the topside of the decking and cascades it forward to the front of the stadium.
Many project specifications for welded deck indicate risers attached with screws, rivets, or “double lock,” which is just another term for through bolting the vertical riser under the seat. All of these items are counter intuitive to the premise of a deck system intended to reduce fluids from reaching the area below the stadium. Interlock 2000+ does not employ any though bolting for any part of the decking system.
Welded stadium decking can also be an effective system in climates with minimal shifts in temperature from season to season. Because aluminum is highly responsive to temperature, even a change from 60 degrees to 90 degrees can cause planks to expand and contract.
Precision manufacturing and welds could mitigate these shifts if all planks responded uniformly. Since they don't, decking welded into one-piece tread panels may show weakness, deterioration or failure at welded seams if local temperatures rise and fall throughout or between seasons. Additionally, these thermal loads are also applied into seats, intermediate steps and handrails attached to the decking / support structure and the welded deck must be designed to resist these loads and not fail.
For projects that potentially allow for other decking solutions, Southern Bleacher can gladly provide a welded stadium decking quote as well as alternate quotes based on Tongue and Groove and/or Interlock 2000+ Decking.
In our experience, these decking systems offer huge savings without compromising any of the qualities for which customers may be interested in welded decking.
Both Tongue and Groove and Interlock 2000+ decking systems provide safety and rigidity equal to or superior of welded stadium decking and allows for full thermal expansion/contraction.