How to Plan a Deck with Fortress Evolution Steel Framing

It's been a long, strange year and for the majority of us we've spent it looking out the window and After months and perhaps even years of daydreaming about the perfect backyard relaxation space, we're calling it: 2021 is the year of the new deck!

There's no better time to plan the perfect deck design than now with the just-released Fortress Evolution Steel Deck Framing system! A steel deck framing system developed with cutting-edge technology makes a DIY deck build faster and easier than ever before.

Made from galvanized and powder-coated steel, the Fortress Evolution Steel Framing line delivers a long-lasting outdoor space resistant to damage from moisture, fire, insects, warping, and more! With consistently straight and uniform pieces, Fortress Evolution creates a more straightforward deck frame build than wood with increased strength.

Let Us Design Your Whole Deck for You!

Looking to skip the hustle and bustle of putting together a material list? No worries! Give us a call at 1-888-824-5316 and one of our expert deck designers will do all the hard work for you! In just a few questions, we can plan out all the pieces you need for a completely new deck in one simple purchase.

From the innovative Fortress Evolution Framing and composite decking floor to the beautiful new deck railing system and stunning outdoor deck lighting - our skilled team of deck designers can create a full deck estimate for a gorgeous backyard entertaining space in one quick process.

Planning and designing a dream deck can be easy with the Fortress Evolution Steel Deck Framing system

Determine Your Deck Type

Begin by choosing which type of deck would best suit your home's outdoor space as well as your aesthetic and activity level. Considering this beforehand will ensure that the deck design you select remains on-trend in the upcoming years and continue to suit your style.

Choose from a freestanding, multi-level, wrap-around, or rooftop deck to expand your home's outdoor space. This will influence your build design and material list.

Measure the Distance Along the Home or Structure

Use a tape measure to find the length you want your outdoor living space. This will determine the span and number of Fortress Evolution S-Ledgers needed for your deck design.

Divide your total ledger board length by 8 to find the count of Fortress Evolution S-Ledger pieces necessary for your outdoor space.

Determine the Deck Width Desired

Now that you know how long the deck area will be, decide the outer sections you want for your deck design. Whether choosing a standard rectangular deck area, or a unique hexagonal, curved, or angular shape for your backyard entertaining space take note of how wide you'll want the overall shape to be.

This will determine the Fortress Evolution Beam length and count needed to fulfill your Fortress Evolution material list. The layout will also determine the support post count for your deck frame.

Check the Fortress Evolution Beam Span Chart

Quickly sketch out deck project on a notepad and jot down the measurements you've found next to each segment. Then look into the Fortress Evolution Beam Span Chart on page 45 of the Fortress Evolution installation instructions.

Once you've found the Fortress Evolution Beam Span that works for your DIY deck design, calculate how many Fortress Evolution Deck Support Posts you'll need for your layout. Each post will need an Evolution Post-to-Pier bracket to connect to the deck footing as well as an Evolution Beam-to-Post bracket to attach to the deck beam above.

Count the Number of Evolution Installation Screws You'll Need

With your deck layout planned, the spans and lengths on hand, and the number of Fortress Evolution pieces noted; use the handy Fortress Evolution Screw Calculator to find out how many Fortress Evolution Self-Tapping Screws are needed to build your deck frame.

Sold in packs of 250, Fortress Evolution Installation Screws are a perfect color-matching fastener to securely hold the steel deck framing pieces in place for generations to come.

Final Check for Fortress Evolution Accessories

Woohoo! You've got almost everything you need! Look over your deck layout and the Fortress Evolution installation instructions to check that all of the last bits and pieces are in order. Be sure that enough Fortress Evolution Blocking is on your list for a secure hold. Confirm that the Fortress Evolution End Caps are added to complete the look of your design. Lastly, add on a can of Fortress Evolution Touch-Up Paint to cover any trimmed ends or nicked areas for a clean-looking metal deck frame that will last a lifetime.

Whether quaint and small or multi-level and grand, Fortress Evolution supports your deck build easily

Shop Fortress Evolution

Learn more about the basics of deck framing and building in the Deck Framing Guide and put that building knowledge to good use with Pergola and Porch backyard shade structures for your DIY build!

Browse more ideas to enhance your home's usable outdoor living space to create the perfect area for your family and friends to enjoy! Gain a dry lower-level patio by installing an under-deck drainage system on upper-level decks. Create a late-night relaxation spot with a deck screen system delivering a screened-in porch area. Or design a DIY shade structure such as a pergola or pavilion to add both seating and style to your space.

The more you know, the better your deck and backyard projects will be! Whether you're looking at a brand new start or a fresh end-of-season deck renovation, give our deck designers a call at 1-888-824-5316 or send us an email at Our deck experts will help you get the information, products, and tools you need for a gorgeous deck that you created and designed!