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I'm considering using Aluminum (I beams or other shapes) instead of Framing Lumber as the material for the floor joists in a residential remodeling job. The finished floor I intend to support with these joists is traditional hardwood and I would be seeking residential code compliance; nothing more demanding than that.

Can anyone point me to authoritative documents that would allow me to compare the strength (pounds per linear foot), and weight of the two different materials in several shapes (I beam or other)?

I'm certain that Aluminum will have higher strength and lower weight than typical Framing Lumber, but I'd like to see specific numbers.

I'm really just looking to try and get a feeling for options (materials and shapes) and to understand the implications of each option.

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    Shopping questions (e.g. links to suppliers) are off-topic, since they are very region-dependent and change often. I'd remove that portion of your question. Cost considerations are off-topic, too, for the same reasons, although generalizations might be able to be made (e.g., aluminum is / isn't generally more expensive than lumber), so you may need to edit that portion out as well. – mmathis Dec 7 '16 at 16:34
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    Besides being a shopping question, this is actually a question for whoever is engineering your remodel. Locale to locale varies, but from most of what I have seen, anytime you are not just simply replacing the same board for an equivalent product, you need an engineer and inspection. This is not REALLY a DIY question, since it would need professional sign-off in most places where you're changing joists, and therefore loadbearing structures. – BrownRedHawk Dec 7 '16 at 17:29
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    What's driving you to consider aluminum vs traditional framing lumber? Typically, weight of framing members isn't a significant concern for residential construction. Strength is of course, but unless you have a unique restriction on the depth of the joist, typical 2xN joists or engineered I joists or trusses should be adequate. Going to aluminum joists will certainly complicate things - can't nail to them, everything about how you use them will have to be signed off by an engineer - span, placement, cutouts, attachment, etc. – CoAstroGeek Dec 7 '16 at 18:22
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    @Osteoboon Is this for a floating, moving, or flying structure? What is the primary drive to reduce weight? The only place I've seen non-commercial applications like this were for floating houses in TN. – BrownRedHawk Dec 7 '16 at 20:41
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    Whether you use aluminum or steel, there's also a considerable difference in fire performance - metal beams don't burn, but they do fail (often faster than wood) as they get hot, so protecting the framing with insulation is typically required. – Ecnerwal Dec 8 '16 at 4:14

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