Like plywood, but weatherproof


Looking for something to use as a simple unattached 'floor' for on a fire escape. Needs to be rain-proof of course. A big sheet of 1/8" aluminum would probably do it, but I have a feeling that there are cheaper ways. Anyone know of anything?
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wrote:

indoor outdoor carpet would work. I don't know anything about what codes it might violate.
Jim
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There are various composites that come similarly sized to plywood butthey are not cheap either. PT plywood is probably the cheapest.
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On Thu, 3 Jun 2010 05:00:35 -0700 (PDT), jamesgangnc

I presume that PT means "Pressure Treated" and it's the same thing that is referred to as CCA. The arsenate treatment sounds quite ominous, but I may be able to get the lumberyard to cut it. I believe it's $45/sheet for a 4x8, but I'll have to confirm that it's the same stuff (I was expecting higher cost).
So the stuff won't warp and fall apart when it gets wet, eh? Sounds good so far, aside from the concerns about water pooling and possibly code.
Thanks to everyone's recommendations (thanks!), I found this: http://www.naturalhandyman.com/iip/infxtra/infpre.html
It mentions Wolman water repellant: http://www.wolman.com/product_detail.asp?ProductID=7
Anyone know of alternatives? I can't find that locally.
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Unattached floor sounds like a really bad idea. Remember, rain has to go through this thing too. Pooled water can get pretty slippery. Rushing out of a burning building, slipping on the fire escape doesn't sound like my idea of fun. ...for the FD, either.
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wrote:

I could get away with enough slant to drain the rain water, but the existing metal gets very slippery when it's wet. Probably moreso than the ply surface. Thanks for mentioning that though. Better to address that before doing anything. I'm sure someone makes some kind of spray-on texturing compound.
Or if there's a better material that would allow water to drain, that would be perfect.
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How about corrugated steel or iron bars, like most fire escapes are constructed from? As someone here said, it's not a party deck. It's there to save your life, not end it (or the fireman's).
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Re Like plywood, but weatherproof:

Exterior grade plywood would work for this. <http://www.lowes.com/SearchCatalogDisplay?storeId151&langId=-1&catalogId051&N=0&newSearch=true&Ntt=exterior+plywood&x=0&y=0>
--
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wrote:

Whatever you choose, don't lose sight of the function of a fire escape. Don't modify a fire escape with anything that is flammable, or might become slippery when wet, or allow buildup of snow.
A fire escape is NOT a porch for a barbecue and chairs.
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snipped-for-privacy@dog.com wrote:

Amen to that. Even if the neighbor above doesn't care, the landlord and fire inspector probably will. Leaving ANYTHING sitting around in an escape path rates a warning at a minimum, and a ticket if the inspector is pissed at you. They can even write up flowerpots on the sill of an egress window next to the fire escape, or furniture blocking access to the window.
--
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There are metal grating made for outdoor stairs. If you ever have to actually use the fire escape, that couple of bucks can cost you a lot of problems. Grating can get ice, but it won't get snow buildup on it if you are in the snow belt. Don't cheap out on life saving equipment.
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The snow/ice issue is a very good point. He should also check what the local codes say is required before spending any money. To get a metal grate fabricated to size isn't going to be cheap and better to do it right.
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On Thu, 03 Jun 2010 07:12:39 -0700, Smitty Two

Thanks for the various opinions about this. It appears that some kind of metal grating would be the best and safest. I figured that I need two pieces of flat metal plate, perforated or not. If perforated, they'd need to be relatively small holes, like 1/2" diameter or so.
Problem is that they're odd sizes, so I'd need to get them cut. About 4-1/2 feet square. Is there a good place to mail order something like that?
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VM wrote:

If you live in a town with fire escapes that big, there is a metal job shop somewhere near you. Only question is if they do retail custom work. A heavy gauge of expanded metal mesh, or any of several different kinds of outdoor-rated nonskid decking, would do what you needed. Look in Yellow Pages under fire escapes, scaffolding, industrial supply, etc. It will be too heavy to mail, or too large. If you do not have a vehicle, you will need an understanding cab driver, and an old blanket to wrap it up in. Don't forget to have the fabricator smooth or wrap somehow, any cut edges. Something that would be easier to get home would be lengths of pierced steel planking, if you can find any thin enough, and they have some way to clip or bolt them together to make up larger panels.
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wrote:

Unfortunately haven't yet found one that does small jobs like this.

I appreciate the key phrases above. That's one of the things that made the search more difficult. "Sheet metal" comes up with a lot of misdirects.

I had no idea there was such a thing as 'steel planking'. Also worth a look. Good idea about the blanket, etc.
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wrote:

size. You really want expanded metal "catwalk" material.
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On Tue, 15 Jun 2010 22:53:02 -0400, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

I haven't found a local sheet metal fab place. There were two close by but now defunct. Seems to be a trend.
Some vendors on ebay sell large pieces of metal plate with relatively low shipping charge. That's what implanted the idea for mail order. But the sellers I checked just had stock sizes.
The keyword "catwalk material" may help. Thanks.
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