How To Use A Metal Deck Button Punch Tool: A Step By Step Guide
So you’re a contractor and you have a small metal decking job. You do not know what a button punch is, you have no idea how to button punch metal decking, and you do not know where to borrow, rent, or buy a button punch tool. You’re overwhelmed and don’t know where to begin.
Don’t worry this blog will quickly answer all of these questions.
Our staff consists of ironworkers who have experience installing metal decking. Our goal in this article is to take our 30 years of experience in supplying metal decking and pass on the knowledge so that your next metal decking installation goes smoothly.
Our goal in this article is to explain:
A button punch is a tool designed to attach two sheets of metal decking. Steel decking has a male and female sidelap. The button punch will crimp both sheets together. In a roof deck application it increases the diaphragm shear values. When used on a floor deck it keeps the deck from separating during a concrete pour.
How To Use A Button Punch For Metal Decking
Here is a step-by-step guide to button punch metal decking:
- Adjust the button of the tool according to the thickness of the steel. The button should protrude less on thinner gauge steel such as 22 gauge and extend further with heavier gauge steel such as 18 or 16 gauge. If you have a scrap piece of decking use that as a test to set the button of the tool. Otherwise go slow while extending the handles so that you don’t puncture the steel with the button. Once you have the button adjusted it will be the same throughout the job provided the thickness of steel does not change.
- Put the jaws of the button punch over the male/female metal deck side lap.
- Spread the arms of the tool apart until they bottom out and then put them back together. Pay close attention so you don’t puncture the metal decking side lap.
- Slide the jaws of the tool along the metal deck and repeat the process. You don’t want to pick up the jaws of the tool as it’s much quicker to slide it along the sidelap. Never walk backwards.
- Space the distance of the button punches per the specifications within the plans. Most roof deck jobs are button punched 12” to 24” on center and floor deck jobs are typically 36” on center.
The process of attaching two sheets of metal decking with a button punch is quick and simple. You should be able to get 2,500 to 3,500 button punches done in an eight hour day. It’s the same process whether it’s a roof deck such as: 1.5” deep B Deck or 3” deep N-24 or a floor deck such as B-Formlok, W2 Formlok, or W3 Formlok.
There are two key takeaways to remember when using a button punch
- A person of average weight should be able to stand and not jump on the male leg that is adjacent to the sidelap attachment without separation of the joint.
- Do not overcrank on the button punch handles and cause the button to puncture the metal decking. In a canopy application this will reduce weather tightness.
How To Crimp Metal Decking With a Button Punch Tool
Here is a step-by-step guide to crimping metal decking:
- Remove the button of the tool with an allen wrench.
- Put the jaws of the tool over the male/female metal deck sidelap.
- Spread the arms of the tool apart until they bottom out and then put them back together.
- Slide the jaws of the tool along the metal deck and repeat the process. You don’t want to pick up the jaws of the tool as it’s much quicker to slide it along the sidelap.
- Space the distance of the crimps per the specifications within the plans.
- Have a light gauge certified welder execute a top seam weld on topside of the crimp.
The process of crimping metal decking is nearly identical to button punching. The only difference is that you remove the button from the button punch tool. This turns it into a crimping tool. The purpose of a crimp is to smash the male/female sidelap together so that it can be top seam welded.
Where To Get A Button Punch Tool
Purchasing A Button Punch Tool
Button punch tools can be purchased from most metal decking suppliers. We have tried them all and the cheap ones that are less than one thousand dollars will not last very long. The red Deck Demon button punch tool is the one that works best. It’s a heavy duty tool that will last many years. The typical cost for a quality button punch tool is $1,395.
Renting A Button Punch Tool
Button punch tools can be rented from a handful of metal decking suppliers. They are expensive to rent and we would suggest either purchasing a tool or borrowing a tool free of charge. The rental cost for a button punch tool is $350/week.
The Least Expensive Way To Get a Button Punch Tool
Button punching or crimping metal decking is an easy process and once you read the step by step guide and watch the videos you will be a pro. However, it’s expensive to purchase or rent a button punch tool.