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Category Archives: service

Conventional decking approximates curves using multi­sided straight panels. Circular or curved decking is a beautiful novelty and so much more elegant to see. Trex decking technology can produce clean, durable curved wood railings and floor pieces. These assemble into gently curved decks or circular decks that have a sharply distinctive look and feel.

If you look at it from a cultural perspective, people are deeply aware of the luxury that traditionally surrounded the curve in home design. Curved wood and other building materials have been expensive enough to drive their image into the realm of unaffordable romance.

What has, historically, been called a balcony has a special place in home design. Balconies and decks break the monotony indoor living. A home can feel like a cage or a box if it does not offer the interruption of a preview of nature. Beautiful decks add luxury and romance to a home.

Stairways are a necessary lifeline of any home. They need to be a top priority in designing any deck. Stairways can go way beyond the merely useful and take on a romantic air if they are gracefully curved.

Expensive Wood Curving:

Curving wood railing is very expensive, time­consuming and risky. The process of curving wood is a delicate process of making small “kerfed” cuts into the wood to allow it to bend, or gluing layers of plywood lumber together and forcing the relatively inflexible material into a guide until the material adapts to the contrived shape.

When the kerf cutting is used to allow the wood to be bent or curved, the wood should never be exposed to the elements. When nails are driven through a kerf cut rim into joists, only about 3/8ths inch of solid material is secured. This doesn’t take long to rot. The nails will pull through and the fasteners will release if the wood is stressed. Joints through kerf cuts are weak. The nail only has about 1 inch of space to flex. It will carry very little load.

Curved decks made of glued plywood are often structurally unsound as well. Exterior plywood is not made to be exposed to the elements. It is made of thin layers of soft wood like spruce, pine or fir and a water­resistant adhesive. Voids in the adhesive allow moisture to penetrate. The plywood is likely to deteriorate in a few years.

The process of curving deck material:

The Trex custom curve technology employs proprietary decking materials, especially suited for curvature, a 295 degree hybrid propane­electrical heating/steaming device, and systems of guides and clamps to shape the curved deck material. The decking material is placed in the heated chamber to soften it and increase its flexibility. When the lumber is steamed, the curve can be shaped using the guide system, and will retain the curve when cooled.

The Material:

Trex composite decking is an environmentally sustainable material, made of 95 percent recycled wood and sawdust, as well as recycled plastic, paper and cardboard. Trex uses about 100,000 tons of waste polyethylene plastic each year and claims to keep 200,000 tons of plastic and hardwood scraps out of landfills annually.

Over 120,000 pieces of recycled packaging bags, overwraps and the like can be used to create 500,000 square feet Trex decking. The raw materials are mixed with a pigment and preservative. The mixture is heated, formed into a board shape, then cooled.

In 2009, Trex introduced a “Transcend” line of decking. The extruded board includes a shell around the board on three sides to protect the board from staining, fading and scratching. Because of the shell, the decking material is soap and water washable and virtually maintenance free for years.

Variety of Curved Decks:

Curved decks were rare until recently. Traditional craftsmen were working long, expensive hours making kerf cuts or laminating multiple layers of plywood materials to make curved railings. In moist climates, the kerf cuts would rot, the lamination would weaken, and the curved boards would start coming apart.

The advent of composite materials has seen a blossoming of curved arcs dramatically cantilevered over support beams. There are graceful curved railings efficiently constructed of composite materials, decking with multiple curves swinging in and out around homes, decks that mimic ground terrace patterns around curved pools or fountains. There are circular decks that build a sense of intimacy. There are deck pathways leading out into lawns. There is even curved or circular flooring with inlays of different shades or colors.

Dramatic decks have curved stairways reaching to them from different angles. There are romantic circular stairways that connect levels of a deck, or even connect two stories of a larger home. With so many styles of staircases to choose from, the ones that are strikingly different from all the rest are the ones that are spiral in shape, With modern materials, this kind of fashion can be within reach.

Radial Decks:

Often curved decks surround radially arranged flooring. The flooring radiates outward in a cylindrical shape from a center point. This arrangement can be very interesting visually as it emphasizes the curvature of the railing. The radial pattern can be the opportunity to add subtle color to the planking to emphasize the extraordinary nature of a radial deck. Modern composite materials come in a wide variety of hues and shades.

Woodcraft Design and Build, the deck builders of Michigan, are a full service design and build company specializing in custom decks, revitalizing existing decks, screened porches and enclosures in the Detroit area.

Please contact us for more information.

Category Archives: service

A warped and discolored deck is more than just an eyesore. It can be dangerous. Rotted wood, protruding nails and splintered boards can all contribute to accidents. At the very least, they can prevent you from enjoying a carefree, barefoot summer. However, the reality is that most homeowners are juggling a budget, trying to prioritize which home improvement project is most important. When it comes to decks, the option of resurfacing often arises instead of completely rebuilding. Resurfacing an existing structure with a high-quality, low maintenance alternative, like Trex decking is doable under the right circumstances. How do you know whether a resurface or a rebuild is right for you? Let’s compare both options.

Can I Resurface?
The biggest advantage to resurfacing is the cost savings. However, a resurface may not be possible if your deck’s substructure and framing has been compromised. It is not unusual for the top decking to receive the most wear and tear. It receives the brunt of the elements. If the walking surfaces of your deck are worn, but the foundation is still in good shape, you are a candidate for a resurface. You could simply replace the surfaces and deck railings for a completely new and appealing deck.

However, it is important to get an expert opinion. Have a professional inspect your substructure and foundation. Failing to do so could result in wasting thousands on a resurface only to have to rebuild again in a short period of time. Here are some of the areas that will be inspected.

  • Footings. Determining if your structure is sound starts at the very bottom. Footings that are too shallow to start with often rise above grade when the deck warps over time. Warping often occurs with the drastic temperature changes experienced in Michigan.
  • Wood Framing. Was your deck built with treated wood to start with? If so, it may still have years of life. If not, it is best to start over. However, whether your wood was treated or not, if it appears soft or can easily be penetrated with a screwdriver, it is best to start over. Your inspector will pay close attention to the wood posts and will probably dig down to inspect where the posts meet the footing.
  • Structural Integrity. Your deck may appear sound. However, there are specific framing sizes and spans that must be followed to make the structure safe. This is one big reason most municipalities require homeowners to get a building permit before adding a deck. Especially if you inherited your deck and are unsure who originally installed it, you’ll want a professional to check its structural integrity.
    Once you’ve determined if a resurface is right for you, here are some of the benefits you will enjoy.
  • Speed. Resurfacing can often be done in a matter of days. You will be able to enjoy your new outdoor space in no time.
  • Flexibility. It’s true that a resurface limits you to using the existing lines of the substructure. However, there is still much flexibility. Trex decking offers a variety of colors. Mix and contrast railings and walkways. Add a fire pit, hot tub, built-in seating, new planters or any number of creative ideas to create a space that looks completely different from the old one.
  • Lower Costs. Resurfacing can literally save thousands. But, you’ll get the same beautiful finished product and curb-appeal.

When to Rebuild
If your professional inspection determines your substructure and framing have been compromised, you must rebuild. Rotted, soft or infected wood must be replaced to protect your investment and your safety. Even if the substructure is sound, many still decide to rebuild to ensure they get many years of use out of their Trex investment. Using Trex decking on the surfaces and railings will certainly give you years of low-maintenance enjoyment. However, your Trex investment will still be resting on wood that will need to be maintained. Otherwise, you’ll eventually end up with a rotten substructure. Even with proper maintenance, it’s inevitable that the Trex part of your deck will outlive the wooden structure. Starting over gives you the opportunity to build better from the foundation up. Trex decking isn’t susceptible to rot, mold, termites, carpenter ants or even the weather elements that decrease the lifespan of wood.

Another huge incentive to opt for a rebuild is the freedom to design the perfect space. Change the size or shape of your deck. Get creative with a unique design that includes curved decking. Add an outdoor fireplace or even a kitchen. Create a special place for the kids to play, complete with a kiddie pool and slide. The options are limitless when you are starting from scratch.

Why Use Trex Decking
Whether you decide resurfacing or rebuilding is the way to go, using Trex decking will brighten your home, increase its value and give you years low-maintenance enjoyment. Trex decking is both versatile and durable. The color sections allow homeowners to customize a look that is unique for their family.

The bottom line? Resurfacing is definitely an option. However, rebuilding is the only way to guarantee you’ll get decades of life out of your Trex deck investment. Talk to the experts at Woodcraft Design & Build to determine which is best for you. Our team has been transforming outdoor living spaces in Southwest Michigan for over 30 years. We understand what is needed to build a durable, long-lasting structure that is able to withstand the harsh climate in our area. Contact us for a free estimate.

Category Archives: service

The reasons to add a deck to any property are clear. From the additional space to host guests and the increase in home value to the aesthetic appeal and relatively low-cost, homeowners who choose to add a deck when faced with the decision about how to spend funds they have allocated toward home improvement projects are making a rewarding decision. From there, the choice becomes less clear for some, especially first time home owners whose experiences with decks may be limited to the wood structures they recall from childhood homes. When adding a deck for the first time, however, choosing composite Trex Decking is often the best way to go. Below are 7 reasons to trust a new deck to Trex.

1. Trex is long-lasting. When compared to decks built from wood, composite decks have a considerably long life. Unlike decks constructed only out of wood, composite decks, which contain a vinyl and other recycled materials in addition to wood last stand up better to the elements. Rain, wind and the sun’s rays all take a higher toll on wood than they do on composite.

2. Trex requires less maintenance. Composite decking was specifically designed as an answer to the complaints about traditional wooden decks. One frequently shared complaint is over the amount of maintenance a wood deck requires over time in order to maintain an attractive appearance. This includes attention to cracks, mold, splintering and rotting. Composite decking, on the other hand, requires relatively little maintenance. Splintering, rotting, mold and annual staining or sealing are not serious concerns for homeowners who choose Trex decking. While minimal surface mold and stains can occur with composite decks, both issues are quickly and easily addressed by cleaning the deck with simple household cleaning solutions and a gentle brush. When compared to the hours and even days of work it can take to stain, sand and power-wash a deck made of wood, the choice is a no-brainer. When it comes to splintering composite decks do not present any problem at all, making them an excellent choice for homes where the bare feet of children are likely to be paying a visit. An added bonus for families who like to kick off shoes when lounging outdoors? Trex decks do not overheat like their wooden counterparts.

3. Trex decks retain a uniform color. Color uniformity is one of the most popular reasons that homeowners choose Trex. Since the composite material is a uniformly mixed batch, every single board looks he dame as the one next to it. This is an enormous advantage over wooden decks, which, if not sealed and stained regularly, are susceptible to fading into a dusty silver-grey color.

4. Trex is naturally resistant to pests and rot. Wood decking has to be treated to be made resistant to pests. This is typically done by infusing it with heavy metals, such as arsenic, and pesticides, during a pressure treating process. As the wood deteriorates over time, these treatments can become dangerous for children and animals as well as adults. Going without these treatments leaves wood vulnerable to pest invasions. Composite decking, such as Trex, on the other hand, is naturally resistant to pests as well as to fungi and decay as a result of both the materials used to construct it and the process used to manufacture it.

5. Trex decking is always being improved. Unlike wood, which is a natural substance that remains unchanged and unchangeable over time, composite decking can constantly be improved over time. Research and development teams are continually working to solve problems and to improve the product. This has resulted in advances in how the product looks, making composite more wood-like in appearance since it was first introduced, as well as helping to keep colors brighter and more even. This means that when homeowners choose Trex they can rest assured that they are getting the best possible product that is the result of the most up-to-date research, manufacturing techniques and materials.

6. Trex is environmentally friendly. Building a traditional deck requires the use of many trees, the number depending upon the size of the deck. In addition to the reducing the shade and shelter that some other plants and animals depend upon for survival, every tree cut down decreases the amount of oxygen that is released in to the environment. Trex, on the other hand, as the first and largest composite decking manufacturer, recycles approximately 6 million pounds of plastic each and every year. This is because composites are usually made out of waste, including saw dust, old plastic milk jugs, shopping bags and other items typically thought of as garbage. In fact, unlike traditional wooden decks, which can impact the environment negatively by encouraging the chopping down of trees, every 20 feet of Trex decking actually saves 30 pounds of material from its fate in a landfill.

7. Trex decks come in at a similar cost to wooden decks over the lifetime of a deck. The initial investment in a wooden deck can fool some homeowners into thinking that the cost of a Trex deck is more than the cost of a wooden deck. The fact is, however, that after factoring in the cost of yearly maintenance for a wooden deck over a decade, the total cost of the inital purchase plus maintenance are nearly identical. Further, if a homeowner intends to do any of the maintenance for a wooden deck himself or herself the cost of his or her time should also be factored in to the total cost of owning the deck. When the difference in overall price is negligible, making the choice to have Trex decking is a no-brainer.
To talk more about how Trex decking can improve the look and function of any property, please contact us. Thank you.

Category Archives: service

The human eye loves curves. Rounded edges are more appealing than straight or flat edges that make sharp transitions — perhaps they seem to be less of a threat to the primitive part of our brains, or maybe they invoke a sense of beauty that linear geometry simply doesn’t.
And curves on decks are especially appealing. Whether because it’s unique enough to be unexpected, or because rounded decks can actually be more functional in many settings, a circular or curved deck is both trendy and timeless.

Why Do Homeowners Like Curved Decks?
There are many reasons why you’d want a curved or circular deck built on your property, including:

  • A curved deck can provide an excellent viewing area, so it’s a great way to better see the views from your property or even just your attractive landscaping. Because there are no corners or long flat areas, there’s no emphasis on one specific view.
  • A curved deck makes an ideal seating area. Everyone can gather comfortably around a fire pit or barbeque area. Plus, conversation is easier when your guests are all seated in a circle.
  • Curved areas on a deck, like a rounded seating area, can provide private places for you to sunbathe, read or just enjoy the outdoors.
  • A curved deck can provide the perfect place for a hot tub. Some people also install rounded decks around small swimming pools that provide a fun place to cool off in the heat.
  • A properly-built curved deck can add more value to your property than a traditional deck and make the entire outdoor area more eye-catching to buyers if you should ever decide to sell.

Or, of course, a rounded deck may just fit the available space better or contrast nicely with the square lines of your home.

How is a Curved Deck Constructed?
While curved decks can, in some cases, be built entirely out of wood, most of the amazing designs you see today are constructed from synthetic or composite decking materials like Trex. Because Trex and other composite decking boards are made of reclaimed wood and recycled high-density polyethylene, it is much easier to bend than wood. And once you bend Trex, it keeps its shape with minimal reinforcement.

We use specialized equipment that heats and bends the Trex boards so you can achieve the exact look you want without taking hours to slowly bend the boards. A traditional builder might only get six to 10 boards bent in a day, but we can use a convection style of heating to rapidly get the job done on all the boards that need a curve. This makes it less expensive to create circular or curved areas or entire curved decks. In fact, other local deck builders come to us for our equipment and expertise in this method of safely manipulating Trex boards.

Who Can Build a Circular or Curved Deck?
A curved deck is definitely not a do-it-yourself project. There’s a high level of expertise required to properly construct a rounded deck that will hold up for many years. Find a well-established deck contractor with a portfolio that includes several round decks.

Why is expertise so vital in constructing circular decks? There are a couple of common issues we see just in making the rim joists that can result in a rotting structure or curved areas popping out of round within a short timeframe, especially in rainy climates. Sometimes these methods are even recommended by DIY sites, but they lead to decaying decks in a short time.

  • Using 1/2-inch plywood in layers and building it up to be a couple of inches thick. Exterior plywood is not designed to be so openly exposed to the elements. Because it’s made of thin layers of other woods held together with a water-resistant adhesive, there’s room for water to seep into the material.
  • Making kerfed cuts, a style of scoring the wood with a circular saw to get it to bend around the radius. There’s no easy way to seal these types of cuts — when they’re done in interiors, they are filled with glue and bonded, but outside they will allow water to get into the end grains too easily. And when nails are driven through this makeshift kerfed rim, they don’t do a great job of securing it and can pull through in some circumstances.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg. Other problems include failing to properly secure the joists so the center of the deck has too much “give” (trampoline, anyone?) or not securing the structure to the home.
Circular decks look fantastic, and the benefit outweighs the time and cost of building them, but you can’t cut corners and you have to use the right materials, like Trex. We have this expertise and can help you create the right deck for your property — and one that will last for years.

How Do You Get Started?
The first step to having a gorgeous deck is planning it. There are many examples of what you can do, and we always recommend that you look at decks in landscaping magazines and online portfolios. Pinterest tends to be a great place to find unique ideas, and you can also create your own board where you pin your favorites to show us.

We can assess your outdoor space and help you decide what the best solution is for your landscape and your budget. Contact us today for more information about building the circular deck of your dreams.

Category Archives: service

Building a new deck can be easy, but you have to know exactly what you want first. Different materials can drastically change the look of your deck. If you choose the wrong materials, you aren’t just losing out on a few extra benefits, you might wind up with something that clashes with the overall style of your home. At Woodcraft Design & Build, we understand that a deck is an investment and you deserve to have a finished
product that is the perfect combination of beautiful and functional. Use this guide to learn more about different materials so that you can choose the best option for your home.

Are Manmade Materials Superior to Natural Ones?
Before you start exploring individual options, you need to learn a little bit about the differences between natural and composite decking materials. Traditionally, decks and patios have been constructed using mostly hardwoods, with redwood being a very popular choice.
Manmade materials are quickly becoming a hot topic within the industry because they require less maintenance and tend to last longer. Most of these materials use a combination of PVC and vinyl to create a flawless, colorful look.

Here are just some of the things to consider when deciding between materials:

Color availability – Will you be able to get a shade that works well with your home?
Weather resistance – Can your new deck withstand heavy rain, snow or sun?
Rot resistance – What are the odds that you will need to replace these materials?
Availability – Will your project be delayed if you choose this option?
Price – What choices are in your price range?

As you can see, both manmade and natural materials have their advantages. If you are hoping to save money on the initial cost of building a deck, you may want to stick with wood options. Those who want to save money in the long run may be better off with a manmade product from a quality manufacturer. Remember to consider the ongoing cost of maintenance in your buying decision.

What is Pressure Treated Lumber?
Pressure treated lumber is by far the most popular option for new decks. This is because it is readily available and one of the cheapest options. It is also very easy to work with, resistant to rot and can easily be painted to match your home. While pressure treated lumber has a lot of benefits, it requires a lot more care than many of the other options. Color fading, for example, is a problem many homeowners have when they use this chemically treated wood. They also have to worry about the cheap wood cracking and warping over time.

Popular Hardwood Materials
When it comes to choosing hardwood decking materials, there are more choices available than cedar and redwood. While these are by far the most popular choices, it is important to remember that they aren’t the only choices. Some imported and exotic woods, for example, are more resistant to insect infestations and internal rot. This can make them well worth the investment. Here is a brief list of woods that can be used in your deck:
Cedar – This popular wood tends to be a light brown, but is easily stained. It is very durable, easy to work with and readily available.
Redwood – Known for its pinkish to red hue, this hardwood is popular due to its moderate rot resistance and distinct odor.
Massaranduba – Also known as bulletwood, this exotic Caribbean wood sports a medium reddish-brown color that darkens as it ages. It is very dense, but also very durable and highly resistant to rot.
Tigerwood – This Brazilian hardwood is a medium brown with a red tint and dark streaks throughout. This creates a very distinct look, making it a favorite among homeowners. Tigerwood is very weather­resistant, so it is perfect for areas prone to a lot of rain or snow.
Ipe – Also known as Brazilian Walnut or Lapacho, this tropical wood is very dark in color. It has a distinct look that sometimes consists of black or yellow stripes. Ipe is often chosen for its insect and weather resistance.

If you aren’t sure which wood would work best for your home, talk to a custom deck builder like Woodcraft Design & Build. They can help you choose based on your location, how you will be using the deck and the look you are trying to accomplish.

Composite Materials that Get the Job Done
For those wanting to invest in manmade materials, there are dozens of choices available. Composite and plastic wood is a very competitive market and innovative designs are always being created. This popular choice for custom decks also combines a wide range of materials to reduce maintenance, avoid rot, resist the elements and promote durability.

Composite materials combine wood fibers with plastic materials, rather than solely relying on recycled materials. This helps give it a more natural look that still feels like wood. Manufacturers have come up with many ways to keep the boards from splitting and warping, so they are a great investment if you are looking for more curb appeal.

The choices you have for composite boards depends on the builder you are working with and availability. Remember, the industry is always changing and it isn’t uncommon for builders to suggest brands that are fairly new. At Woodcraft Design & Build, we have a variety of choices and can help you select the best one.

If you are planning on building a custom deck, you need to start researching materials right away. Learn about what is currently on the market and how it can affect your project. To learn more or get help selecting the best materials, contact us today.