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bend composite decking

Composite decking comes in a variety of different decking materials. However, while considering deck-building projects, you may want to consider incorporating curves in various locations. The curves on the deck do add a different appearance and feel to the project, making it more visually appealing. Bend composite decking to achieve these curves is a relatively straightforward mechanical operation. However, you will need a great deal of patience and the proper materials to complete the job properly.

Many homeowners who build outdoor decks are simply looking for a place to gather outdoors with friends and family. While they need to choose the look and type of deck, it is usually just to keep the deck level and straight. There is very little involved in the design of the surface of the deck. Most homeowners need a simple shape of deck, such as a square or rectangle.
In many cases, however, homeowners will see some more aesthetically pleasing deck shapes. In these designs, the color of the deck will alternate and have a different look. You may see grey composite decking around the pool, composite decking for boats, and commercial composite decking. Which are water-resistant decks that curve in a very natural pattern to create a more pleasing appearance. Generally speaking, these are made from composite decking. Because bending composite decking is easier than bending traditional wood. The composite deck material is becoming the choice of more homeowners and builders because of its durability and low maintenance. However, it may not be very easy to bend and shape as needed, but fortunately, there are still ways to make bending composite decking.

Steps in the methodology

Step 1: Choose a decking material

Using composite decking makes it easier to bend. But not all composite decking is the same, and some brands are more flexible. Before buying composite decking. You need to carefully study the brand’s specifications and understand the flexibility level. Some manufacturers are able to provide detailed instructions that make it easier for you to bend your decking as required.

bend composite decking

Step 2: Prepare safely

It is very important that you take the proper safety precautions before attempting to bend your deck. Prepare gloves and safety glasses, and make sure you always wear protective gear during the job. to protect yourself from burns and other potential hazards. Always make sure that there are no flammable materials around the work area and always keep a fire extinguisher nearby.

Step 3: Make the necessary measurements

It is critical to measure the job before bending the outside deck. Before you begin shaping the trim with heat, you must ensure that you obtain precise measurements and accurately calculate the curvature.

Multiply your measures by two or three. Increase the number of decks that correspond to the number of curves that you wish to install.

Step 4: Preheat the outside decking material

You’ll need a portable heater and fan to bend the composite decking. If you do not already own a portable heater and fan, you can rent one. Then, using heat, bend the composite decking material to the desired angle. Heat one section at a time, not the entire floor, which will be difficult to manage and will not produce the desired aesthetic.

Step 5: Glue the curved outdoor decking material

Once it begins to bend, you will need to stabilize it with rebar and plywood before joining each portion to your composite outdoor decking. For instance, if you’re constructing a curved railing, begin by supporting the shape and then attaching it to the railing piece by piece. Utilize clips or plywood to assist in securing it in place. Allow for complete cooling of the wood-composite decking before removing the support system.

more aesthetically pleasing deck shapes

Heated Bending Tools

Heated Blanket

A simpler way to heat composite decking until it is soft enough to bend is to wrap them in a heating blanket. This heating blanket is not the heating blanket used in everyday life, but a professional industrial device. The blanket is made of rubber wrapped around the heating element. It is very simple to use, just wrap it around the deck and let the deck warm up slowly until it is heated enough to bend. But you also need to be aware of the following precautions.

  • The heating blanket needs to be placed on top of the insulation. You need to buy a roll of insulation and cut it to the length of the deck. And place the insulation layer on the deck or bench.
  • Place the heating blanket on top of the insulation and place the composite deck on top of the heating blanket. Then place the second heating blanket aligned with the first one on the deck.
  • It is very simple to operate and can heat a deck very easily. The heating blanket can release even heat so that your composite decks can be heated evenly and bent more easily. In addition, the heating blanket is much easier to transport and can be used anytime and anywhere.

But heating blanket also has a serious disadvantage. It takes more time to heat up, at least 30 minutes before your composite decking can be bent. Also, because of the limited width of the heating blanket, you can only heat one or two decking pieces at a time.

Torpedo Heaters

On larger jobs, it is difficult to meet the demands of production using heating blankets. Most manufacturers use forced air heaters with duct blowing. This method is easier to adapt to the length of the deck. And it heats up faster, as torpedo heaters can dissipate more heat quickly than heating blankets. This can effectively speed up the process of deck heating. It is also cheaper, as the pipe and surrounding insulation are not very expensive. And it is more flexible, allowing longer and more decks to be heated. But fish heaters also have many unavoidable disadvantages.
It does not heat uniformly, which can lead to uneven heating and cooling of the deck. It does not conform to manufacturing needs during bending and can even cause the deck to break.

commercial composite decking
  • Torpedo heaters are more difficult to set up and cannot be moved. Because of its fixed nature, it cannot be easily moved and must be removed or moved only after the job is completed.
  • The cost of heating increases with time, which is inevitable.

Some additional notes

Curved decks can increase the cost of creating wood composite decking by up to thrice. Before you begin preparing for your one-of-a-kind feature, keep the budget in mind. If you intend to complete a large number of these types of projects, you can purchase a thermoforming kit designed for this purpose. They can cost between $1,500 and $3,000, but they may end up saving you money in the long term.

WARNING: Protective equipment should be worn. While working on this project, it’s always a good idea to wear safety goggles and heat-resistant gloves. Additionally, when molding, take care not to bend the trim board. Due to the fact that the board takes a specific amount of time to develop when it is pressured, patience and care are required.

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