How to Bend Decking
There are many different materials you can select for decking, but as you begin to look at your deck building project, you may want to consider adding curves in different locations. Curves on a deck really provide a different look and feel and it makes for a very attractive look. Bending decking to create these curves is a very simple job, mechanically, but you need a good amount of patience and the right materials to complete the job properly. Below are some steps to help you get the result you want.
Step 1 - Choose Trex Decking
Trex decking, since it's a composite deck material, is the easiest deck material to purchase and bend. It can be molded in a variety of ways to make your deck look like it has been built to a highly customized fashion and design.
Step 2 - Take Proper Measurements
You must make sure that you take precise measurements and that you calculate the bend appropriately before you start to form the decking with the heat; otherwise, you will waste a lot of time and need to re-do your work.
Once you have your measurements, multiply them by two or thee. You will need to increase the amount of decking used to account for the number of curves you intend to install.
Step 3 - Heat the Decking
In order to bend the Trex decking material, you need to rent a portable heater and a fan if you already do not have one. You will use the heat to bend the material to the angle you desire. Work one section at a time rather than trying to heat an entire length of composite. It will be much too difficult to handle and to get the look you want.
Step 4 - Attach the Bent Decking
Once it starts to bend, you will need to use rebar and plywood to hold it in the desired shape before you attach each section to your deck. For example, if you are building a curved railing, support the shape first, and then begin to attach it section by section to the rails. Use the clamps or the plywood to help secure it into place. Allow the decking to cool completely before you pull off the support system.
Some Additional Notes
Bending decking can double or triple the cost of building your deck. Be aware of the budget allowances before you begin planning for this unique feature. If you plan on doing lots of these types of projects, you can purchase a heat forming kit made specially for this purpose. They can run you anywhere from $1,500 to $3,000, but it may save you in the long run.
Wear protective gear. It is always a good idea to put on a pair of safety goggles and gloves that will resist the heated material when you perform this project. And, while forming, be careful that you don't force the decking to bend. You will need to apply a good amount of heat and pressure, but it will take time to conform to the new shape.