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Achieve the Grace and Beauty with A Curved Virginia Deck

by miuganlee

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You’ve seen the design in magazines and on
television shows, now you want to capture the distinct look in your own yard.
But a curved Virginia deck
is much more challenging than it sounds, and transitioning from an on-paper
design to an in-the-yard structure requires careful planning. Find out whether
or not a curved deck is feasible for your outdoor living area.


Basics of a Curved Deck Design

It’s difficult to install a curved wooden deck
due to the angular dimensions of lumber. Treated lumber provides the durability
and strength necessary for an outdoor application, but creating a round frame
with rectangular lumber is harder than it appears.

Posts, ledger boards and beams can be installed
in the same manner as a rectangular deck, running along the outside wall and
perpendicular to that line for support. Rim joists, on the other hand, must be
curved to produce the desired shape. There are two popular and successful ways
to complete this, including:

  • Kerf-cutting – it is possible to curve dimensional lumber by
    scoring the lumber along the back. These slots must go all the way across
    the lumber, and the amount of curve is dictated by the slot depth. Some
    installers feel that this type of construction degrades quality and
    stability, but the structure of your deck remains solid.
  • Laminated plywood – pressure treated plywood can be cut into 8-
    to 10-inch strips and soaked. This allows the plywood to bend, and those
    curved strips can be laminated with marine-grade adhesive and stainless
    steel fasteners to form a strong rim joist. The amount of curve is
    dictated by the length of those strips and the degree of bending achieved.

Composite materials and cedar wood tend to bend
easier, and thinner building materials (such as composite facial board) help to
cover bent lumber. Talk to your contractor about choosing the right material
for your curved Virginia deck.

Install an angled frame underneath the rim joists
and attach your decking joists between the ledger board and curved rim joist.
Deck boards should be installed perpendicular to the rim joist. The rounded
ends can be marked and cut to fit and blocking installed against the curved
joist for support.

Curved Railings

Installing curved railing sections can also be
challenging, depending on the severity of the curve. Shallow or gentle curves work
well, with the top rail cut out of larger pieces of dimensional lumber. Wood
pickets can be mounted onto the outside of the rim joist to produce a curve,
although this may not pass building code for decks installed more than
24-inches off the ground.

Some styles of railing can be prefabricated in a
curved line. This adds significant cost to your deck design, but does provide
an unbeatable customized look. Get in touch with a metal fabricator for pricing
or consider aluminum or steel railings that can be mounted to wood or composite
railing posts.

Building a curved Virginia deck requires a fair
amount of planning and forethought. Homeowners can expect to pay a premium for
this design, as the curved framing requires extra materials and additional
installation time. The finished product provides an exceptional, modern outdoor
living space that will add value to your property and lifestyle. Consider how
building a curved deck could enhance your home. You should visit to for
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