How to Achieve the Beauty and Grace of a Curved Virginia Deck

Filed Under: Deck    by: Steve Kayhill

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 facia 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.

Choosing the Optimum Shower for Your Virginia Bathroom Remodeling Project

Filed Under: Bathroom    by: Steve Kayhill

Showers provide a cosy location to unwind or an efficient space to get ready for your day. Your Virginia bathroom remodeling project should include the ideal shower, tailored to your tastes, space and budget. But how do you find this vital bathroom fixture? Start by learning the ropes and browse until you come across a unit that fits your home renovation plans.

Measure Your Space

Jot down the details of your floor plan, including the available space (length and width of the room, as well as ceiling height) and location of other bathroom fixtures. Note any obstacles, such as windows, doorframes, floor vents and bulkheads, that cannot be easily moved. Your new shower should fit well into that space, although some models can incorporate obstacles.

Consider whether or not you’re willing to relocate plumbing or knock down walls. If this isn’t an option, be sure to note the measurements and take them along when shopping for the ideal model. Finding a shower that suits without any alterations is more challenging, but entirely possible with the proper information at hand.

Discover the Different Types of Shower Stalls

Think about the purpose of your new Virginia bathroom. Is it a secondary bathroom for guests or overflow, an updated family bath or a luxurious master ensuite? Nailing down the purpose helps you to choose the ideal types of shower stall.

The most common types include:

  • One- or Two-Piece Poly Shower Stalls – much like a tub/shower combo, these units come with durable, low maintenance shower walls made of polyvinyl. They are mounted into wall framing and trimmed to create a built-in look. You can find one- or two-piece shower stalls in a wide range of sizes, some with molded benches and most with molded storage shelves and bars.
  • Neo-angle Showers – these triangular showers fit well into a corner and sport glass walls in a strong aluminum frame. Some come with frosted glass; others are clear. All have an open top, molded shower tray and polyvinyl walls along the back.
  • Glass Shower Enclosures – these modern shower stalls come in frameless or framed designs, with clear or frosted glass walls. They are often installed against a tiled wall and tiled shower floor and can easily incorporate benches, shelving and other shower features to make your Virginia bathroom remodeling project more valuable.

Choose the shower type that best suits your remodeling style and the room’s scale. A smaller one- or two-piece shower stall or neo-angle shower works well in a secondary bathroom with limited space, but a well designed glass shower enclosure completes your modern bathroom with flair.

Choose Your Showerhead

The right showerhead adds a layer of luxury and indulgence to your new shower. Will be opt for the standard fixed showerhead or install a dual system for better coverage? Perhaps a handheld showerhead will help you get kids and pets washed quickly without making a mess. Or maybe you prefer the natural feeling of a rainfall showerhead, mimicking the wide spray and heavy drops of rainfall.

Vertical shower spas provide the ultimate experience, with body jets, a high end fixed showerhead and a flexible handheld hose for those hard to reach spots. Opt for a model with programmable settings to make morning faster and more enjoyable.

Homeowners need to include the perfect shower in their Virginia bathroom remodeling project, making this space more comfortable and more practical. Take the time to find your ideal shower and consider it an investment—this is one bathroom fixture that you want to get right.

Essential Steps to Prepare for Virginia Home Additions

Filed Under: Additions    by: Steve Kayhill

A home addition project involves weeks of upheaval, and preparation will help your family to cope. Make the most of Virginia home additions by ensuring your home is set up for demolition, surprise weather and contractors. Many of these steps employ common sense and can be done well ahead of time with minimal effort.


Prepare the Property

Both the exterior and interior of your home will be affected by a home addition. Protect your property before the renovation starts by clearing the area. Start with the yard, and remove all patio furniture, planters and accessories. Pack these things away for now, and cut back all plants and shrubs near the renovation spot. All furniture and household items in the rooms adjacent to the addition should be removed until the renovation is complete.

Many homeowners assume that Virginia home additions are only invasive once the contractor has broken through the existing exterior wall. Renovation reality is a little different, and the contractors will need to assess your services well before break-through. Disruptions are inevitable, and your power and water supply may be affected.

Remember that additions can leave your home vulnerable to theft for a short period of time. Think about having a security system installed or updated for the duration of the project. Or remove all items of value (computers, home stereo, collectibles, etc.) for the course of the project.

Prepare the Neighborhood

Obtain the relevant building permits before the first pick up truck pulls up at your home. This process requires detailed drawings and plans, as well as permit fees and various levels of inspection. Talk to your contractor about who is responsible for the permit application process

Find out about local noise bylaws as well, and let your neighbors know about the upcoming construction. Contractors tend to get an early start, and make a fair amount of noise during both the demolition and construction stages.

Prepare the Family

Home additions can disrupt your daily life, and preparing your family for the changes helps to minimize disruptions. Preparations will depend on what elements of your home are affected. Consider meal planning, sleeping arrangements and space for relaxation when preparing for a home addition.

Some families find it better to move out of the house during a major renovation, while others can simply shift daily tasks to another area of the house. Pick the best solution for your family, depending on the time of year and your lifestyle.

Prepare the Details

Remember to prepare a few other vital, but tiny details. Remove any fragile items from the house (valuable artwork and antiques, for example) and limit the spread of dust by hanging poly sheets and sealing off the work area.

Consider ordering a portable toilet for the contractors, reducing foot traffic through your home and shrinking delays. And be sure to purchase any special materials beforehand, such as unique bathroom fixtures and kitchen accessories. Store them in a safe location until that stage in the renovation.

Virginia home additions enhance your home and living space, but preparations are essential for a project of this size. Prepare your property, neighbors and family for all of the inconveniences and disruptions that may occur, always keeping in mind the beautiful end result of a home addition.

Finding the Best Lighting Options for Your Virginia Basement

Filed Under: Basement    by: Steve Kayhill

Lighting plays a major role in a finished basement, helping to create an open, comfortable atmosphere. Finish your Virginia basement the right way by carefully considering the lighting design and placement. Make sure to go over the electrical design as well, ensuring you have adequate outlets for floor lamps and entertainment systems. Talk about these tips and concerns with your basement contractor and make the most of this valuable space.


Harness Natural Light

Basement windows are often small, and most homes have a minimal number of windows in that area. But that doesn’t mean that natural light will not play a major role in your below-grade space. Maximize the impact of what you have with colors, window treatments and décor strategically chosen and installed.

Light paint and wallpaper colors help to reflect and expand sunlight (as well as artificial light). Choose bright neutrals for the walls and ceilings. When including a contrasting accent color, be sure to limit any dark areas so that the area is not overwhelmed in shadow.

Leave basement windows uncovered or opt for frosted glass to add privacy without blocking the natural light. Sheers work well when you need a window treatment, as do other thin and translucent materials. Avoid heavy drapes and light-blocking shades.

Mount mirrors in strategic locations to double up your natural light, directing sunlight throughout the room. And try to avoid placing furniture too near a window, potentially blocking the light.

Overhead Lighting for Optimum Coverage

Overhead lighting in the basement needs to unobtrusive, while providing good coverage throughout the room. Some basement living spaces can function with floor lamps and other portable lighting systems, but most family basements need to be well lit for optimum enjoyment.

Consider pot lighting for the main area. These fixtures are recessed into the ceiling to maximize head room and hide any unsightly wires and switches. One pot light covers a wide range, and most designs call for a set of lights. If you are considering using fluorescent light fixtures in your Virginia basement, be sure to invest in quality brands with an attractive shape and mounting.

Task Lighting

Think about the areas in your home that require task lighting, such as desks, computer areas and craft stations. Then consider the timing and frequency of activity in those areas. Do you need specific task lighting, or can you get away with a dedicated lamp?

When you need a well lit area any time of the day or night, consider under-cabinet fixtures or three-way lamps to make the space practical.

Energy Efficiency and Safety

Use energy efficient CFL bulbs in your basement to keep costs and environmental impact low. Also consider installing timers and encouraging your family members to turn lights off when leaving the room. This can be especially expensive in the basement, as lights may be left on for a long time with no one to notice.

Put in night lights to brighten dark corners, and always install three-way switches near the stairway to provide safe passage up or down.

Finish your Virginia basement in a bright and comfortable way with well designed lighting. Take advantage of natural light and choose overhead and task lighting with your lifestyle and hobbies in mind. Good lighting makes this space more enjoyable and fun for the whole family.