How to Bend Composite & PVC Deck Boards
Bending Composite Decking
Custom decks are more popular than ever! Homeowners are no longer interested in rectangles or boxes with only straight lines. Curves are trending and it’s easy to see why. Achieving these styles requires know-how, patience, and a heating blanket. By heating blanket, we don’t mean the type you wrap around yourself in the winter, we are talking industrial for bending composite decking,
Before you were able to bend your own decking with a heating blanket, builders/homeowners took their materials to a mill with an industrial oven to bend. Accurate measurements are required prior to your materials being completed. For a DIY option, renting or purchasing a unit is possible. Keep in mind these units run $1700 for a 10 ft and $3000 for a 20 ft unit. The lifespan of this product is about 5 years so you will need to consider how much bending you will need to do to get your return.
To bend your composite yourself, we suggest Heatcon’s thermal blanket. Heatcon has been known in the aerospace community for 25 years by providing heating blankets for composite repair. It wasn’t until years later, when they were approached by a deck manufacturer, that they began investing in the decking industry.
One Heatcon kit will contain 2 – 10 ft heat blankets (for heating 20-foot boards you will need two 10-ft units or a 20-ft unit), (1) temperature controller, (1) pair of gloves, (1) temperature sensor and a case to store your materials. You will also need a roll of insulation; this can be purchased at a local home improvement store.
To use the Heatcon product for bending composite decking they suggest their instructions: https://www.heatcon.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/HC99-200-300_2011r5_Web-new.pdf, but it’s always good to check with your decking manufacturer first. There are other folks who offer online classes in bending PVC and composites like Dr. Decks. You can find that course on YouTube: http://www.drdecks.com/store/p1/masterclass.html for fee.
There are pros and cons to bending your own decking. One of the best aspects is that when you are doing it yourself you can have the finished product when you need it. Using a company or mill to bend your materials can take the pressure off you, but you will be forced to accept their terms in regards to timeline and costs.