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Reducing the Intimidation Factor

When you are given a specification for a curved interior feature, is your response, “Woohoo, some creativity,” or, “Crap, curves”?

We obviously hope it is the former, but we completely understand that curves can be intimidating. You might question if your crew can handle it. You might wonder if you can calculate the correct radius and maintain it for the installation. You might think about products and ponder if you are using the right track.

For those of you cursing curves, head to We not only have the products to make curves doable—faster with less material waste—we have other tools available too. Online, under Support Tools, you will find literature and technical information, videos, an arc length calculator, a radius layout template form and even free graph paper. All of this and more is made available to you to help you through the planning, material ordering and installation phases of a curved wall, soffit, arch, dome, barrel vault or turret.

The good people at Walls & Ceilings magazine recently published an article about curves. Specifically, the article talks about how curves are an evolving concept that require picking the right product, proper planning and quality installation.

Here are some of our favorite quotes in the article:

· “I think that the No. 1 concept that an architect needs to embrace when designing with curves is that curves can solve problems while creating dynamic space. I fit a pediatrician’s office into a 900-square-foot rectangular space with an odd length-to-width ratio by utilizing curved walls. I could not have met the accessibility requirement, fit the program and made the space pleasing for children without curves.” David Businelli, a chief executive with Studio 16 in Staten Island, N.Y., and a past president of both AIA New York State and AIA Staten Island

· “Curves present challenges in framing and sheathing—neither material in stud form bends easily, of course, and gypsum board and plywood have to be quite wet in order to bend. Getting a curved surface of gypsum board to a Level 5 finish takes a lot of skill and labor.” Businelli

· “Slip track is designed for snow and wind loads, and we see it used a lot in Dallas and northern Texas. The way it works is the wall goes up to the roof deck, going many feet up to the bottom of the roof joists. Then, we as the framing contractor cut and notch a slip track, which has perforations in it, to create a curved wall. A slip track doesn’t do me any good in a situation like [the project] Cycle Gear because it costs me more in labor, my guys can cut their fingers, and we don’t need a product like that because snow and wind loads are not a concern in Katy.” Ray Johnson, owner and operator of Tejas Contractors Inc., in Katy, Texas

· “The greatest challenge with curves is laying them out correctly. You are only as good as your layout.” Travis Vap, CEO of South Valley Drywall Inc., Littleton, Colo.

· “Everything that is presented in a design can be done. Any additional detail that architects can give us is very much appreciated. In addition to giving a radius dimension, we would like dimensions for the radius start and stop points along with the arch height dimension. Curves will cost additional money. Specialty contractors can price them fairly and do a good job for a building owner who is interested in incorporating curves into a design.” Vap

Take a look at the W&C article and visit our website to see what makes our products and our company unique. Our mission is to support the construction and design community in every way possible to ensure curves get a “Woohoo” each time they are specified. We think this philosophy—and our products with the Hammer Lock feature—truly sets us apart.



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