Building anything is frightening. If your’e trying it for the first time, it’s even more frightening, especially when you’re building something for your children. Luckily, there are professionals you can ask for tips and tricks to build your children a playhouse that they’re friends will be talking about for years to come. That’s where Joe Giacalond comes in. He’s the owner of Anything You Want In Wood and he has some tips for all you DIY-ers.
Anything You Want In Wood
1488 Old Cyprus Trail
Wellington, FL 33414
(561) 515- 4810
Joe Giacalond took a detour on his way to woodworking. As a child under his grandfather’s tutelage, Giacalond learned the tools of the trade. In his adult years, Giacalond entered the corporate world but would escape back into the world of woodworking for a much-needed escape. In 2000, he made the brave decision to venture out on his own to create his own company called Anything You Want In Wood. Like the title suggests, clients can get anything made in wood from cabinets and countertops to closets and child play sets. If you need some work done, call Giacalond for a free estimate.
Tip 1 – Use pressure-treated wood for the frame
When it comes to building a treehouse or a playhouse, one of Giacalond’s best tips is to use pressure-treated wood for the frame. It’s essential for the South Florida humidity. “We’re in Florida, so any wood that you use that is going to require a finish is going to require constant and consistence maintenance,” says Giacalond. “A pressure-treated lumber is the best thing to use for the framing and all of the support structure. For a child’s playhouse, pressure-treated lumber on the decking and the play area is not really the best thing to use because the chemicals are not very pleasant.”
Tip 2 – Use redwood or cyprus for the decking, balustrades and railing
Pressure-treated wood is great, but chemicals from the wood are a safety hazard for your child. That’s why Giacalond recommends using redwood or cyprus for the outer portions of your child’s treehouse or playhouse. “Redwood is a very good wood to use for the decking, balustrades and railing, but that’s hard to come by down here. Cyprus is another really good wood to use because it weathers extraordinarily well,” says Giacalonde.
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Tip 3 – Kits are okay, but follow all instructions
They are always new DIY kits that make woodworking accessible to the common man. They’re great tools, but realize that just because it’s a kit doesn’t mean it’s not serious woodworking. “The problem with the majority of them is the instructions are either ambiguous, wrong or just plain bad,” say Giacalond. “The instructions say two people can put the thing together in four to six hours. In actuality, it takes me and my guys—and we’re good at this—up to a day and a half depending on the size.” So be prepared by checking all of your parts, following instructions and asking for help if you need it.
Tip 4 – Anchor it into the ground
Often times, families construct playhouses and build everything according to specification, but forget to secure the structure to the ground, which is an essential tip for the safety of your child. “If you’re going to build a structure on the ground, you need to anchor it into the ground and not just put it on the ground. A lot of the forts that we have around here, they just sit on the ground. The first big wind that comes along—it’s got a 12-foot sail and off it goes,” warns Giacalond. For treehouses, Giacalond says that “the structure that you put in the tree has got to be flexible enough that it can move with the tree and not shatter and come apart into little bits.”
Tip 5 – If you need help, ask for it
You are capable of doing anything yourself, however it’s important to realize that everybody needs help. If you’re planning on being a DIY-er, don’t be afraid to ask for help from a professional. You can call one up and ask a few woodworking questions or you can hire one to help you assemble the project. Giacalond feels it’s important not just for you, but for the safety of your child. “My contention is that you are dealing with your children. How safe do you want them to be,” says Giacalond.
Niema Hulin was born in Newark, NJ but raised in Lexington, South Carolina for the bulk of her formative years. In 2002, she moved to Miami after graduating from the University of Florida. Since then, Niema has worked in film, television and commercials as a Production Assistant and Production Coordinator. Some of her films have included Bad Boys II and I Am Number IV. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.