One does not remain in business for 20 years and beyond by sheer luck. Tejas Contractors Inc. in Katy, Texas, has been owned and operated by Ray Johnson for 22 years. Johnson is a businessman and framing contractor who recognizes that safety, time management and quality workmanship must encompass every project. The crew at Tejas Contractors recently created curved walls with Flex-C Trac by Flex-Ability Concepts at a new Cycle Gear branch in Katy. The retail store opened on Nov. 10 because contractors like Johnson kept the project on schedule and chose the right products.
Radius soffits and curved walls were incorporated in the store for a helmet display wall and three feature walls. To create the curves, the architect for this project specified the use of a heavy-gauge slip track, but Johnson did not agree with that plan.
Johnson says, “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 however 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 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.”
To make this job seamless, Tejas Contractors turned to a product it has used many times—Flex-C Trac, a steel framing product that can be curved. The crew installed 50 pieces of 20-gauge 3 5/8-inch Flex-C Trac for the curved soffits and 24 pieces of 8-inch 20-gauge Flex-C Trac on three featured curved walls.
Flex-C Trac is used to create curved walls, ceilings, arches, S curves and interior domes. For installation, the desired arch/curve is drawn on a hard or concrete surface. Flex-C Trac is placed on top of the drawn line and curved by hand to match the curve on the ground. With Flex-C Trac sitting on the ground, the Hammer-Lock tabs are hammered into place to embed them, thereby locking the shape. Screws can be added for additional support if desired, usually in load bearing situations.
“We have two options when it comes to radius walls. We can snip the track and bend it with tin snips. And you can get a radius that way because it is easy and cheap in material. The problems are labor costs go through the roof and the process weakens the integrity of the track because it is snipped. With the other option, Flex-C Trac, the Hammer-Lock tabs hold the piece in the desired shape. We added screws in this case to reinforce it. Once we determine the right curve and put the framing pieces on the floor, it’s all cookie cutter from there.”
Tejas Contractors operates frame to finish, so the crews prefer products that make their entire job seamless. “I take a job from framing through to paint. I’m not here to come in and butcher a curve that the painter is stuck dealing with, and I’m not creating work for myself in the end.”
After 22 years in business, Tejas Contractors serves as an example to others that hard work pays off. The proof is in installs like Cycle Gear and the many malls, stores and offices where Tejas Contractors has brought its quality project management and installation practices.
“There are plenty of hardworking contractors who do not succeed in business for various reasons. Contractors like Ray Johnson and his crews possibly surpassed the 20-year milestone because they discovered how different entities strongly impact job progress and completion. We appreciate that they bring Flex-Ability Concepts along for the ride for its products’ simplicity, safety and installation ease,” says Robert Widmer, marketing manager of Flex-Ability Concepts.