"TikiKev Speaks about Building Backyard Tiki Bars"
Frequently Asked Tiki Bar Questions
Kevin Dunn, also known and TikiKev, is the professional tiki hut builder from Bucks County, Pennsylvania.
He builds backyard bars in the Polynesian style for customers all over the U.S. and Canada.
He's also published a new ebook that explains how to do it yourself, including how to frame and thatch an authentic tiki-style roof.
Please read our reviews on his two tiki eBooks:
Q: How long have you been a professional builder?
TikiKev: I've been a professional builder for over 20 years now. My background is carpentry. When I was 19 my first job was working with a builder building houses. The first few months I learned how to build a house from the ground up. We did everything on the house so I learned every trade right away.
Q: What made you decide to build tiki bars?
TikiKev: My wife and I were married in Jamaica, and one day I was standing under a tiki hut on the beach. I looked up and thought to myself, "WOW, these things are so cool. I can build this... ". As soon as we came back, I built one for our backyard deck and the rest, as they say, is history. We've always held big tiki party every year, and someone would always ask me to build a bar for them. So I finally knew what I wanted to do--build tiki huts and bars and create a stress-free atmosphere for anyone who wants it. And it's fun doing it as well.
Q: How long does it take to build one?
TikiKev: Well, the first time you try anything new it can be a challenge. My first tiki hut took me 5 days to build. Including 3 days to thatch. Today, a tiki hut of that size would take about 1 day to build and thatch. And as you know, one thing leads to another, so now I design all my bars and huts for all my customers.
Q: What's the story about the tiki bar featured in your book?
TikiKev: The "U" shaped bar in the book is one of my first designs. It's structural as well as functional. It's balanced front and back, and left to right to support the roof. If the bar was just a straight bar without sides, the wind blew could just blow it over. The sides on the bar help support the roof when a heavy wind blows. Plus you can seat more people at the bar this way.
Q: Where do your customers come from?
TikiKev: I actually have customers all over the country. I get orders from everywhere. I even get orders from Canada, and then ship the product out. The farthest I've delivered a tiki bar is Naples Florida, which is about 1500 miles from where I live in Pennsylvania. But I now have places to build my tiki bars in Naples Florida, Charlotte NC, and Telford PA.
Q: What's the most common question you get about tiki huts and bars?
TikiKev: The question I get asked most about is "How long do the leaves last?". If you follow all the recommendations in the book, your leaves can last between 7-10 years before any repair work or re-thatching is needed. The leaves will hold up in any climate as long as you fasten the correctly, and again...do all the recommendations I suggest and you will have no problems. But again, if a tornado rips through your neighborhood, there's not much you can do.
Q: What's the hardest part of building your own tiki bar?
TikiKev: The part people have the hardest time with is the roof framing and working with the angles. In the book I describe in detail with pictures how to do this. I have had a lot of calls on that part of the book, and I've walked several people through the process and they come to see how easy it is.
Q: What is the recommended care and maintenance for one of your tiki bars?
TikiKev: There are a lot of recommendations for the care of your tiki bar or hut. Everything is listed in the book in detail. The most important one I have and the one I get on most peoples cases is NEVER, NEVER, NEVER tarp your tiki roof for more than a couple of days. Moisture will build up quickly along with mold and the leaves will fall apart. If you know of a storm coming it's a great idea to cover the roof but only for a short period of time, such as a couple of days. Also, NEVER EVER cover the roof and bar together. The wind will make the tarp act like a parachute and blow it right over. Always cover your roof and bars separately.
Q: Can any options be added to the design of the tiki bar featured in your ebook?
TikiKev: I get a lot of requests for added features. Just call me when you are ready to build and I'll help you design the bar for whatever it is you need. I've build a lot of custom bars with TV's, stereos, refrigerators, beer misters, sinks, ice bins, ceiling fans, electric,... you name it I can design it into one of my bars.