By Rachel Deliz
KunkelWorks is a small business serving homeowners in Hawaii by importing authentic Aluminum outdoor products, like Carports, Patio Covers, Gates and Fences directly from Japan. “These maintenance free aluminum products have no competition, when it comes to quality, longevity, function and looks,” says Maggie Kunkel, the owner of KunkelWorks. “In Hawaii, sun, heat, rain, wind and salt-water attack outdoor structures. Anodized coated aluminum is the best solution. Other than wiping off the dirt, there is no maintenance to do, never needs painting.”
Japanese Carports have been in Hawaii since 1998, and have stood up against the Tradewinds, even on top of Halekoa Drive. “Our weather is getting more extreme, so good engineering is very important. We can get English language structural engineering reports for the products, which is essential for getting a permit from the Building Department”, says Scott Smith, who has recently joined forces with Maggie Kunkel, as a sales and customer service representative.
There are many choices to explore on the KunkelWorks.com website, featuring Cantilever Ports, Double and Triple ports. A cantilever port might be able cover a car, when set-back issues would otherwise prohibit the cover, because the posts can be on the side away from the set-backs.
“My favorite is the Patio Cover,” says Maggie, “it creates a brand new, usable space outside. You can even put out the couch, just being covered, will keep the moisture away. In my 14 years of experience, I have never seen a canopy-roof leaking. Leave it to the Japanese!”
There are many colors for the metal structure, and several choices for the roof panels. Panels are made of Polycarbonate (Lexan) which cuts 100% of the sun’s dangerous UV rays, and can cut as much as 83% of heat-rays. The difference to a traditional wood patio cover is, that the roof panels will still let the light in, so that adjacent rooms won’t be in the dark!
The Gates and Fences of Japan have a lot of fans in Hawaii, because of their simple elegance. There is an amazing depth of style choices, from the simple vertical, horizontal, solid, patterned, frosted to wood-look and PVC-Bamboo. All gates have beautiful handles and locks, to keep your family save inside and intruders out.
Sankyo Tateyama Inc., the company, whose products KunkelWorks imports, is with over 5600 employees the biggest Aluminum Company in Japan. Besides the carports, covers, gates and fences, there is a whole line of commercial products, like bus shelters, walkway covers, factory gates etc. Raised in Germany, Maggie knows how to appreciate the attention to detail and speed of her Japanese counter parts. “We are supported with whatever we need. Everything is accounted for, described and safely packaged,” says Maggie, “they pay attention to detail, and are super responsive.”
Maggie Kunkel started her business in Hawaii in 1994, as a designer/art-director for clients like Bank of Hawaii and Kaiser Permanente. While working for one of her clients, she photographed the outdoor products from Japan, and saw the quality of workmanship, looks and the smart function of the Japanese designs and materials. First on the side, and since 2006 full time, she assists homeowners in making their homes more beautiful, and functional. Her design background is helpful with judgment calls. KunkelWorks is not a contractor, and does not install the units, but Maggie stays involved until the job is done, and the customer is happy. Every client gets her personal attention. “We visit individual homes and provide free estimates. Every job is unique. Then, we order a big container direct from Japan, four times per year,” says Maggie.