Yes, this is normal! Bamboo is a natural material, and it is virtually impossible to source bamboo poles without any cracks in them. Cracks will also occur naturally through changes in temperature and humidity, so even if the poles we send are completely free of cracks, they are pretty much guaranteed to develop cracks at some point in their lifetime. The poles we use are a tonkin bamboo pole which has especially thick walls, so the cracks shouldn’t affect the structural integrity of the poles; they will still be more than strong enough to support bamboo s’chach mats, or your locally-gathered s’chach.
Both wall options are made from high-quality materials, will last many years with proper care, and are specially fabricated for us in the USA. The differences are simply a matter of preference.
Our SukkahScreen walls are made of a semi-transparent (70% shade, 30% light), lightweight, dark green mesh material. SukkahScreen is recommended for warmer climates, or if you want more air and light in your sukkah.
Our canvas walls are made of a completely opaque (not see-through at all), lightweight, green cotton canvas material. Canvas is recommended for colder climates, or for more privacy in the sukkah. Canvas walls are not available for wood-frame sukkah kits.
If you are afraid that the s’chach may slide off or be blown off by the wind and wish to tie the mats to the support poles in order to prevent damage, it is first necessary to add heavier s’chach (such as 2x4s or thick branches) on top of the mat to hold it against the support poles. Having done so, you may then tie the mat to the support slats to prevent damage from “exceptional winds”. Try to tie with organic materials if possible, preferably with vegetation such as palm leaves or strips of natural raffia, but it is acceptable to use string or plastic cable ties since they serve only as a secondary support. Do not use anything metal.
To help prevent mat damage, connect only the thicker round bamboo s’chach mat slats to the support poles. If bad weather is expected, the safest approach is to temporarily remove your s’chach until the weather passes.
Mats must be oriented so the bamboo slats of the mat run perpendicular to the roof supports on which they lie. It must be the roof slats—not the monofilament string—that provide the support for the bamboo mats. S’chach mats should only touch the supporting bamboo or wood roof poles, and not the metal parts of the sukkah frame.
Our Wood-Frame Sukkah Kits are more affordable, and are constructed from locally-purchased 2 x 4 lumber that is available at any local home center or lumber supply (this saves on the cost of shipping materials to you). They take a bit more time to set up and require a screwdriver or cordless drill/driver for construction.
The Tubular Sukkah Kits are like big Tinkertoy sets. They are assembled from precut steel pipe and fittings, and go together in no time at all with no tools required. The tubular kits are heavier to ship, and while they cost more than our wood kits, they are designed to last for many years.
Yes, we specialize in designing sukkot to fit special space requirements, and have designed sukkot that fit anywhere from an apartment balcony in the city to a large outdoor restaurant patio. If you are interested in having us build a custom-sized sukkah kit please contact us early in the season, as once we get close to Sukkot we may be too busy to design and build your custom sukkah. Contact us at least 6 weeks before the holiday to discuss your special requirements.
From the start our intention has been to enable any family to build a sukkah, and this is why we try to keep the cost low. We do almost all the work ourselves—things like designing the advertising, filling screw bags, cutting bamboo poles, packing and shipping boxes, taking orders—just about everything is done by family members in our workshop. We deal directly with our customers rather than selling to stores or wholesalers who would resell the kits at a higher price. And we use industrial grade materials that are less expensive but sturdier; we trust that there are lots of things our customers will do on their own to beautify and customize their sukkah!
We are closed on Shabbat and most major holidays. Our workweek starts on Sunday and ends at sunset Friday.
If you are ordering one of our kits or decorations, the easiest way to order is through our website (www.sukkot.com). As we get closer to Sukkot it’s often challenging for us to get to phone calls immediately as they come in, and it sometimes takes us a day or so to get back to customers. Web orders typically are processed and shipped more quickly. For the best selection and assurance that you will receive your Sukkah kit in plenty of time for the holiday, we recommend that you place your order as early as possible. While we ship kits up to a week or so before Sukkot, we often sell out of our most popular models, so we encourage you to order early! We use FedEx Ground for shipping our kits, and typically it takes from 3 days to a week for your kit to arrive once it is shipped. Once your order is placed, we are usually able to ship within a few days. Please see our Shipping Policy for more information.
Most of the process of building a kit can be done by one person, but there are a few points in the process where a second person is very helpful. Larger kits will require more help to assemble and take down than the smaller kits. But the spirit of the project calls for total family involvement, and it’s a great parent/child or group activity!
The sukkah doesn’t have to be anchored to the ground, but it’s not a bad idea. The frame is rigid and needs no extra support. It mainly depends on whether your sukkah is in a location that is subject to wind gusts. If your sukkah is in a sheltered location it may be fine without anchoring it to the ground. However if you live in an area that is prone to winds, it might be a good idea to stake or weight the frame to the ground. We provide specific suggestions for sukkah tie-down in the assembly manual. Stakes and/or sandbags are available for purchase.
We do not provide any warranty against wind or other damage. If you are expecting high winds in your area, disconnect the top bungees to lower the walls on your sukkah, and/or disassemble the sukkah if necessary to prevent damage.
Pressure-treated lumber has a number of characteristics which render it unsuitable for use with Sukkah Project™ sukkah kits. The period of exposure to the elements is brief, and does not require pressure-treated wood. Applying an initial coat of water sealant or paint to standard lumber will increase weather resistance, but is not essential. You certainly can paint your sukkah for decorative purposes if you wish, though!
While assembly can be done with a #2 Phillips screwdriver by hand, we strongly advise using an electric or cordless drill with a Phillips-head bit, especially when the sukkah is being assembled for the first time. This will greatly speed up assembly and save wear and tear on wrists.
No tools are needed—zip, zero, zilch, nada!
Yes. While formal certification of sukkah kits is not typically done, numerous rabbis knowledgeable about the applicable laws have reviewed our design over the years, and determined that a kosher sukkah can be built with the kit if certain principles are followed. The assembly manual explains how to construct a proper roof, and lists other requirements for a ritually-correct sukkah. A number of Chabad organizations from across the country are among our customers. If you have concerns about the applicability of our design, we recommend that you consult your rabbi before placing your order with us. Our bamboo s’chach mats are certified kosher by Star-K.
The sturdy bamboo roof slats that are supplied with our tubular kits as well as the wood slats used in our wood-frame kits permit the sukkah to be covered with tree branches, shrub prunings, palm fronds, tall reeds & grasses, or whatever other greenery is locally available.
Bamboo mats can also be used; we sell these at the best price in the Internet. More information is available here: Bamboo S’chach Roof Mats