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The Wood Joint – Wooden Decks and Floors

We Provide Wooden Deck and Flooring Services In Durban and Cape Town

Wooden Balau Pergola built in Plantations – Durban

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This wooden balau pergola was built at Plantations in August 2016. We had custom-made galvanised steel base plates made up in order to secure the uprights to the existing paving. Because the uprights had to be installed on the edge of the paving we couldn’t dig and bury the post so we installed them into these base plates which were then fixed to the paving using sleeve anchors.

When designing a base plate for this application it is important to make the tube that will carry the upright post long enough in order to give it lateral support to stop the structure “racking”. Also the actual base must be big enough to be sturdy, but small enough so as to still be neat and not get in the way. We used a 90 x 90mm balau upright. The back row of uprights were fixed to the outside of the wall surrounding the entertainment area.

On the top we installed 30 x 102 as purlins which were spaced at 600 centres. I’ve found that spacing a 30 x 102 at 600mm centres works best from a structural point of view and a cost point of view. Obviously the closer the purlins are spaced the more expensive the pergola will be and one must be careful not to space them too far apart as it affects the stability of the structure and the visual appearance.

On top of that we installed 30 x 40 balau battens running perpendicular to the purlins at 120mm centres resulting in a gap between battens of 90mm being 3 times that of the batten itself. This works well in order to give enough broken shade without creating a completely closed effect on top. It also helps on the pocket by using 30 x 40 as opposed to 30 x 60mm.

Because of the existing chimney on one side of the area we had to cut purlins beams and battens in order to finish it neatly around this chimney whilst still making sure that all ends were fixed. If the ends are left unsecured they tend to twist over time.

These balau pergolas can be left un-oiled or oiled. If left un-oiled then they will eventually turn a silvery grey colour. If oiled they will remain slightly darker. It is not advisable to coat them with any other product other than an oil as it will eventually peel and flake and maintenance then becomes difficult and expensive. They can be pressure washed to remove dirt and grime that settles over time.

For a quote on your wooden balau pergolas, deck, walkways, balustrades, stairs and other timber works, please contact me Garrick Dunstan on 082 496 5444 or use the contact us form below.

Balau Cladding on Ceiling – Umhlanga, Durban

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Here’s some balau cladding work we did on the ceiling in the reception of a new office building in Umhlanga Rocks.

We used 19 x 30mm strips of balau which we ripped from a standard 19 x 68mm balau deck board. We started off with a treated pine frame or structure on to which we attached these balau strips. Being a ceiling it was important to ensure that our structure didn’t fail under the weight of the balau. Balau, being a very heavy and dense wood, can get quite heavy when suspended from a ceiling. Secure fixing points, and enough of them, are necessary to ensure it doesn’t fail.

It was very important to do this as neatly as possible as it is the reception area and as such is visible to all visitors as they enter the door. Care needs to be taken to ensure that gaps between boards are uniform and that the boards are parallel to each other. Also it is important to get the total structure to line up parallel with walls and corner of walls and slab above. It becomes unsightly when these don’t. At times the corners of walls may not be perfectly square and adjustments then need to be made so that the ends of the timber structure are at least parallel to the adjacent wall even if it means the structure itself isn’t square. Small adjustment can be made to the gaps between boards to compensate for this. 1mm on each end of a gap won’t be visible to the naked eye but will result in a 20mm “gain”, after 20 boards, on one side.

The ends of this suspended balau ceiling or bulk head needed to tie up with the boards to give it an appearance of being one solid, much wider piece of timber. It is often not possible to use a full-sized timber as it becomes too heavy on the structure, and the pocket. In these instances “build ups” are used to make it look like one solid wider piece of timber. The same principle is common in table tops where the top is only 22mm thick but is built up on the edges to give it the appearance of being 40mm thick. Care must be taken to do it neatly and it must be planned properly so that each piece fits into each other. There’s nothing more frustrating than getting to the end only to find you are 20mm out and should have set your first piece 20mm closer in.

Screw holes were filled with a clear epoxy mixed with saw dust and sanded flat.

This balau ceiling was left un-oiled to give it as much of a natural appearance as possible. It can be finished with an oil and the only product to use here is either Timberlife Satin Wood 28 Base or Woodoc Deck Dressing. This oil soaks into the timber. Most other products will dry on the surface and will eventually peel and flake.

For a quote on all of your balau timber works, decks, balustrades, walkways and stairs please use the contact form us below or call me, Garrick Dunstan, on 082 496 5444. If you prefer to build your own we supply the timber and other materials required through our sister company Ocean Timber Products (www.oceantimber.co.za). You can leave an enquiry there or on this page.

Wooden Balustrades

Wooden Balustrades Durban and Cape Town
Balau Horizontal Balustrade

Wooden balustrades are necessary on all decks that are above 1m off the ground for safety reasons. Some people opt for them even if the deck is lower than 1m. They normally sit 1m above the deck surface but on decks which are higher than about 4m off the ground, it is recommended that one install a 1.2m high balustrade for safety reasons.

There are various designs from a standard vertical picket style balustrade to a criss cross pattern to diagonal slats and even deck boards installed horizontally. One should consider the reason for installing a wooden balustrade and then decide which one to opt for. For instance a vertical picket style is safe for high decks as they can’t be easily climbed and all gaps between pickets are less than 100mm so small children can’t fall through.

A criss cross balustrade has large openings and is not as safe.

Most balustrades have a capping on top of about 30mm x 100m allowing for a comfortable arm rest and a spot to place a drink.

Wooden Decks Durban and Cape Town
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Contact us if you’re planning on doing any wooden balustrade work on 082 496 5444 (Garrick Dunstan) or use the form provided below.

Wooden Bridges and Walkways

Wooden Decks Durban and Cape Town
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Wooden bridges and walkways are popular in gardens that have small streams or where the garden necessitates a walkway in order to get from one place to another.

Instead of allowing a path to form from wear on the grass you can install a 1m or so wide walkway which is level and flat allowing you to move from one side to the other in comfort. They are often complimented by stairs or the occasional step up or down where the ground falls. They are often used to join one deck to another or a doorway to a deck.

Bridges can be spanned quite far without using supporting posts if balau is used. If posts are needed to support the bridge midway then H5 CCA treated posts can be used which can live in water for up to 30 years.

Please complete the form below if you require a quote and I will contact you or you can call on 082 496 5444.

Wooden Pergolas

Wooden Decks Durban and Cape Town
Deck and pergola

A wooden pergola is a structure above that is designed using timber beams, purlins and slats. It is largely decorative as it does not prevent rain and provides limited shade depending on how many slats are installed.

They are sometimes referred to as Sun Screens and can be built in such a way as to offer shade at certain times of the day by adding more or less slats to the top. There are a multitude of designs and they are only limited by ones imagination, and of course budget.

They can be attached to the main building and then supported by posts on the front edge or they can be free-standing with posts to ground. One can install roof sheeting above to keep the rain out, but often it is better to consider an aluminium awning for this application due to cost. A balau pergola is not the cheapest method, but does add a nice appealing underside to your covering.

Wooden pergolas can also be installed using thatching laths to give them a more rustic look and feel.

Should you require a quote on a pergola or any other timber construction for your home, please call me, Garrick, on 082 496 544 or use the form below.

Wooden Screens and In Fills

Wooden screens Durban and Cape Town
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Screens can be used for a multitude of purposes from screening out the view of the neighbours to enclosing an air conditioner so that it is not visible. They are sometimes concreted into the ground and can vary in height. Sometimes they are attached to boundary walls or the main building and some contain gates and hinged or removable lids for access to air conditioners, pool pumps, koi pond pumps and so on.

In fills are similar to screens but are normally installed between two brick columns on a boundary wall to create the effect of brick work and timber.

Most often the slats are installed horizontally with a 20mm gap between boards. This allows you to still be able to see through but screens out the view of others on the outside. This gap can however be changed for different applications. Double sided screens are also available so that both the inside and outside look the same.

To request a quote or for some advice please contact me Garrick Dunstan on 082 496 5444 or use the form below to contact me.

Wooden Sun Decks Durban and Cape Town

Wooden decks Durban and Cape Town
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A wooden sundeck is a valuable extension to your house in that it is relatively cost-effective whilst still increasing the living area and total coverage of your property. If properly installed and maintained it will give you many years of warmth and enjoyment and you will retain the value of it when ultimately selling your property. It is more cost-effective than brick, concrete or steel and with the trend moving towards sustainable and green building, a sun deck, sourced from sustainable forestry will retain its value for many years to come.

We generally use CCA treated pine in our substructures as it is a lot more cost-effective than using balau and we are still able to offer a 50 year supplier guarantee on the timber used in the substructure. This is provided we document the build with photos, retention records from the treatment plant, the date and invoices of when we bought the timber etc. As a rule we build in accordance with their criteria for the guarantee, but if a guarantee is required, we must be notified beforehand so that we can obtain these documents during our build. We use balau deck boards on the surface of the deck because they are infinitely more stable and do not warp or twist as much as balau. This is not as important in the substructure because it is largely covered from the sun and the pieces we use are a lot thicker so don’t warp or twist as much. Deck boards on the other hand take the full brunt of the sun and tend to warp more quickly. Also we source our balau at very competitive prices and can therefore build a deck at very competitive prices, even compared to using pine deck boards. Pine deck boards are much softer so one has to use twice as much wood negating the cost saving by using a cheaper timber. The structural pieces in balau are more expensive per cubic metre than pine so using a CCA treated substructure reduces the cost which we pass on to the client.

We use kalgard screws which are guaranteed by the supplier against rust for 25 years, we counter sink them and close the holes using an epoxy and saw dust mixture to match the colour, thus eliminating water ingression through the screw holes thereby reducing rot at the screw hole. They are sanded flat and we seal our decks using an oil based sealer which penetrates the timber rather than leaving a coating or film on the surface. Maintenance is therefore easy and inexpensive. You simply wipe clean the timber, clean any greasy marks off with turps and re-apply using brush, sponge, cloth or spray.

For some expert advice or a quote, please contact me Garrick Dunstan on 082 496 5444 or complete the contact us form below.

Wooden Floors and Laminates

Solid Wooden flooring Durban and Cape Town
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We specialise in Solid Wooden Flooring, Laminates, Parquet flooring, Dustless Floor sanding and Sealing and repairs to wooden floors.

Wooden floors exist in many different forms from Swiss Parquet, Parquet, Sprung or Suspended Floors or wooden floors that are adhered to the substrate. They come in many different types of wood and each one has its own unique characteristics and pro and cons. From the menu bar on the right you can navigate to the different types and read up and view pics of the different styles. Alternatively you can use the search bar above to the right to search for something more specific. There are articles on this site of jobs we have completed with pics and the various challenges we overcame in the installation.

Solid wooden floors were very popular in years gone by and in about the ‘70s were all covered up with carpets and other types of flooring. They are making a strong come back now and are very popular due to their warmth, charm and the ability to maintain them relatively easily and cost effectively. Take a look under your carpets and you may find some very nice teak flooring that can be restored back to its original beauty at a relatively low-cost.

For a free, no obligation quote, on all your wooden floor requirements please contact me Garrick Dunstan on 082 496 5444 or use the contact us form below.

Laminate Flooring Installers Durban and Cape Town

Laminate flooring Installer Durban and Cape Town

Laminate flooring installation in Durban and Cape Town is a fairly large industry with many contractors and many suppliers. Installation prices are normally within a tight band with most installers charging more or less the same amount to install. Materials however can range greatly with some very affordable laminate floor boards and some more expensive ones. Quality varies too and one should always purchase them from a reputable supplier so that in the event of defects they can be swapped out or a refund obtained.

It is not uncommon for a client to select and purchase their own materials and to then appoint an installer to install them. However, as is the case with most contracting jobs, the client should be careful to purchase the right amount of materials so as not to waste materials and also not to slow the contractor down. There is nothing more frustrating for a contractor to arrive at the job to find that he can’t do it because a crucial part of the material is missing. It slows him down and takes extra days to complete. A contractor makes his money by doing the job quickly and correctly the first time. If he is waiting for materials he loses days and if he rushes his job and takes short cuts he ends up coming back to fix problems which also results in lost days. is first laid on the floor to provide a cushion between the boards and concrete.

One of the most important aspects of installing laminate flooring is to make sure your floor is clean and flat. If the floor is too far out of being flat it will result in boards lifting. Having said that, there is some tolerance because the boards are not as rigid and unforgiving as solid wood. So run a straight edge over it and make sure it is relatively flat. If it is not and it is very badly out of flat, consider screeding it to get rid of the high and low spots. Also small stones or bits of building rubble can result in boards having to be lifted for obvious reasons, so sweep the area properly and if possible vacuum it with a good quality industrial vacuum cleaner to make sure that all debris is lifted off your surface.

The laminate boards will come in equal lengths but when laying them you don’t want a join line all in the same place so you will need to cut shorter lengths to create a staggered joint. Keep the off cut because it will be used on the other end of the room. Be careful too to get the ends the right way around. On each end of the board there will be grooves to clip into each other, so you want to make sure that you use the right side on each end of a length with your cut end up against the wall. On the next row of boards don’t cut the short one to the same length as the previous row, make it a little longer or a little shorter, so as to never create a straight line of joints. The joints should always be completely randomly staggered.

Gaps of about 6 to 10mm should be left on the sides and edges to allow the wood to expand and contract. This can be covered later with a skirting. If no gap is left, the wood will try and expand, push up against the wall, and the boards will pop.
For a free no obligation quote on laminate or hardwood flooring please complete the form below.

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