This sundeck we built in Forest Hills Durban was an add-on to a deck we completed in 2012. The client initially built a 20 odd square metre deck off the front of his grant flat. It was then decided to extend the deck around the corner to tie up with the kitchen door.
We needed to decide which way the deck boards should run. Traditionally they should have run the length of the deck extension, but because of the way the existing deck had been built, it would have resulted in an odd line that would have been visually unappealing. Had the extension been built at the same time as the deck then the deckboards could have met at a 45° angle to turn the corner. Instead they would need to either meet at a 90° angle or they would need to run the same way (i.e. the width of the deck rather than the length). It was decided to run them the same way as the existing deck resulting in them running the width of the deck rather than the length.
With this in mind we set out to lay the substructure which consisted of long joists of about 9.2m. The width of the deck was 1.2m so we set 2 joists and a cleat along the wall. The challenge in setting such long joists of course is to ensure that they are set straight. Our joists were each 4.5m long so had to be joined in the middle without allowing them to bend or bow at the join. It was easier to join the joists beforehand, set a false deckboard of pine to hold them at their 1.2m width and then dig our holes for posts. We used H4 CCA gum poles as posts as they would not be visible from the outside and budget did not allow for balau posts. The poles were half checked to accept the joists, secured to the joists using kalgard 60mm screws and concreted in with 6 inch nails hammered into the base to prevent the post from sinking over time. A dry mix was used so as to be able to work with the post and joist immediately after setting them.
There was a concrete gas bottle plinth that was not decked and we had to deck around that and fill the vertical surfaces with balau cladding for aesthetics. Also the plinth that existed directly outside the kitchen door was slightly higher than we would have liked and as such we could not use our 30 x 102 joist and had to use a 30mm baton to arrive at the same height as the rest of our joists.
Once the substructure was down it was relatively plain sailing as our rough pre-cut balau deckboards were screwed down. We intentionally left them slightly long and after they were all down, snapped a chalk line along the edge and cut with a skill saw to get a straight line.
We cladd a few ends to close it all in, epoxied our screw holes to prevent water collecting in them and being soaked up by the end grain. Once dry we sanded flat and sealed using a top quality timber preservative with an oak tint.
A few pot plant stands were thrown in from the scrap off cuts which will now keep the pot plants off the deck and allow the water to drain away quickly and prevent accelerated degradation of the balau.
10m² took us 2 days to complete. The crew received a nice bonus based on square meterage and it was off to the next job.
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- Timber Sundecks in Durban (thewoodjoint.co.za)