This sundeck I installed in Durban I actually subbed out because I had too many new builds on the go at the same time to be able to do it quickly enough. I use a very good subbie who charges reasonable rates, has his own transport and tools and skilled labour. He has actually been building sundecks in Durban for a lot longer than me and I can therefore leave him to his own devices and let him get on with the job. We follow him to fill sand and seal the deck after he has constructed it.
This deck was built off the bar area and canter levered over the retaining wall above the pool. It went around the corner to a braai area and had a set of stairs for access. An awning was first installed by an awning company and we then decked around the posts of this awning.
It was installed flush with the entrance to the bar which only allowed us about 150mm between the top of the deck and the existing concrete slab on which we were installing it. As a result there was not enough space for any under beams and we employed a slightly different method to a deck on the first floor.
The substructure is first built on the ground and is then attached to the wall using sleeve anchors. It results in the entire substructure being flat and in the same plane. This as opposed to a beam that supports a joist sitting on top of it. So to start with a 30 x 102 is cut to length to fit the length of the building to which it will be attached. Joists, at 550 centres, are then T’ed off this and secured from behind using two kalgard screws. A last fascia beam is secured in the same way resulting in a grid type substructure which is then lifted into place, chocked if need be, and secured to the wall using sleeve anchors. The front edge is then supported by short legs which rested directly onto the concrete. There was no need to dig through the concrete as it was solid enough to support the weight of the deck. On the front edge where we have canter levered it we had to drop longer posts down onto the retaining wall and concrete these into the retaining blocks.
The balustrade was an unconventional balustrade as can be seen from the pic. Because the client didn’t want to obstruct his view when in a seated position, we reduced the height of the balustrade to 500mm instead of the normal 1m. We also left the balustrade open and no pickets or cross pieces were installed resulting in a very simple straight lined balustrade. It worked well and looked quite neat afterwards.
Stairs were installed at 1m wide with the same style balustrade or hand rail running up each side.
This deck was intentionally left unsealed so that it would weather. When balau weathers it turns a very attractive grey colour. It’s a personal preference I suppose. Some like it, some don’t. It looks more rustic without looking too tatty. It must be noted though that if one decides to seal it afterwards, then it must be bleached and prepared properly otherwise it will turn very dark, almost black. The greying is actually black algae that grows on the surface of the wood and although it won’t necessarily result in rot, needs to be bleached and removed with a high pressure cleaner before sealing. This is also applicable to decks that have been sealed and are now to be re-sealed and have started greying.
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- Wooden Sundeck built in The Bluff Durban – Jan 2013 (thewoodjoint.co.za)
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- Deck maintenance and deck sealing (thewoodjoint.co.za)