There are plenty of wooden deck builders in Durban. With a simple search on Google you will find a few companies on page 1. If you trawl the various magazines that advertise home improvement services, you will find many there too. There are also various portals on the net that list these companies. Most of these wooden deck builders can be trusted and will deliver a relatively good quality product at a reasonable price. If however you dig a bit deeper you will find that there are literally hundreds of people in Durban who claim to be wooden deck builders. Again some of these you can trust as they are competent deck builders but have just perhaps not had the opportunity to learn how e-marketing works or the funds to pay for adverts on these portals or in these magazines. There are however many that can’t be trusted for various reasons ranging from running away with your deposit, to not building correctly, taking short cuts and using the wrong timber.
I have come up against a few of them in my career as a wooden deck builder in Durban. I have lost many jobs due to price only to find later that the installer has either not finished the job, has used the wrong materials such as non-treated or incorrectly classified CCA pine in their build, or has built it incorrectly and it is structurally flawed. Needless to say this leads to wasted money and a very unhappy client. The best price is not always the best option to go with because pure economics says that if the price is unrealistically low, then the builder must be taking short cuts in order to earn a living. If you consider that most contractors ask for a 50% or 60% deposit in order to purchase materials, then it makes sense that the profit margins are between 40% and 50% of the job. If one contractor is quoting a very low price he is either shaving his margins or buying sub-standard materials.
Be very careful when selecting a contractor. Do your research first and find out about other jobs he has done. Phone his references and get this info first hand from a satisfied client. A contractor will of course not list a reference who will not give him a good reference, so make sure he has provided enough references to ensure that he has at least done a few jobs that his clients have been happy with. Do a little research on the net yourself to find out what materials are available for decking and then ask him questions to test his knowledge of the product he claims to be an expert at.
Here are some questions you should ask a prospective contractor before awarding him your wooden deck build: –
What materials is he going to use? Balau is by far the best for the surface of your deck. There are others and they tend to increase in price, but balau is by far your most cost-effective hard wood. It is quite acceptable to use CCA treated pine as a substructure provided he is sourcing it from a reputable supplier who is regularly tested by SABS to ensure he is conforming to their standards.
Make sure he is using the correct hazard classification (H1 – H5) in his substructure. H2 CCA Pine is good for roofing where it is not subjected to the elements. H3 is good for outdoors in the rain and H4 is good for in the ground or in constant contact with wet soil. H5 is good for in water and H6 is good for in salt water. If he claims to be using balau as a substructure make sure he installs balau when he starts and stop the works if he does not. Many people won’t know the difference between pine and balau especially if he has coated it to make it darker. Meranti too can look very similar to balau. Check the delivery note when the supplier delivers it to your property to make sure it is in fact balau and not meranti or some other unsuitable timber.
Ask him what screws he is using. Kalgard coated screws are good. Stainless steel screws are even better. Ask him if he intends to close the screw hole with epoxy to prevent water getting in thereby increasing the chance of rot at the screw hole.
Check what his maximum spans are on his beams and joists. A piece of wood can only be spanned a certain distance before it breaks. Beams of 50 x 228 should only be spanned a max of 3m and 38 x 114 joists should only be spanned a maximum of 1.8 to 2.0m. Posts should be set in concrete to at least 600mm unless the deck is low-level in which case they can be set at about 300.
By asking a few questions about how he intends to build it and what he intends to use you will quickly learn if he knows what he is talking about or not.
In the picture alongside we built a narrow deck of 9m x 1m to extend the paved area next to the pool.
For a free no obligation quote or just for some advice please feel free to contact us on 031 – 762 1795 or use the form below.
- Wooden balau deck built in The Bluff – February 2012 (thewoodjoint.co.za)
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- Reducing rot in wooden sun decks (thewoodjoint.co.za)
- Wooden Decking Durban (thewoodjoint.co.za)