This wooden deck we are installing is almost complete. The pics alongside are work in progress pics. I’ll update it with some others once we are done and you can then get the full feel of the deck. It has been an interesting installation as there are effectively three sections to it and the whole job incorporates three different methods of installing a wooden deck.
The first section is a deck around the pool measuring 1.2m off the side of the pool. The slasto that was there had quite a steep fall from the edge of the pool to the soil to allow water to run away from the pool instead of in to it. We used 38 x 114 joists but had to cut them in a wedge shape to allow them to be level on top but still remain in contact with the slasto as much as possible. There is an easier way of doing this by using 38 x 38 batons with a foot on the side, farthest from the pool, so that the baton remains level on top. This would of course result in a large gap beneath the baton. Being only 38mm in thickness the baton would break as a load is placed on top of it. So one would need to pack the underside of this baton with a suitable material. In the past we have used structural grout simply because of its strength and usability. It is fairly easy to use as it is cementious based. You simply mix it with water and pack the gap. It dries extremely hard, harder than cement, and contains small fibres in it which give it its strength. Both ways are structurally sound, but cutting wedge-shaped joists takes time and they inevitably need to be shimmed to get to a perfect level across all joists. Packing them is easier and just as strong. So next time I will revert to the old tried and tested method of packing them to save time.
We ran our deck boards parallel to the pool on all fours sides, rather than running them all in the same direction. The method we used in this deck is of course the better method. It looks neater and also keeps more water from the pool away from the end grain of the deck boards. Water is absorbed by wood largely through the end grain so this method will result in less rot than running them all the same way where two sides will have end grain facing the pool. However, and a big however, this method is tricky in that if the pool is not perfectly square, the corners of the deck will not run out from the pool at 45°. If a deck board is cut at say 40°, the other deck board that will meet it on that corner will need to be cut at an angle other than 40° if the deck is not square as a result of the pool not being square. And herein lies the problem. The cut ends of each deck board will not be the same
length and will not meet up nicely resulting in a stepped joint. Hence the deck MUST be built square regardless of how square the pool is. This brings with it another problem in that it will mean that two ends will overhang the pool and two ends will be flush with the edge of the pool. If the pool is only slightly out of square, then it is not a problem because it won’t be seen. However if the pool is far out of square, then the overhang on the two sides becomes too big. If this is the case then opt for deck boards running all the same way or a gap filler must be placed between the join, so that the eye cannot pick up the difference in lengths of cut ends.
There was small walkway of 1.3m wide by about 4.5m long joining this pool deck to the other deck pictured alongside. There was a small step up to this deck which was enclosed with a balustrade.
So three different style decking systems were used which made it very interesting. One was a baton system on a slasto substrate, the other was a frame system as the walkway and the third was a joist and beam system which was suspended about 2m up.
Tomorrow we will continue sanding and then seal.
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- Wooden pool deck built in Westville, Durban (thewoodjoint.co.za)