This existing timber deck in Umhlanga Durban had reached a point of no return and our recommendation to the client was that we remove it and replace it. It’s never a good thing to hear that you must throw it away and buy a new one because it can’t be fixed, but often wooden decks are not built as they should be built and they therefore do not last as long as they should.
From the picture alongside you can see the damage done to the posts at ground level as a result of insects. Given another year or so and those posts would have failed and although the deck might not have come falling down, it would have become unsafe and a danger to those trying to enjoy it. See far below for pics of the finished product.
The existing deck had been built out of pine and I can only think that the wrong H class was used. As I’ve mentioned in other articles, pine used for decking purposes needs to be CCA treated to at least an H3 level and any pieces in direct contact with the ground should be treated to H4 level. You can read up more on the H levels here http://www.sawpa.co.za. In a nutshell though, off the shelf H2 treated timber will not last. And don’t be fooled by the timber yard telling you they will “double dip” it. The pressure between H2 and H3 treated timber is different, so doubling dipping H2 will not make H3, it will make H2 + H2 and it WILL rot. On the other hand if the correct H level is used the suppliers will offer up to a 50 years guarantee on this timber against rot and insect infestation. Who’s building a deck that will still be around in 50 years?
We first removed the existing deck boards so that the joists were exposed. We removed all joists but left the main beam on the front edge so that we could use it as our guide to installing the new beam. We used the existing posts as temporary posts to build our substructure, then installed our new beam and dropped posts to ground from there. We then removed the old beam and old posts and were left with a new timber deck substructure in pretty much the same place as the old one. It made our life easier and took a lot less time.
There was a gate we built and installed along the one side. We used stainless steel hinges on it. I’ve found that stainless steel hinges with bearings in the spine are not that costly. In fact a lot less expensive than brass and, in my opinion, a lot more durable. The solid brass can sometimes be a bit soft whereas stainless steel is a lot harder. This is especially the case when talking about screws. Brass screws tend to sheer of quite easily under pressure.
It was a nice job to kick the year off with as it was relatively simple. The only hurdle was trying to build 3m in the air on a very steep slope. We used extension ladders but still it makes it difficult and a bit slower because someone has to hold the ladder and keep moving it when screwing down pickets on the balustrade which is time consuming.
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