Deck refurbishment in Kloof

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This was an old deck in Kloof that we refurbished recently. It had balau deck boards on top of a balau structure. Of the 11 joists that made up the structure only 2 were still in a fair condition. The rest had rotted and we needed to replace them. Please see this article on the pros and cons of using balau as a structure. https://blog.thewoodjoint.co.za/2015/06/21/balau-vs-cca-treated-substructure-in-your-wooden-deck-durban-and-cape-town/

The deck was fairly old (20 years plus). 20 years ago most deck builders used balau as a structure. Over time they have come to realise that a chemically treated pine structure will out last a balau structure because it is chemically treated and therefore it’s behaviour is known. The process of pressure treating is safe and arguably does no more damage to the environment than cutting the purpose grown tree down in the first place.

We ended up lifting all these deck boards, numbering them and replacing them in their same position so that we could use the same screw holes. Rather than sliding new joists in below the deck boards.

The deck boards themselves where quite mottled with black algae but the wood itself was still ok so we pressure cleaned the deck and then oiled it with a penetrating oil. In some pics you can see the difference between coats of oil.  The balustrade is all new as the old balustrade had rotted away beyond repair and had been removed by the client.

For a free no obligation quote on your new deck build or deck refurbishment please contact us on 031 – 762 1795 or use the contact us form below.

Balau Timber Deck – Westville

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Here’s some before pics and some after pics of a deck in Westville that had rotted and was removed and replaced.

The original deck had been built using H2 CCA Treated pine as a structure and what looked like balau deck boards and H2 CCA treated timber was used in the balustrade. See here for an article on the correct Hazard Classification for using treated pine in outdoor projects. https://blog.thewoodjoint.co.za/2015/06/21/balau-vs-cca-treated-substructure-in-your-wooden-deck-durban-and-cape-town/.

It is vitally important to use at least H3 CCA treated pine in any outdoor application where occasional wetting occurs. H2 CCA pine is designed for roofs and will rot outdoors. H3 is designed for outdoors and will last at least 50 years outdoors in the rain provided it has a chance to dry out after it rains.

The balau deck boards on this deck run in the opposite direction to the way we normally build them. In other words they run the width rather than the length. The reason for this was that we needed to follow the curve of the existing paving and running the deck boards the length would have resulted in long thin slivers of deck boards to get the curve. Running them the width meant we could cut the end of the deck board to follow the curve. A much neater job at the end of the day and less chance of splintering.

Because of the way the deck boards run it results in short main beams and longer joists as can be seen from the front view of the deck. The mean beams always run in the same direction as the deck boards with joists on top of beams running perpendicular to deck boards. The ends of these main beams of 228mm can look unsightly and can be clad to cover the pine. In this instance though the client opted not to clad them as there is unfortunately an additional cost and the front of this deck is not really seen unless one is standing in the garden on the lower level. We did clad the sides though as these are very visible. This we did at no extra cost. You know, “going the extra mile” and all.

The balustrade is full balau this time around and should outlast at least me. Maybe not my kids, as all wood will rot in time. The balau just takes a lot longer to rot which makes it the ideal outdoor timber to be used in timber decks and balustrades.

The deck was oiled as opposed to being coated which retains the natural look and feel of the wood and is easy to maintain going forward as you simply clean it and put more oil on it.

For a free no obligation quote on your timber decking, balustrade, pergola, screens and other outdoor work, please contact us on 031 – 762 1795 or use the contact us form below. We also supply install in door wooden floors.

Wooden Deck Hillcrest February 2019

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This client in Hillcrest had this irregular shaped “dead space” that she wanted to deck. Because it doesn’t get much sun, it is always wet and muddy. So we decked it in balau deck boards. The contrast between white paving and wooden decking works very well and the actual shape of the deck makes it what it is. In designing an outside area, one should try to use different materials that compliment each other. Too much wood or too much grass doesn’t work. But a bit of wood, grass and paving works very well and compliments each other.

The challenges were in getting the top of the deck flush with the top of the paving because the corners of the paving are rounded over so unfortunately we had to leave a small space between the board and the top of paving. Although the board is butted up tight against the paving because of the round over a small gap is created. It didn’t however look bad at all and works well. It wasn’t practical to chamfer the end of the deck board as it would have resulted in a very thin sliver that would cause problems down the line.

We decided on leaving the far end straight rather than trying to follow the curve of the rock wall. The gap was then taken up with loose stones flush with the top of the deck.

Another happy client adding to the 99.5% happy rate of our clients.

For a free no obligation quote on your decking, and other timber requirements please contact us on 031 – 762 1795, 082 496 5444 or use the contact us form below. We work throughout KZN and have four crews of skilled deck builders with multiple vans to get the done quickly, accurately and to your satisfaction.

Wooden Decking in Ballito and Umhlanga

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It would seem that most timber decking is taking place in Umhlanga and Ballito in the greater Durban area in 2019. Most other areas have quietened off considerably and I can only assume it is uncertainty in the market. Being officially in recession still, elections looming in May 2019, a new president, load shedding and recent talk of expropriation without compensation has “spooked’ the market somewhat and resulted in cash being held back. This coupled with the broken state of affairs in South Africa for the last 10 years under our previous leadership has led to the market being severely depressed.

Nonetheless we put our heads down and soldier on.

An important factor to consider in times of low cash flow and a depressed market is that everyone starts doing what they normally don’t do at very competitive rates. It’s natural. In other words a person who normally specialises in timber decking in Durban might start doing roofs and general building. Although they may be capable of doing the job they don’t specialise in it and as a result the consumer receives a service or product that doesn’t quite match the quality of a specialist. The same applies for other industries or niche markets in some industries. A roofing contractor or general builder suddenly starts looking for work in other fields such as wooden decking instead of subbing those out to the specialists. Often this takes place at reduced rates in order to secure the work or they are not completely familiar with costings. The looser in these circumstances is often the consumer. All consumers look for the best deal and when faced with various “cheap” quotes and only a few correctly priced quotes, the job is often awarded to someone who is not a specialist and has under quoted the job. See this article on a similar topic https://blog.thewoodjoint.co.za/2018/01/31/cheap-wooden-deck-builders-and-deck-building-companies-in-durban/

The advice? Make sure you are dealing with a specialist wooden deck builder when building a wooden deck and make sure you are dealing with a specialist plumber when getting your plumbing sorted. This way you can compare quotes based on the same or similar service. I recently went head to head with another contractor who quoted half my rate on a balustrade. I know what it costs to buy the balau needed for the balustrade and at those rates he was making a margin of about 5%. Really???

Take a spin through our website for various articles, pics and discussion around wooden decking in Durban.

Use the contact us form below to get in touch with us for a free no obligation quote or you can call us on 031 – 762 1795.

The above pics are pics of a job we’ve just completed in Maritzburg.  Taken in the rain as work in progress

Wooden Deck Waterfall September 2018

Wooden Deck Durban Waterfall

The video here shows the deck we built from the neighbours yard with the mist rolling down the hill in the early morning. Besides being an incredible sight to see one can see how this garden lends itself to a wooden deck.

The deck was built square off the house towards the boundary fence which over looks The Valley of a Thousand Hills near the Hillcrest area. On either side at the back of the deck there are stairs that lead back to each side of the house. The deck totalled about 80 to 90 square metres.

It was built the standard way we build with a treated pine sub structure and 19 x 68mm yellow balau deck boards. There is a difference between red and yellow balau deck boards. We stock only yellow balau deck boards and use only yellow balau in the building of our decks. The wooden balustrade was our standard vertical picket style balustrade, which is the safest at heights like these, as there are no gaps that exceed 100mm and is therefore compliant in terms of SANS building regulations. The balustrade is at a height of 1.0m. Once you start going higher than about 2 stories it is advisable to build the balustrade at 1.2m for safety reasons.

Stairs can either be built as open risers or closed risers. As open risers one can see through them whereas closed risers the underside of the deck is not visible. From a cost point of view they are the same so the choice would be made on whether or not you want to look below at the structure or not.

All our decks are finished by filling the counter sunk screw holes with a clear epoxy and saw dust mixture and then sanding flat before oiling with a decking oil. There is an option to leave the deck unoiled and to allow it to weather naturally and turn a grey colour.

In the still pic one can how effective lighting is below the capping to illuminate the deck yet not shine in your eyes. These are easy to install in that they are glued below the capping. They are LED lights so very little power is used to illuminate the deck surface.

For a no obligation quote on your sun deck, pool deck, timber balustrades and other timber related outdoor or indoor construction, please contact us on 031 – 762 1795 or use the contact form below.

Message Sent (go back)

Wooden Deck in Scottburgh, South Coast KZN

This was a wooden deck built in balau for a client who had opened a Bed and Breakfast on the coast. As you can see form the pics the wooden deck was built in the front of the property overlooking the sea. There were of course strict time lines in which we had to complete this wooden deck as they had already made confirmed bookings. With these job which are a fair distance from home we normally rent accommodation and pay the builders a live out allowance for food etc. It inevitably pushes the cost of the build up slightly which is unavoidable.

There are some before and after pics in this article. We had to excavate the soil below. It is always best to leave a fair amount of space below the bottom of the structure and the bottom of the deck boards to allow sufficient airflow for water evaporation. If the deck structure is touching the ground then one would need to use H4 CCA Treated timber which has a minimum life span of 20 years in constant contact with wet soil as per SAWPA (South African Wood Preservers Association). H3 CCA Treated pine as a structure which is NOT in constant contact with wet soil has a minimum life span of 50 years if correctly installed. So it makes sense to keep the structure to H3 for cost purposes, and expected minimum life span, but keep it well clear of any soil. By allowing air to flow freely between the structure and the ground keeps everything relatively dry below and the deck structure will last a lot longer. Continual dampness below speeds up rot and premature failure. In this instance we excavated to at least 300mm below the structure.

There was a pool that had been installed prior to our build by Clear Blue Pools – Gary Botha (071 679 1013) and we worked closely with the pool builder so that the concrete ring beam of the pool was set down 60mm from the desired deck height (top of deck). This allows us a 40mm batten on top of the concrete ring beam and a 19mm deck board. 40mm is the minimum we like to allow for this purpose, again to allow for sufficient air flow to keep things dry between the deck surface and the ring beam. These cleats or battens are fixed directly to the concrete ring beam and the rest of the joists which are suspended above soil become a 38 x 114 to give it lateral strength.

The rest of the deck was pretty much the same then as the other decks we’ve built using 19 x 68mm yellow balau deck boards, counter sunk screw holes filled with clear epoxy and saw dust mixture, sanded flat and oiled using a decking oil.

For a free no obligation quote on your deck please call us on 031 – 762 1795 or use the contact us form below.

Balau Wooden Deck, Kloof Durban

 

Here’s a straight forward wooden balau deck we built in Kloof, Durban in October 2018. There were a few angles that had to be cut precisely to finish it neatly but other than that the deck was straight forward to build.

We used an H3 and H4 CCA Treated pine substructure. Because the pine is S5 (Industrial SABS approved grade) it is strong enough to be used as a structure for various building purposes. It is also relatively inexpensive in comparison to other hardwoods that could be used as decking structure. Being S5 it contains a certain amount of knots per square metre and is therefore SABS approved as structural timber. Timber with more knots per square metre is normally used as knotty pine ceiling boards where there is very little structural pressures on the timber. Timber with less knots per square metre is referred to as semi clears or S7 grade. S7 becomes quite expensive and is used as deck boards at times to eliminate knots failing on the deck surface. However because one would need to use twice as much wood (38mm thick) when using pine deck boards, the cost is the same as using a 19mm x 68mm balau deck board at half the quantity of wood. As such we use 19 x 68mm yellow balau deck boards as the surface for most of our wooden decks in Durban. The balau is far more stable being twice as dense and hard with a regular straight grain and as such these balau deck boards don’t twist, cup or bow as easily as pine. With the pine being H3 CCA treated it has a life span of at least 50 years outdoors in the rain and weather.

We added a small flight of open riser steps to this deck to gain access to the garden. These are done in full solid balau using 30mm stock. Normally the stringers are 30 x 215 and the treads are made of multiple pieces of 30 x 102 with cleats fixed to the stringers and the treads are fixed to the cleats. They don’t work that well in pine as the pine becomes very visible throughout and one ends up cladding it anyway which brings the cost back to the same as solid balau. The alternative to open risers steps is to do closed risers where box type steps are made of pine structure and then clad resulting in the riser being closed.

The screw holes of all our decks are counter sunk with a Kalgard decking screw and filled with a clear epoxy and saw dust mixture to match the colour of the wood and then ground flat and sanded smooth prior to oiling the deck. You’ll find other articles on this site where we discuss the pros and cons of using oil vs other finishes available on the market and leaving the deck to naturally grey and weather. If you use the search bar at the bottom right and search for maintenance you’ll find a complete article on deck maintenance.

For a free no obligation quote on your wooden deck in Durban and surrounding areas, please use the contact us form below or you can call us on 031 – 762 1795.

Wooden Balau Deck Built Waterfall, Durban July 2018

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This wooden deck we built in Waterfall, Durban was part of a new build at Focus on Ithemba along Blessing Ninela Road, Waterfall. They were building a new boardroom and office complex and part of the design was a wooden exterior deck.

The job was referred to us by Mass Landscapes, Miles Steenhuysen, who was contracted to do the landscaping. His details can be found here.

In consultation with Miles and the project manager we designed the deck so as to flow around this office complex comfortably and aesthetically and within budget.

The structure of the deck was the standard H3 and H4 CCA treated pine. H3 and H4 CCA treated pine is suitable for outdoors decks. H3 has a life span of a minimum of 50 years and correctly treated H4 pine can live in the ground in constant contact with wet soil for a minimum of 20 years. These are guidelines provided by www.sawpa.co.za. The full document can be found here.

We used 19 x 68mm yellow balau deck boards as the surface. There is a difference between red and yellow balau. The red balau, which is a bit cheaper in South Africa, is a lot more porous and less dense than the yellow balau and as a result will absorb and retain water more easily than yellow balau and will therefore probably rot more quickly. We use only yellow balau which is the most cost-effective hardwood for decking in South Africa. It is not correct to assume that treated pine is cheaper than balau deck boards. Please see here for an article on the difference between balau and pine in decking.

The building we were attaching this deck to was not completely square with itself as it was an old building that had been extended. As such one needs to be very careful when building wooden decks against walls that aren’t square or straight. At some point there will need to be a correction to eliminate the problem and it needs to occur where it is less visible. Either the deck can be built square to itself but it will highlight the errors on the building or the deck needs to be built off square to take up any difference between the building and the deck in a place where it is less visible and can be concealed.

Screw holes we filled with epoxy and sanded flat. The epoxy used was a clear epoxy which was mixed with saw dust to match the colour. The epoxy in the screw holes prevents water sitting in the counter sunk screw hole and being absorbed up the end grain which would cause rot to set in more quickly. The deck can be oiled after sanding or left to grey naturally.

For a free no obligation quote on timber decking and related construction, we can be contacted on 031 – 762 1795 or use the contact us form below.

Balau pool deck and walkway – Kloof, Durban

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We engaged with Masslandscapes, a landscaper and garden designer (082 468 3759) on this balau pool deck project in Kloof, Durban to provide a solution for the client who wanted an area alongside their pool that they could utilise more. Before the project started there was the standard paved area of about 1m alongside the pool which was bordered by grass of about 1m and then a flower bed, before dropping down a small bank to the rest of the garden. The client wanted to increase the size of usable area alongside the pool.

Initial designs were to have a very similar layout as per the pics above with a semi-circle sort of node protruding over the bank to gain height and create a look out area overlooking the Kloof Gorge. This proved to be out of budget and would probably have resulted in doubling up sitting area as there was already a large tiled verandah extending out from the living area doors. The final design was settled on which is what you see in the pics.

We needed to excavate some of the garden down and move this top soil for use in another area of the garden. It is always recommended that sufficient space be left below the deck and below the bottom of the lower most bearer or joist to allow enough air flow to dissipate and evaporate any water that settles below the deck. Too often I have seen deck boards rotting prematurely due to insufficient space being left below. Water gets trapped below and the underside of the deck and structure remains damp. I normally recommend at least 150mm below the lowest point of the structure. Once we had enough space below we installed our structure using H3 CCA treated pine. Please see here for an article on the use of CCA Treated pine as structures for decks and balau as deck boards. All cut ends of treated pine, as a matter of course, are re treated with an approved end sealer. When a CCA treated piece of pine is cut it exposes a section that is not treated and can accelerate rot.

Post to ground are set in concrete and installed at the correct distance on the bearers to stop any bounce in the bearer and to provide enough support to prevent the bearer breaking. There are guidelines supplied by engineers for distances that these supports need to be installed. These posts need to be H4 CCA treated pine as they are in constant contact with wet soil.

A lot of this job involved lining up existing paving, pool copings, patio etc. to the deck so the lines were seamless and everything ties in neatly. A walkway, as can be seen from the pics, was created to run alongside the existing raised patio for access to the rest of the garden.

In finishing our decks we fill the screw holes with a clear epoxy mixed with saw dust to match the colour as closely as possible and then grind and sand it flat. Standard wood filler doesn’t quite do the trick and fails with exposure to weather. The filling of screw holes is a very important aspect of deck building. It prevents water sitting in the counter sunk screw hole which would then travel up the end grain of the balau and cause early rotting of the balau deck boards. We use a clear epoxy so that we can match the colour to the deck boards. Off the shelf epoxies are either grey or white in colour and don’t take the saw dust that well to match the colour. Also these epoxies dry very hard. It is better to use an epoxy that is semi pliable when dry. Through seasons of dry and wet, hot and cold, the inside diameter of the counter sunk screw hole will vary ever so slightly. If the epoxy has dried too hard it will cause it to pop out leaving a weak spot on the balau deck board. During maintenance intervals these should be checked and replaced if they have in fact popped.

The deck was oiled using a zero wax content product. The beauty of oil is that it soaks into the wood and therefore cannot peel and flake. A peeling deck is an expensive deck to maintain because you would need to sand off the coating completely to avoid a patchy finish when re-applying the coating. Whereas an oil simply degrades due to exposure to UV over time. A pressure wash and re-oil is all you need to do at maintenance intervals which is relatively inexpensive and easy to do as opposed to sanding the deck again. The oil also allows the natural beauty of the wood to shine through resulting in a more natural wood looking product. Coatings give them the effect of a painted deck especially over time when layer after layer has been applied.

For a free no obligation quote on your timber balau decking, walkways, pergolas and other outdoor timber products, please call us on 031 – 762 1795 or use the contact us form below. We operate throughout KZN.

Used Balau Balustrade Material – Durban

Second hand or Used Balau Balustrade Material available for re-sale in Durban.

This balau balustrade has been removed from a site and replaced with another balustrade.  The balau wood is still very good as can be seen from the piece that has been machined.  It is still in the panels you see in the pics below but can be dismantled by you for use in another project.  Below is a link to a pdf file of a list of the pieces that make up the balustrade with sizes and quantities.  It is available to view on request.

Used Balau Wood Balustrade Durban

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You can use the contact us form below to make contact with me or call me, Garrick, on 082 496 5444.