Wooden Pergola Built in La Lucia, Durban

Wooden Pergola Durban

Wooden pergola with thatching laths

This was an interesting wooden pergola we built in Durban. Most often pergolas are built using planed all round pieces (PAR) in the traditional pergola design which is vertical posts to support the structure and horizontal purlins of varying width and thickness to cover the top. Wooden pergolas don’t really offer any functional benefit as the rain still comes through and it offers limited sun protection depending on the density of the purlins above. This one however offered both protection from rain and sun yet still allowed light to come through.

We built a structure using H3 CCA Pine which is guaranteed for 50 years against rot and insect infestation. On top of this we placed polycarbonate roof sheeting which we got from Modek. We used their bronze translucent one so that it breaks the sun yet still allows light through and of course offers protection from rain. It is best to use custom-made lengths so as to avoid any joins which would need to be waterproofed. It is not sufficient to overlap them in the direction of the fall. Because the angle or pitch of the roof sheeting is relatively gradual, the wind can blow the water backwards, up hill and through the joins. So it must be waterproofed to avoid any leaks. It is therefore much better to use one full length, the same length as the structure itself.

Once our roof sheeting was on we installed thatching laths beneath with no gaps between them. These laths vary in diameter from 20mm to 35mm. So one needs to install them head to toe to limit the size of the gaps between them. This way they become quite dense so that one can’t see the structure or roof sheeting from beneath, but they still allow enough light through. In other jobs we have installed them with as little as half a laths diameter gap, but that still allows quite of lot of visible roof sheeting from beneath. It is therefore better to stack them tightly up against each other.

After these we clad the sides to cover or hide the pine we used with balau deck boards. The balau is a much better looking wood in terms of grain, colour and the straightness of each board. Balau is very stable and will tend to warp or cup less than pine over the years. So the appearance of the structure will remain flat and square a lot longer than pine.

Wooden Pergola Durban

Wooden pergola with thatching laths

The final product was a rustic looking pergola which offered protection from sun and rain yet still allowed natural light through. The client later installed a sound system and lights beneath. They had a pizza oven installed and a gas braai with a bar area which made for a very nice outdoors entertainment area which was protected from the elements.

For a free no obligation quote on pergolas or other decking needs as well as floors or laminates please contact us on 082 496 5444 or you can use the form below to e-mail me.

Wooden Screens, Pergolas, Decks and Gates Durban

Driveway gate clad in balau

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Wooden gates Durban

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Wooden Screens Durban

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Wooden balustrades and pergolas Durban

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We were asked to quote on wooden screens, wooden pergolas, wooden decks and wooden gates on a new build in Prestondale, an area north of Umhlanga, at a development called Izinga Ridge. We originally quoted in about June 2013 and the work was awarded to us for s start date of about 1 November 2013. The job consisted of various screens between brick columns on the boundary wall, a pergola on an open balcony on the first floor, external and internal balustrades, garden gates, a driveway gate and a pool deck.

All the timber we used was balau hardwood with the exception of the substructure of the pool deck which was H3 and H4 CCA treated pine. In other articles you can read about how we have managed to keep our prices down by using this as a substructure whilst still being able to offer up to a 50 year guarantee on this treated timber.

Most of the screens were pretty straight forward with balau cleats on the wall and then clad using a non reeded 19 x 68 deck board. We used non reeded so that both sides would look the same, but we did battle to find non reeded boards as most of the deck boards available are already reeded, or grooved on one side. There were two screens that proved a little more difficult as the wall we were attaching them to was angled. So the boards had to be cut at that angle and secured to each other whilst still remaining level and the join remaining plumb.

The external balustrades were different to our normal vertical picket style balustrades as the client requested horizontal slats instead. Again we used non reeded deck boards for this with a normal post system. On each post we attached vertical cleats to accept the horizontal deck boards or slats. They were installed in line, or on top of the concrete slab, rather than being attached to the front of the concrete slab. The tiles had already gone down so we had to drill through the tiles without cracking them. We installed an “ankle” on the middle post to provide support which is attached to the vertical post and is then shaped to fit around the slab to attach again to the vertical of the concrete slab. This, in effect, allows the post to be attached to the outside but still allows the balustrade to sit on top of the slab. It is much neater but does require a bit more thought and re-enforcing.

Wooden decks durban

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The pool deck was relatively simple as it was a low-level deck around the pool with a simple frame system using 38 x 114 joists and beams. Extra posts had to be concreted in as it wasn’t high enough to slot an under beam, or main beam, of 50 x 228 in.

The driveway gate was fun. We had the steel made up in a design that would work well by cladding it with wood. We had to source long enough non reeded boards to run the full width of 4m. One cannot join boards in this type of gate unless there is a centre steel vertical support which would spoil the look of the gate a bit. We had run out of standard non reeded boards and so had all suppliers so we sourced a 20 x 140 board and ripped it in half, length ways, to arrive at two boards of 20 x 68.

Wooden balustrades Durban

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The pictures alongside show some work in progress and some completed work. It was an interesting but challenging job as there were many contractors on site all trying to work, and finish, before the handover of the house. The worst part of the job was fighting traffic from north Umhlanga to the freeway in both the morning and afternoon.

For a free, no obligation, quote on wooden decks, pergolas, garden gates, balustrades and all other outdoor timber work, please call us on 082 496 5444 or complete the form below.

Wooden Pergola La Lucia – Durban

Wooden Pergola Durban

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Wooden Pergola, Durban

This pergola was built for a client of mine in La Lucia, Durban. They were on of my first clients and have since continued to come back to me for other work ranging from sundecks to doors, bars etc. Their pergola is still in good condition and we have since been back to install corrugated roof sheeting on top to block the rain out but still allow light through. We used a translucent bronze roof sheeting from Safintra.

The pergola was drawn by a draftsman and we quoted based on that. With all due respect to engineers, draftsmen and architects, they do tend to over spec when it comes to using balau. Perhaps it is building regulations that force them to spec it the way they do. Balau is twice as dense as SA Pine, twice as heavy and far stronger. I have seen a deck 3.5m in the air being held up with 60 x 60 posts which had been joined with a half check in the middle. Although I wouldn’t build like that, it bears testimony to the strength of balau and its stability. That deck was at least 15 years old and the posts were still straight and had not bowed under the weight of the deck.

Wooden Pergola Durban

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Nevertheless we built according to the spec and used two 40 x 140 pieces of balau as the posts with a spacer in between. So we had a split post which measured a total of 120 x 140 with a gap in between. These were secured to pre fabricated galvanised steel feet that kept the wood of the ground and were secured to the concrete patio using sleeve anchors.

From there we built a structure up to the desired height and built it around an existing braai chimney. It was secured to the chimney on both sides to give the effect of the joists or rafters moving through the brick work of the chimney. There was an angled front to it and we fixed a fascia beam to that front edge.

The top was clad with thatching laths to give it a rustic look and feel. It kept the sun out and provided the shade they wanted, but the rain obviously still came through.  Bolts were used to secure the posts together through the spacers.

2 years later they asked me to come back and place bronze translucent roof sheeting on the top and clad the sides using the same thatching laths. Now it keeps the sun out and the rain but still retains its rustic look and feel.

Wooden Pergola Durban

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The roof was completed easily enough by attaching some rafters and purlins at the correct spacing and then attaching the roof sheets using self-drilling Tek roofing screws. The front end of the roof sheeting had to be cut as the front edge of the pergola was angled. Cutting plastic roof sheeting can be tricky as it tends to burn and melt with the heat generated from the angle grinder disk. It was therefore better to use a non-abrasive disk like the steel disks normally used to cut concrete or stone. The fiber disk was too abrasive and melted the sheeting wherever it touched it.

Please feel free to give us a call for quotes on wooden pergolas, sun decks and other timber related construction by completing this simple form.  Or you can get us on 082 496 5444.

Timber Deck Installed in Queensburgh, Durban

Sundeck installer Durban

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This was our second deck we installed in Durban and this time around we got the spec right and didn’t spend all our money on timber. The deck was pretty much on ground level but still required normal 30 x 102 joists as it was not supported by a concrete base. Should there have been a concrete slab on which to support it then we could have used smaller batons instead of joists. We still sued a cleat and beam system although later in my Sundeck installer career I learned the other method of a joist as the cleat attached to the wall with the joists Téd off that and a fascia beam on the front.

There was a fair amount of digging to get the garden to the correct level as the one side was quite a bit more elevated than the other.
This deck had a floating step which was quite large, bigger than a normal tread. It worked very well in that it appears that the step is not attached to the deck at all and is large enough to step down comfortably on to it.

Sundecks builder Durban

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Being our second deck we set everything out and started decking it. Half way through our deckboards we realised that the front beam was not straight. It bowed inwards and as the deck boards went down it became more and more noticeable. So all the deckboards came off, the beam was straightened and back they went. A costly mistake in time but a lesson learnt that will ensure that that mistake never happens again. A simple piece of fish line or builder’s line must be placed along the front edge of the beam when fastening the joists to ensure that it is straight. A false joist can be used here in the middle of the beam attached in the same direction as the joists will lie to hold it in place while the joists go down. The same rule applies for joists. When I joist is placed down it must also be square off the wall and the rest of the joists must be parallel to that one. Timber will always be bowed in one direction or another, some more than others. But they must be pulled straight before being attached. In the case of joists this will ensure that they screw line on the deckboards is straight and more appealing to the eye. Also it keeps the distance between joists exactly 550 between centres for the entire length of the joist. This is particularly important on joists that are placed on the end of the deck as the deckboards will be cut there and if not straight then the deckboards will either not be straight or they will form a lip where the joist bows inwards or outwards.

Sundecks Durban

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The balustrade on this deck was pretty straight forward to. We notched the cross pieces so that they fitted snuggly together in the same plane rather than overlapping them. We built a pergola in balau above which eventually took a roof. The client however attended to the roof sheeting.