Wooden Deck Gillitts – July 2019

The pics here are of a wooden deck we have just completed in Gillitts. The client wanted an old deck removed, dumped and a new one built with slight changes. It was built in the normal way using an H3 CCA treated substructure and balau deck boards of 19 x 68mm which is the most affordable way to build a wooden deck that will last. The H3 CCA treated pine has a minimum life span of 50 years outdoors in the rain and the balau, being balau, will give one many years of use. The balustrades are all full balau in a vertical picket style and the stairs are open risers in balau. These were slightly wider than normal so as to tie into the posts of the balustrade on the deck.

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Screw holes were filled with epoxy to stop water ingress and sanded flat and the deck was oiled.

There are many other articles on this site that will give you the pros and cons of the different materials that we use. Please feel free to browse.

For a free no obligation quote please use the contact form below or you can call me Garrick Dunstan on 082 496 5444.

Wooden Balustrades

Wooden Balustrades Durban and Cape Town

Balau Horizontal Balustrade

Wooden balustrades are necessary on all decks that are above 1m off the ground for safety reasons. Some people opt for them even if the deck is lower than 1m. They normally sit 1m above the deck surface but on decks which are higher than about 4m off the ground, it is recommended that one install a 1.2m high balustrade for safety reasons.

There are various designs from a standard vertical picket style balustrade to a criss cross pattern to diagonal slats and even deck boards installed horizontally. One should consider the reason for installing a wooden balustrade and then decide which one to opt for. For instance a vertical picket style is safe for high decks as they can’t be easily climbed and all gaps between pickets are less than 100mm so small children can’t fall through.

A criss cross balustrade has large openings and is not as safe.

Most balustrades have a capping on top of about 30mm x 100m allowing for a comfortable arm rest and a spot to place a drink.

Wooden Decks Durban and Cape Town

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Contact us if you’re planning on doing any wooden balustrade work on 082 496 5444 or use the form provided below.

Stainless Steel Wire Rope Balustrades, Durban

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Below is an article on wire rope balustrades to refresh the methods of installing them, display some pictures and highlight some pros and cons of this type of balustrade.

Wire rope balustrades are normally installed when one wants to avoid limiting the view as much as possible whilst still providing a barrier at the end of a deck. As opposed to solid timber balustrades which obstruct the view when in a seated position. A wire rope balustrade limits this as the cables are only 4mm thick.

On a standard 1m high compliant balustrade one would use 8 strands resulting in 9 gaps of 107mm each after taking into account that the capping is 30mm thick. Although the wire rope is tensioned on either end it is not tensioned to guitar string tension and can therefore be pulled open to create a bigger opening than 107mm. Care should therefore be taken when installing these wire rope balustrades if the property owner has small kids. They are not the safest and the height of the deck off the ground should be taken into account when choosing this style of balustrade.

As mentioned above the wire rope has a 4mm diameter. It consists of 19 smaller strands making up one larger strand (1 x19). The other type of wire rope is a 5mm wire rope. This is a 7 x 19. So it has 7 x 19 strands that make one 5mm strand. At The Wood Joint we use only the 4mm (1 x 19) wire rope as this is marine grade stainless steel and won’t tarnish as easily as the 5mm wire rope.

The 4mm rope doesn’t bend as easily as the 5mm rope so it cannot be used in conjunction with turn buckles where the rope needs to bend around the buckle 180º. Instead we make use of a swage and button head system where the wire rope is crimped into a swage on one end and a button head, which is sunk into the timber upright, on the other end. They are much neater than turn buckles but it does result in terminating the strands at a 90º corner and starting a new strand for the next run. As such, posts need to be doubled up so that a new button head can be installed where a swage terminates on the previous run. The end result is a slightly more expensive balustrade but one that won’t tarnish as easily and one that has a much neater appearance.

Care must be taken to cut the wire rope at the right length so as to have enough rope to insert it into the swage but not too much so that it can’t be tensioned properly. Once it is cut and crimped it can’t be re-cut or “uncrimped”.

The swage and button heads should be crimped towards the beginning and crimped twice to avoid failure later on. They can be finished off neatly with a stainless steel dome nut.

We are both suppliers and installers of wire rope balustrades. We own a crimping tool designed for 4mm wire rope which is also available for hire. Call us on 082 496 5444 or use the contact us form below for pricing and availability.

Balustrades on Wooden Deck, Durban

There are a number of different types of wooden balustrades one can have built for your wooden deck. We offer this product in both Durban and Cape Town. I will run through a few options in this article and will mention the pros and cons of each one.

There is a slide show above which shows the different options. I do not have fancy names for them such as Colonial, or Mediterranean. I call them simply what they are.

The vertical picket wooden balustrades are probably the only ones that are compliant in terms of building regulations as none of the gaps are larger than 100mm. They are generally made from 60 x 60 balau upright posts attached to the fascia beam or first or last joist in a wooden deck. We use the 60 x 60 upright post on the corners and in the middle of a long run. All other intermediary posts are 30 x 60 balau. There is a top rail and a bottom rail onto which the vertical pickets are attached. Rails are generally 30 x 40 and pickets are 20 x 30 balau. The bottom rail is set at 100mm off the deck surface and the top rail can be set either 100mm below the capping, or directly beneath the capping. The capping is generally made from a 30 x 102 balau giving it ample width to place a glass or lean comfortably on it. The capping is then routed to give the corners a rounded edge. The distance between upright posts is determined by the total length of the wooden balustrade resulting in equal spaces between uprights. Pickets too are set at equal spaces between uprights. This is the most affordable design of balustrade as it is fairly simple to construct.

The Criss Cross design can come in two main designs. A simple criss cross between uprights with a capping on top or a criss cross between uprights with a box in the middle of the criss cross. The two pieces of timber that are used for the criss cross are normally notched half way through each piece at an angle so that they fit snugly into each other instead of lapping over each other. The box is also set inside the two criss cross pieces so that the whole balustrade is in line rather than pieces over lapping each other. This design can be expensive as the method to construct is time-consuming and the pieces of timber are generally larger than the vertical picket design. It can also be changed to result in many different patterns.

The wire rope design is particularity useful when you don’t want to obscure the view when seated. A balustrade at 1m high will block the view in a seated position for most average height people. The wire rope is 4mm in diameter so it is less visible than say a 30mm piece of timber. The posts are generally also 60 x 60 and 30 x 60 uprights with a capping of 30 x 102 balau on top. The wire rope is set at 100mm intervals but can be opened wider as they are not tensioned to guitar string tension. As such they are not suitable if you have small kids and anything over 1m from the deck to ground level. The swages, turn buckles and wire rope are all marine grade stainless steel.

For a free no obligation quote on your timber balustrade requirements please call us on 082 496 5444 or use the contact us form below.

Wooden Decking Companies in Durban

wooden decking companies durban

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There are many wooden decking companies in Durban that one can choose from when planning to install a wooden deck. Some are reputable companies and some are not, as in any industry.

Besides comparing price one should always compare services to make sure you are comparing like quotes. Some wooden decking companies in Durban for instance will offer to build you wooden deck as well as seal it and other will only quote to build it. Some will offer to fill the screw holes with epoxy to stop water getting in them which will cause rot and others won’t. It is these small things that one needs to ask about and make sure that the service being received from one wooden decking company in Durban is the same as the other that you are comparing to.

Our service at The Wood Joint, includes the following: –

Building the deck with quality yellow balau. We generally build our substructure out of H3 and H4 CCA Treated pine. This is not only due to a cost factor but also because the pine is correctly treated to H3 CCA level which has a life span of at least 50 years exposed to the elements. You can expect to pay about 40% more if you chose a balau substructure. H3 CCA Treated pine is guaranteed for 50 years if used in the correct application and installed correctly.  It will therefore outlast balau as a substructure because the balau is not, and cannot be, pressure treated. I have often seen balau joists rotting from the top where the water gets trapped between the joist and the deck board. We always use balau deck boards as balau behaves better than pine on horizontal surfaces. Balau is a lot more stable and the pine tends to cup and warp over time with the constant hot and cold, expansion and contraction and occasional wetting.

wooden decking companies durban

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Our balustrades and stairs are all made from balau, unless otherwise specified, because if one uses pine as a balustrade, the pickets and cross supports need to be almost twice as thick as balau so they tend to look a bit too chunky. Balustrades do not work well in pine because of the knots found in pine which weaken the timber.

We use a kalgard decking screw which is guaranteed for 25 years by the manufacturer against rust. The screws are counter sunk and the counter sunk hole is filled with epoxy and saw dust so as to match the colour as closely as possible. Filling the screw hole stops water sitting in that hole and travelling up the deck board along the grain. Exposure to water for too long will speed up the rot process. So we fill it, sand it flat, and seal the deck using an oil based sealer which contains no wax. This makes it easy and therefore inexpensive to maintain your deck going forward. I have done a few refurbishment jobs where the decking company has not filled these holes and on the older decks, the deck boards have started to rot there. These are all standard services we offer which are normally included in the price we quote. So when comparing our quotes to others, please check what value added services they are offering you.

For a free no obligation quote on your wooden deck, pergolas, screens, walkways, etc. please contact us on 082 496 5444 or use the contact us form below.

Wooden Balau Horizontal Balustrade using Deck Boards

Wooden Balau Horizontal Balustrade using deck boards

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Wooden balau balustrades can be designed and built in many different ways. One gets traditional picket style wooden balustrades, which seem to be the most popular with nice clean straight vertical lines. There are the criss cross designs and criss cross with a box in the middle. These are all very basic descriptions for these designs. They are also known by other names such as Zimbali, Colonial etc. They all carry with them their own individual cost due to the different size timbers used in their construction.

The cost of standard deck boards are a lot less expensive, in terms of per cubic metre rate, than the structural pieces of balau. Structural pieces refer to sizes such as 60mm x 60mm which is used for the vertical posts, 30 x 40 which is used for rails etc. So it stands to reason that a balustrade that is made from deck boards of 19 x 68 will cost less in timber.

The pics alongside show a balustrade that we built using deck boards. The gaps were 20mm wide and the deck boards were attached to a cleat which was fixed to the vertical brick columns. Obviously the smaller the gaps between the boards, the more expensive it will be because more deck boards will be used. I wouldn’t increase the gap to more than 68mm, being one deck board’s width. For the cleats we used a 30mm x 40mm which is our standard rail in the picket style balustrade. The cleat only needs to be about 850mm or so, so these pieces can be taken from off cuts of previously built picket style balustrades resulting in a further cost saving that can be passed on the client. For the capping we used a standard capping of 30 x 102, but this can be changed too to a narrower one. I wouldn’t go narrower than 30 x 60. This is then bull nosed on the corners using a round over bit in the router.

This job was built in between brick columns, so these can actually be referred to as in-fills rather than a balustrade. This can also be built using 60mm x 60mm posts in place of the brick columns and these should be spaced about 1.5m apart to give the structure rigidity. The 60 x 60 posts can also be substituted for 30 x 60 posts, for intermediate posts, if budget is a concern. I prefer to use 60 x 60 posts on corners and ends though.

Wooden Balau Horizontal Balustrade using deck boards

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What to watch out for in building one of these is that the tops are all level and at the same height. Sometimes you will find that the distance between the top and bottom of the brick column varies. In this instance you will keep the tops level and it will result in a varying gap at the bottom. When looking at a balustrade or in-fill one looks at the top so it is better to have your variation in gaps at the bottom.

For a free no obligation quote on wooden balustrades, in fills or any other outdoor timber construction please contact us on 082 496 5444 or use the handy contact us form below.