This wooden stair case build by The Wood Joint in Durban was a tricky one. The client was a committee member on the body corporate for a small block of flats in Durban. There were about 4 units in the block and the existing steel fire escape had rusted to a point where it was unsafe. So first we had to remove the steel structure. With a little help from my friends, we came in and chemical anchored stainless eyes into the wall on both sides above the steel platform you see in the pics. From there we rigged up some climbing equipment to be safe and started cutting sections out of the steel structure and lowering them slowly to the ground. We had to cut small sections as the steel was 10mm thick and we didn’t want to damage the walls, windows or doors on the way down. We managed to get most of it down in one day with a small piece remaining for day two. We battled slightly in getting the main support off as the sewage pipes had been installed after the steel so we had to cut the steel out around the pipes so as not to damage the pipes. In removing it we inadvertently damaged a corner of the wall as the rawl bolts there were quite large, rusted and pretty much part of the building by now. We patched that using structural grout which was hard and strong enough to support our main beam to.
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With the steel gone, we set out to build a wooden stair case and landing that could act as a fire escape. The small landing part was easier enough and we canter levered it so as to keep our posts out of the way below for parking. In these smaller blocks of flats in Durban space is very limited so posts need to be kept well out the way of parking space. Because we were canter levering it we needed to use 30 x 140 joists of balau rather than our normal 30 x 102 joists.
The stringers for the stairs were also tricky as we had to follow the original line of the stringers because there was a window beneath that we couldn’t cover and we could only protrude to the end of the wall without obstructing the driveway. This resulted in our stringers being placed at 45 degrees which resulted in our risers being of equal length to our runs or treads. It is not ideal as it makes the stairs very steep but we had no option due to space and height. We were a total of about 4m in the air to the landing.
The treads went on alright, the balustrade too and we had to join the stringer on the outside with two independent posts to ground to support it as the timber we could get wasn’t long enough to run the full length of the stringer.
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We went back there a year or two later as one of the treads had popped a screw. Sometimes the timber moves more than one wants it to and breaks the screw off. We do however put additional back up screws in each piece we secure so they are safe in the event that one screw does break.
For a free no obligations quote on wooden stairs or any other outdoor timber construction please complete the form below or you can call us on 082 496 5444.
Jacuzzi cladding is a nice job to get hold of because it allows one to use up a lot of off cuts that would otherwise be useless in building say, a 20 square metre deck, as most of them are less than 1m in length. A lot of wood is wasted when erecting a wooden deck because one will order a 3.3m piece of timber and only 3m or 2.9 will be required. Or the lengths required are not available from the supplier so a longer piece needs to be bought. Cladding Jacuzzis allows one to use these off cuts in the substructure and thereby recover some of the cost of the waste. The timber is still new and is not compromised and would need to be cut to that length anyway (so sorry no discounts because of this).
This Jacuzzi cladding was fairly simple in that there was an existing structure there that had deteriorated and was therefore removed and replaced with exactly the same shape structure. So there was no thinking involved really, we simply made sure that the existing structure was correct in its dimensions and then we replicated what was there.
When constructing these types of decks or cladding structures it is best to try to keep the deckboards running in the same direction. To make the deck boards all run parallel or perpendicular to the pool or Jacuzzi would be very tricky and may result in errors. Having said that we are busy with a wooden deck now in Westville where we have kept the deckboards parallel to the pool on all sides for various reasons. I will update you once that is finished, with pics.
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The structure of this cladding went on well and we then clad it with normal standard deckboards. We created a 1m² step or landing so that once people had finished in the Jacuzzi they could dry off on this landing without having to try to balance on the edge. It provided a nice platform that remains relatively dry. The shelf or step on the side of the Jacuzzi provided a nice ledge to climb in and out of the Jacuzzi with and to place drinks or snacks on while relaxing.
All screw holes were plugged with a mixture of clear epoxy and saw dust (to match the colour as closely as possible) and then sanded flat. It was sealed using Timberlife Satin Wood Base 28, an outdoor wood sealer suitable for woods of low porosity. Maintenance is therefore kept to a minimum as this product penetrates the timber and does not dry on the top as do most shop bought sealers. The timber can be left unsealed but it will turn grey and any sealing thereafter needs to be done carefully by bleaching the timber first to get it back to its natural colour.
I haven’t done many Jacuzzi cladding jobs, but as mentioned above it is a useful way to get rid of off cuts that would otherwise be useless in a larger wooden deck. Our other use for off cuts is shower duckboards and pot plant holders, for the much smaller pieces. They keep the pot plants off the deck which prevents that piece of the deck being exposed to excessive or continual wet. The duckboards are useful for getting in and out of the shower. We sell those at the cost of timber in an effort to recover a bit on the waste.
For a free quote or advice on your wooden deck or Jacuzzi cladding please complete the form below and we will contact you. Or you can call us on 082 496 5444.