Balau Cladding or Screening

Balau cladding or screening

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Balau cladding or screeningZ

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Balau cladding or screening of brick walls is quite popular and attractive. It takes an otherwise boring brick, plaster or concrete look and transforms it into a beautiful wooden clad structure. It can of course be clad balau or any other timber, but balau being the most popular outdoor timber for cladding of brick walls. Pine is a lot cheaper buy nowhere near as durable and will warp, cup, twist and bow a lot quicker than balau. Balau is very stable and the deck boards will remain flat for a lot longer.
We use either the standard deck boards of 19 x 68mm or we can use a 19 x 90mm board. The 19 x 90mm board is however more expensive per square metre than the narrower boards.

What works quite well too when cladding brick walls with timber is to have differing widths of boards. So one might start with a 19 x 68 board, and then install a 19 x 90mm board and then a 19 x 30mm board.

When cladding brick walls with timber it is best to keep the gaps to about 5mm. Normally with screens we leave a 20mm gap, so that you can still see through the screen if you walk right up to it, but with cladding there is nothing really to see on the other side. So keep the gaps to 5mm to have a nice tight compact finish.

This was a job we did in Westville for a corporate client who was renovating their reception area. It was initially a brick portico sort of structure that had small blue mosaic tiles stuck to it. The blue mosaic tiles were painted black prior to us cladding so that they would not be visible between the gaps. We simply installed cleats of 19 x 68 deck boards in balau on to the tiles which had been painted black and then on top of that we installed the cladding. We had to be careful not to protrude the cladding more than about 45mm from the wall as it would have caused the main door to snag on the cladding.  On the corners we mitred the edges at 45° to give it a nice neat finish.

There was an access control system that we needed to work around. The company installing it came to site on the same day that we clad that area and we worked with them to cut out the necessary areas so that the various control panels could be installed neatly on our timber cladding.

The job was finished with closing the screw holes with epoxy, sanding smooth and sealing using Timberlife Satin Wood 28 Base, an oil based deep penetrating timber preservative that repels water. Because it is oil it can never peel or flake making future maintenance easy and inexpensive. You simply clean the timber and apply more oil.

For a free no obligation quote on your timber cladding requirements, wooden sun decks, pergolas and other outdoor wooden construction, please contact us on 082 496 5444 or use the contact us form below.

Driveway Gate Clad in Balau Wood

Driveway gate clad in balau

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Here’s another driveway gate that we clad in balau in Umdloti, North of Durban. In the pics you can see the old gate which we left in place while we installed the new balau timber clad driveway gate and them removed it afterwards and scrapped it. Because this gate is right on the road facing the beach it had rusted beyond repair.

The steel gate was designed using 38mm x 76mm rectangular tube as a rectangular outer frame which then had a cross flat bar of 5mm x 30mm running horizontally across from one side to the other. At the top and bottom we welded flat bar on to the rectangular tube which had pre drilled holes in it to accept our deck boards. The horizontal cross flat bar was there to stop the deck boards bowing over time. It was all hot dip galvanised. I don’t recommend painting the galvanised steel. It can be done quite successfully but will always be a maintenance issue and will need re-painting every year or 18 months.

We set he track in concrete and attached the brackets which keep the gate plumb and then set the gate on its track. Only once it was on its track did we attach the deck boards to the flat bar on the top and flat bar on the bottom by lining up the board with equal spaces and drilling a hole through the wood. We used a 40mm galvanised hex bolt with a nut on the back-end and then finished it off with a stainless steel dome nut. It would be better to use stainless throughout, that is the bolt, washers nuts and dome nuts as they won’t rust.

Driveway gate clad in balau

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We left the timber unsealed as the client wanted it to turn natural grey. It doesn’t really affect the longevity of the timber. Balau contains natural resins and oils which slow down the process of rot considerably compared to other woods.

The trick in setting these deck boards is to make sure that they are equally spaced. It is fairly simple because the pre drilled holes are calculated to be dead centre so theoretically each hole should be drilled through the centre of the board. Practically though you need to still be careful to get the space between boards equal even at the cost of not drilling dead center of each board. The time-consuming part of this job is pre-cutting the deck boards to exactly the correct length to fit snugly in below the top and bottom tube.

The flat bar on the top and bottom, to which the board is attached, is set off centre so that the steel on the front of the gate is flush with the deck boards once they are installed. i.e. the deck boards are recessed.

When measuring for the steel frame you want to get the whole frame visible when the gate is in a closed position. You always set your boards so that the good side is on the outside.

What goes very nicely with these types of gates is matching timber in fills on a masonry boundary wall.

Driveway gate clad in balau

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For a free no obligation quote for driveway gates clad in balau or other timber, timber in fills on boundary walls and all your outdoor timber construction, please contact us on 082 496 5444 or use the contact us form below.