Welcome to The Wood Joint


The Wood Joint specialises in the installation and construction of wooden decking, sundecks, balustrades, stairs and other  outdoor timber construction as well as outdoor wooden furniture.  Our Head Office is based in Durban and we have branches in Johannesburg and Cape Town.  We also specialize in all other wooden or timber construction including: –

  • Pergolas
  • Balustrades
  • Stairs
  • Walkways
  • Bridges
  • Jacuzzi Cladding
  • Screens and cladding and
  • Quality garden furniture

The Wood Joint pays special attention to detail in all products and focus on durability and longevity in our products by applying sound techniques and slightly over engineering most products. We pride ourselves in our quality workmanship and use only top quality timber sourced from reputable suppliers and sustainable sources. We offer a 3 year warranty on our workmanship.  Some of the timber comes with up to a 50 year guarantee from the supplier.This blog contains many articles on some of the jobs we have completed.  Each article carries pictures and discusses the methods we used  and how we overcame challenges on each one.  Use the search bar at the bottom of the page to search for specifics.

A wooden sun deck is a valuable addition to any home and will not only provide many years of enjoyment, but will also enhance the value of your property. With the correct care, maintenance costs can be kept to a minimum and the life span of your wooden deck increased. We will assist you in a design that will be cost-effective and will best suit your needs taking into account the existing structure that is in place. With years of experience in the wooden deck building industry, The Wood Joint can advise, design, maintain and erect your deck in the most cost-effective and structurally best methods.


Please click here to visit our main website or browse the articles and pictures.

Or for a free, no obligation quote, or just some advice, please call us on 082 496 5444.

Balau vs CCA Treated Wooden Deck Durban

I often get asked about using balau as a substructure in a wooden deck. There are various pros and cons of using balau as a substructure in your wooden deck so I thought I would jot it down and in future I can direct clients here who want the ins and outs of using balau as a structure for your wooden deck.

Balau is a very good, hardy and durable wood to use in outdoor wooden decks and other outdoor projects. It contains toxins that limit insects eating it and it is high in resins and oils which naturally repels water and limits rot. All wood will eventually rot. It is just that some will rot quicker as they are less dense and less oily which means they will absorb water more easily, which remains in the wood, causing fungus to grow which breaks down the fibres in the wood and is commonly called rot. This is a simplified explanation but I think it delivers the message accurately. Water doesn’t cause rot. Fungus, as a result of water and sunlight, causes rot.

Balau therefore will rot and I have started documenting some pics of rotten joists that I have come across in my repair work of wooden decks. It may take 15 years for this rot to start but it will happen and when it does repair work can run into thousands if not a complete deck rebuild. Joists are often difficult to access whereas deck boards are not.

On the other hand a piece of wood that has been chemically treated to prevent, or limit rot, will last a lot longer and a pre determined life span can be calculated.

CCA Treatment is a process of pressure treating SA pine. A vacuum is created in a chamber that contains the pine and a solution of copper, chrome and arsenate is introduced which then takes up the void created by the vacuum sucking the solution into the cells. The copper prevents fungus growing which in turn prevents rot, the arsenate keeps the insects away and the chrome binds the two to the wood so that I doesn’t leach out.

Balau is too hard and dense to treat. Pine is a commercially grown timber in South Africa which is inexpensive and very suitable for treatment as it is soft and takes up the solution of CCA successfully. There are various different Hazard Classification or H classifications. Basically H2 is good for indoors (roof trusses etc.) H3 for outdoors exposed to the elements, H4 for in constant contact with wet soil. H5 for submersion in fresh water and H6 for submersion in salt water. A correctly treated piece of pine to H3 will, as per SAWPA guidelines, last in excess of 50 years which is pretty impressive in comparison to a piece of balau that comes with no fixed life expectancy. A poor quality piece of balau may start to fail within 5 years whereas a good quality piece may only start in 15 years. Most of the pics I have documented here are of decks that range in age from 8 years to 15 years. But generally speaking I have found some rot setting in all the decks of 15 years or older.

S5 (SABS Structural grade) Pine is considerably cheaper than balau structural timber. So from an economic point of view it makes sense to use pine in place of other woods wherever possible.

One might now ask why is pine not used on the surface of a deck? Why is balau preferred?

Balau is a very stable wood and therefore expands and contracts less than pine. It is about twice as dense, knot free and doesn’t twist and warp as easily. Pine is soft and with the sun beating on the deck it will tend to crack, twist and warp more easily. To use pine as a deck board one needs to use a 38mm board as opposed to a 19mm board in balau (twice as much wood). Also pine deck boards are normally manufactured from S7 as opposed to S5. S7 refers to the number of knots per square inch (or centimetre) and is therefore a lot more expensive than S5. The cost of pine deck boards is in fact a few rand more per square metre than balau. Hence the reason to use correctly treated CCA pine as a substructure and balau as deck boards. Again pine doesn’t work well in balustrades because twice as much wood needs to be used at S7 grade.

For a free no obligation quote on your sun deck, pool deck, balustrades, pergolas etc., please call us on 082 496 5444 or use the contact us form below.

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 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 Decks Durban – Verulam

Wooden decks Durban

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We recently had a good run of building wooden decks in Durban. With the arrival of summer and Christmas, wooden decks in Durban become a very popular item for consumers to spend their hard-earned cash. Despite trying to get jobs confirmed earlier on in the year, most of our work was confirmed in November and hence we have been running 2 to 3 sites simultaneously. It’s no easy task with the size of our current crew, but we were lucky enough to have most of them take place north of Durban in Durban North, Umhlanga and this one in Verulam. We rented an old beach cottage near Ballito and stayed there with our full crew for 3 weeks so that we didn’t need to fight traffic in the mornings or afternoons and drop and pick up staff in various different areas. However the traffic in Umhlanga and that whole north of Durban area is beyond ridiculous so it still took us hours to get “home” each day. This coupled with the fact that we had a lot of work to get through, made for very early starts and very late finishes.

Wooden decks Durban

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Wooden decks Durban

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The pics alongside are work in progress pic and I will update then once we have sanded and sealed the deck.

This job in Verulam was at a complex and this part of the complex consisted of 6 units. We built 3 wooden deck sections, each of about 45m². There was a wooden balustrade on the front of it and on the two ends or sides. The drop down from the first section of wooden deck was about 450mm so we created a step along the entire width of the deck with closed risers. For these closed riser steps we use a mini substructure and then deck it using the standard 19 x 68 balau deck boards. It then becomes a sort of bench as well as a step down.

Wooden decks Durban

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The step down from the second wooden deck section to the third was about 1, 100mm so we had to build some wooden stairs with open risers of standard width of 1m and clad the section were there were no stairs. We also clad behind the stairs in order to block of the underneath of the deck completely. These wooden stairs were the straight forward design with stringers on either side, and treads placed inside of the stringers using cleats on each side. Hence the risers are open which is why we clad behind it to block off the underneath of the second section. We used 30mm x 102mm stock to build the stairs as there is no support beneath them over the 1m span. Using 30 x 102 stock with no gaps, as opposed to 30 x 140 stock, results in a tread of 306mm compared to 285 (140 + 140 + 5mm gap). So they are slightly wider (by 21mm) but still very comfortable. Also we get to use our 1m off cuts from the capping on the balustrade thereby reducing our cost which we can pass on to our clients through our reduced selling price.

It was a fairly straightforward build but did take a bit longer than other jobs as the front of the wooden deck was directly in line with where the bank below suddenly dropped off. So it was difficult to work at head height on a very steep slope. Ladders had to be tied off to the posts to climb them and so on.

Wooden decks Durban

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For a free, no obligation quote, on your wooden deck, pergola, walkways, stairs and other outdoor and indoor timber construction please call us on 082 496 5444 or use the contact us form below.

High Level Wooden Deck Installed Durban

Wooden decks Durban

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Now here’s a challenge. We’ve been commissioned to build a deck 5.5m high on the lowest point. The highest point is about 7m off the ground. An engineer and architect have drawn plans and there is a strict spec we need to follow. Our H4 CCA treated gum poles are 9m in length. That’s too long to fit on the top of our vehicles so we have to have them delivered. There are to be 3 of these poles in the front length of the deck measuring 6m long and another 2 mid way across the width of the deck. Each pole is to be buried in the ground in a hole measuring 1m deep to the lowest point and 600mm x 600mm wide.

The two end holes were dug with ease but the middle hole was slap bang in the middle of a rock. So we hired breakers, pulled the generator out and started digging. We dug straight through the middle of the rock. It was only sand stone so went relatively easily, but let me assure you even sand stone is hard enough to test the best of one’s fitness when holding a breaker whilst standing in the hole and still having to remove what you have just broken out the hole.

We will finish on nearly two cubic metres of sand and 2 cubic metres of stone and 14 bags of cement. We’re mixing a wet mix as opposed to our normal dry mix. Each pole is being placed in the hole and secured using 38 x 114 (our joist material) in 6m lengths attached to the post and secured to the ground by digging them in and placing bricks around them. We’ve managed to find a few trees nearby so have used the rope that was used to pull the pole up to tie it off to a tree to secure it while the concrete sets.

Wooden decks Durban

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We had a little set back in that the deck was to be originally 6m x 2m. However our main beam, and therefore posts below would have ended up on the ridge of the retaining wall you see in the pics. We therefore had to extend the front edge of the deck by 1m. As a result the original poles we bought are too short by about 300mm. We originally bought 7.2m poles but have now had to go up to 9m poles.

Wooden decks Durban

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Once we’re up with the poles we will need to build a platform of sorts so that we can work at waist height to build our substructure. Or we may opt for scaffolding. Once that is up we can then lay our deck boards and build our balustrade with ease and safely. I’ll post some more pics here of the completed job and work in progress. It’s a daunting task because of the height and we need to ensure that we are working safely and that the budget doesn’t run away from us. It is easy to lose money on a job of this nature due to extra costs.

Already we have had breaker hire for 3 days, one of which I managed to re-coup from the contractor breaking the hole in the wall to install the door. He didn’t realise that the balcony wall was solid concrete. He was probably expecting brick and sent his crew with a four pound hammer. Poles have grown in length and of course cost more. Holes have ended up bigger than planned so more money has been spent on sand and stone and cement.

Wooden decks Durban

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

Wooden Pool Deck Built in Westville, Durban

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This wooden deck was built in Westville, Durban in September 2013. There are two sections to the wooden deck, one being the deck around the pool and the other being the deck above the pool where the water flows back into the pool and the pot plants are housed.

One way of decking around a pool is to lay all the deck boards the same way. What this results in is two sides of the deck having end grain facing the water and the other two having face grain facing the water. Seeing as water likes to be absorbed through the end grain of wood, it makes sense to try to keep as much end grain away from the water as possible. This will slow down the rotting process to a large degree and you will get many more years use out of your deck. Besides, in my opinion, it looks better this way.

It is more time-consuming however because when you are laying the deck boards you need to run them to the corner at 45º. You also need to make sure that your joists or batons you have laid prior to laying your deck boards are exactly 45º because if this is out then the point in the deck surface where the boards meet will also not be 45º and will result in one side of the deck being wider than the other. So lay your joists very carefully to ensure this problem does not occur because having to re-do work a second time takes a lot longer than planning it correctly the first time. If the substructure is perfect, or near perfect,

then cutting the deck boards for the join will be easy as you can set the saw to 45º and cut. But check as you are going that it is not running out because a slight deviation in the joist will result in the cut needing to be a few degrees bigger or smaller than 45º. If need be shim the side of the joist to keep your join 45º.

The pot plants that you see on the raised deck are actually part of a water feature below the deck and we have decked around them. They do not sit on top and the water flows down the pots back under the deck and into the pool. There is also a rim feature below the front face of the raised deck so that water flows into the pool from under the deck. Trap doors are a necessity in pool decks, as one often needs to gain access to pipes and filters below the deck surface.

There is a rim or fascia board attached to the inside of the joists or deck boards to complete it by covering the gaps below the deck itself. This should always be set as high as possible to avoid as much contact with water as possible, but yet still cover and substructure below the deck boards.

This deck was finished using our normal Timberlife Satin Wood Base 28 with a Mahogany tint, but because the deck boards were a bit lighter in colour to other decks we have done it resulted in a more reddish / orange colouration.

This deck totalled about 50m². It is always deceiving to try to estimate a pool deck size as it always looks a bit smaller than it actually is. It is always a good idea to measure it accurately before starting to avoid a budget over run.

For a free no obligation quote please contact us on 082 496 5444 or use the contact form below.


Wooden Deck Built with Guarantee in Durban

Wooden deck guarantee

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As mentioned in some of my other articles we started offering supplier guarantees on our H3 CCA Treated pine substructures. These guarantees can run for up to 50 years from the date of installation. They are guaranteed by the manufacturer of the chemicals used in the treatment process and are underwritten by one of the large insurance companies. Provided certain building techniques are adhered to and the company treating the timber has treated it correctly, the manufacturer of the chemicals is willing to guarantee the timber against various forms of rot and various types of insect infestation for up to 50 years.

One of the conditions is that the end-user, being you the client, needs to register the build with the manufacturer within 60 days of completion of the build. The registering of the build needs to be done in a certain format and details such as when the timber was purchased, where it was purchased from, ERF number etc. needs to be submitted to them together with proof, in the form of photographs, of the building methods we used whilst building the wooden deck.

We need to treat the cut ends of the timber with an approved end sealer, we need to ensure that we are using H3 for timber above ground and H4 for timber in ground or in constant contact with wet soil and we have to show that we have planted our posts according to the recommended method.

Wooden deck guarantee

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We at The Wood Joint offer to facilitate this process for you, for a small admin fee, so that you may activate the guarantee with them. We take pictures of what we are doing to prove that we have used end sealer and adhered to their criteria. Once the build is finished we compile the report that will be sent to them, by you, to register the build and activate you guarantee. We can also assist in submitting it on your behalf.

In the pictures alongside you can see the end sealer we are using which is a diluted version of the same chemical that is used in the treatment process. This applies to all cut ends and drilled holes. The greenish colour is due to the copper in the solution which prevents algae growing on the timber which can cause rot.

We also take pictures of us planting the posts or poles so that it is clear we have planted them correctly. When one plants a post, it should always be placed on top of soil and then concrete placed around the post. If you wish to place it on top of concrete than that concrete should be allowed to set completely before placing the post and setting it in concrete. This is to allow any water that does get into the post to escape through the bottom of the post. If a post is set on top of wet concrete it will slow the escape of water through the pole and this will speed up the rotting process from within the posts. I’m sure you’ve seen some gum poles that have rotted from the inside out. This is because they have probably been set on top of wet concrete.

Wooden deck guarantee

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We also take pictures of the red SABS / SANS stamps on the timber so that it can be proved that the correct Hazard Level was used for the correct application, H3 for above ground and H4 for in the ground.

Both SABS and the company manufacturing the chemicals regularly, and unannounced, check on them and run test to ensure that their timber is being treated correctly. Pine cannot be treated in the same chamber as saligna (poles) for instance as the absorption rates of each timber are different. The timber needs to be treated at a certain pressure and the solution needs to be of a certain strength to arrive at the different H levels. This is tested by coring a section of the timber out, after treatment, and measuring the amount of timber the chemical has penetrated. They also use a dye to determine if the solution was of the correct strength. So it is important that this CCA treated timber is purchased from a reputable supplier.

Over and above this info we need to report on where the timber was purchased, when it was purchased, who treated it and so on. With all this information on hand, you the client, can register your build with the manufacturer and be rest assured that you substructure is safe for 50 years.

For a free no obligation quote on your wooden decking needs, please contact us on 082 496 5444 or use Wooden deck guarantee

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Choosing a Wooden Deck Builder in Durban

Wooden deck builder Durban

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There are many wooden deck builders in Durban. With a simple search on Google you will find a few companies on page 1. If you trawl the various magazines that advertise home improvement services, you will find many there too. There are also various portals on the net that list these companies. Most of these wooden deck builders can be trusted and will deliver a relatively good quality product at a reasonable price. If however you dig a bit deeper you will find that there are literally hundreds of people in Durban who claim to be wooden deck builders. Again some of these you can trust as they are competent deck builders but have just perhaps not had the opportunity to learn how e-marketing works or the funds to pay for adverts on these portals or in these magazines. There are however many that can’t be trusted for various reasons ranging from running away with your deposit, to not building correctly, taking short cuts and using the wrong timber.

I have come up against a few of them in my career as a wooden deck builder in Durban. I have lost many jobs due to price only to find later that the installer has either not finished the job, has used the wrong materials such as non-treated or incorrectly classified CCA pine in their build, or has built it incorrectly and it is structurally flawed. Needless to say this leads to wasted money and a very unhappy client. The best price is not always the best option to go with because pure economics says that if the price is unrealistically low, then the builder must be taking short cuts in order to earn a living. If you consider that most contractors ask for a 50% or 60% deposit in order to purchase materials, then it makes sense that the profit margins are between 40% and 50% of the job. If one contractor is quoting a very low price he is either shaving his margins or buying sub-standard materials.

Wooden deck builder Durban

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Be very careful when selecting a contractor. Do your research first and find out about other jobs he has done. Phone his references and get this info first hand from a satisfied client. A contractor will of course not list a reference who will not give him a good reference, so make sure he has provided enough references to ensure that he has at least done a few jobs that his clients have been happy with. Do a little research on the net yourself to find out what materials are available for decking and then ask him questions to test his knowledge of the product he claims to be an expert at.

Here are some questions you should ask a prospective contractor before awarding him your wooden deck build: –

What materials is he going to use? Balau is by far the best for the surface of your deck. There are others and they tend to increase in price, but balau is by far your most cost-effective hard wood. It is quite acceptable to use CCA treated pine as a substructure provided he is sourcing it from a reputable supplier who is regularly tested by SABS to ensure he is conforming to their standards.

Make sure he is using the correct hazard classification (H1 – H5) in his substructure. H2 CCA Pine is good for roofing where it is not subjected to the elements. H3 is good for outdoors in the rain and H4 is good for in the ground or in constant contact with wet soil. H5 is good for in water and H6 is good for in salt water. If he claims to be using balau as a substructure make sure he installs balau when he starts and stop the works if he does not. Many people won’t know the difference between pine and balau especially if he has coated it to make it darker. Meranti too can look very similar to balau. Check the delivery note when the supplier delivers it to your property to make sure it is in fact balau and not meranti or some other unsuitable timber.
Ask him what screws he is using. Kalgard coated screws are good. Stainless steel screws are even better. Ask him if he intends to close the screw hole with epoxy to prevent water getting in thereby increasing the chance of rot at the screw hole.
Check what his maximum spans are on his beams and joists. A piece of wood can only be spanned a certain distance before it breaks. Beams of 50 x 228 should only be spanned a max of 3m and 38 x 114 joists should only be spanned a maximum of 1.8 to 2.0m. Posts should be set in concrete to at least 600mm unless the deck is low-level in which case they can be set at about 300.
By asking a few questions about how he intends to build it and what he intends to use you will quickly learn if he knows what he is talking about or not.

In the picture alongside we built a narrow deck of 9m x 1m to extend the paved area next to the pool.

For a free no obligation quote or just for some advice please feel free to contact us on 082 496 5444 or use the form below.




Wooden Decking Durban

Wooden decking Durban

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I haven’t written or posted an article on wooden decking in Durban here for a while. The main reason is that we have been extremely busy building wooden sundecks in Durban. It is quite odd to be this busy in the middle of winter. Normally people want their sundecks built-in summer and winter is traditionally quiet in this industry for both builders and suppliers. I can only think it is because we have had quite a mild winter in Durban and as a result people have been installing sundecks rather than fire places. This coupled with the fact that we lowered our prices in about April 2013 after implementing a few cost saving techniques and securing our timber at very reasonable rates without affecting the quality. I hope this continues into the summer and carries us right up to the end of the year with flat-out building jobs.

We were awarded a 90m² wooden sundeck in Toti recently. It was to be installed on top of an existing concrete slab that doubled up as the roof of the parking area beneath. The concrete had just been waterproofed using Torch On so we could not secure our batons, or joists to the surface by drilling. We brought the level of the deck up so that the existing balustrade would be 1m above the surface of the deck. The existing concrete slab was about 1.4m below the top of the balustrade so we had about 400mm to raise it which allowed us enough space to build a super structure with 38 x 152 beams and 38 x 114 joists with a 19mm deckboard on top. This allowed us to keep the beams and joists off the surface and we installed 76 x 76 square posts to the beams to support it. Because we were using 38 x 152 beams we had to install posts more often as opposed to the 38 x 228 beams where the posts can be installed less frequently. The posts sat on top of some 3mm closed cell insertion rubber cut to 100mm x 100mm squares to stop the posts from cutting into the waterproofing over time. This system allowed us to suspend the superstructure as a sort of floating structure without having to secure anything to the concrete surface so that we didn’t need to damage the waterproofing. Again we used an H3 CCA Treated Pine substructure and balau deckboards.

Wooden decking Durban

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This time around we spaced our joists perfectly so that we only had to waste a small amount of deckboards as off cuts. We did this by slotting an extra deckboard in where we had to, to prevent having an off cut of 400mm or so. We calculated that we would have about R5, 000-00 worth of 400mm off cuts if we had cut these. So it made sense to rather spend the money on a few extra joists than the off cuts.

We sprayed this deck with sealer rather than using a brush. We brushed the edges as it can often make a mess against the wall spraying it on and then sprayed the entire surface. Because we are using oil based sealer there is no chance of runs or streaks so it is quite safe to spray it on and we saved at least a day or two. Our biggest time consumer on this job was getting our timber up to the first floor. The service lift was big enough to take our deckboards from corner to corner, but was out-of-order on the day, so we carried them up two flights of stairs. The longer pieces had to be hauled 6m up the side of the building using ropes attached to each side of the timber. In hindsight we should have hauled the deckboards up that way too.

Wooden decking Durban

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