Balau wooden screens installed in Umhlanga Durban

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We installed these balau wooden screens in Umhlanga in Durban in early 2018. The brief was to provide some privacy to the upstairs verandah. There was originally a glass balustrade on this verandah and being at the end of a cul-de-sac this property’s verandah was very visible to vehicles and people driving or walking to the end of this cul-de-sac.

We removed the glass balustrade to make way for the wooden balau privacy screens. A balau structure was first installed fixing 40 x 60 vertical posts to the top side of the lower slab and the underside of the top slab to provide a frame on to which we screwed our horizontal balau slats.

When installing screens it is quite common to use different sized slats as we did here. Balau deck boards normally come in two different sizes being 19 x 68mm and 19 x 90mm. 19mm is sufficient thickness for screens and then one can mix the width by using a 68mm board and then a 90mm board. One can also rip a 68mm in half leaving 30mm and use that as well to create a visually appealing screen with differing widths of boards.

Gaps between these boards should ideally be 19mm to allow for wind loading. Obviously the closer the boards the less wind can penetrate the screen thereby increasing the wind loading on the screen. A gap bigger than 19mm results in too large a gap and privacy is sacrificed.

Sufficient vertical supports should be provided for stability and integrity and they should be close enough together so that the boards don’t bow between supports. Balau can normally be spanned about 600mm to 1m between supports to sufficiently pull each board straight to reduce bowing. At times a “strap” can be installed behind the boards to pull them all straight.

It is often a lot cheaper, and just as effective, to use a correctly treated pine structure to fix these boards to. However with a 19mm gap and visibility of the structure as well as visibility from behind, we prefer to use a balau structure. In this instance we used a 40 x 60 balau solid piece from top to bottom which worked well.

These screens can be oiled or left to grey naturally. Either way the life span of the wood is not increased that much be oiling them as balau contains natural toxins which limit insect infestation and oils and resins which repel water and limit rot. If they are to be sealed then an oil is the right way to go. Any other coating that dries on the surface of the wood will eventually peel and flake which will be costly to remove and re-coat.

For a no obligation quote on your timber decking, screens, pergolas etc. please contact us on 031 – 762 1795 or use the contact form below.

Wooden Balau Decking Companies in Durban

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Here’s a wooden deck we at The Wood Joint built in Durban recently. The Wood Joint is a wooden decking company situated in Durban and servicing most of KZN. It was a low-level wooden deck basically at ground level joining the pool to the patio and semi surrounds. The site was situated in la Lucia Durban.

When building a wooden deck that will join a verandah to a pool, one needs to be careful to set the height of the pool correctly. The height to the verandah is of course pretty much set based on what the threshold of the sliding doors are. So working from a datum line of the top of the tiles of the verandah one would set the top of the concrete ring beam of the pool down 70mm from the required height of the deck. This will allow for a substructure of 50mm and a deck board thickness of 20mm (19mm in fact but to keep things simple rounded to 20mm). A 50mm batten fixed to the top of the concrete ring beam of the pool will give sufficient space to allow water to evaporate properly, keeping below the deck as dry as possible, and enough structure to create a positive fixing of deck board to bearer. The distance created between top of deck and pool should be minimal. It is not advisable to go much higher than 70mm because it creates a very big “climb” out the pool (from water level to top of deck).

In this deck pictured you will see we ran the deck boards perpendicular to the verandah and pool side. Using this method it is not that important if the side of the pool is parallel to the verandah as the length of the deck boards can be varied quite easily without noticing any difference in length. On the other hand when the deck boards are run parallel to the pool side and verandah one needs to be careful to get the two as perfectly parallel as possible. Any difference will be visible because a deck board will need to be cut in a wedge shape to complete the space. If the difference is not that great then one can “fan” the deck boards to take up the difference in space by making one end’s gaps slightly bigger than the other end. So on one end a 6mm gap can be left and on the other a 4mm gap (normally 5mm throughout). This gains 1mm per deck board run. After 20 deck boards one can adjust for a 20mm difference in spacing. Another “trick” when running boards parallel to the pool side and verandah is to try to end on a full board rather than a half board. Again space between boards can be adjusted either up or down to try to end on a full board. It is much neater and won’t cause as many problems going forward. From the pics you’ll see we ended the deck on a half board which in this case was unavoidable because of the configuration of paving and deck.

You’ll see from the pics that the garden is mostly left for landscaping until after the deck has been built. Trying to build a deck with newly laid grass and not damaging it is near impossible. Always get you building work done before landscaping.

For a free no obligation quote on your decking requirements in Durban please call us on 031 – 762 1795 or use the contact us form below.

Wooden Yellow Balau Deck – Kloof, Durban KZN

Here’s another wooden deck we built in Kloof, Durban which is similar to one we built in Hawaan Forest estate a few years ago. It has a fire pit with a U Shaped bench which double up as steps around it. These steps were designed so that they were wide enough to sit around the fire and with a riser that is not too steep to climb.

The substructure or frame was the normal H3 and H4 CCA Treated S5 pine we use. All our decks are built with an S5, H3 and H4 treated pine substructure. S5 refers to the grade of pine which is commonly called industrial grade. It is graded as such based on the number of knots per square metre. S5 is SABS industrial grade and has been passed by SABS to be used in construction. It doesn’t however make a very good deck board as there are too many knots which are not only unsightly but also they can become dislodged leaving a hole in the deck board. H3 and H4 CCA Treated refers to the hazard classification of the treatment as set out by The Wood Preservers Association of South Africa. Each H classification has a specific application and provided the correct H classified timber is used, the life span of the timber can be many more than 50 years.

The deck boards that went on top of the substructure were 19 x 68mm yellow balau deck boards. The other option for deck boards is 19 x 90mm yellow balau deck boards but they do carry a surcharge as they cost more per square metre than the 68mm wide boards.

There are two types of balau readily available in South Africa. Yellow balau and red balau. Yellow balau is more common and is superior to red balau. What we are seeing in South Africa nowadays which is called red balau is a lot more porous and softer and as such will absorb more water and rot more quickly. We only stock and use yellow balau.

This project in Kloof also included a pergola. What we have found to be most cost effective in pergolas is to use a 90 x 90 square balau post, 30 x 215 balau beam and 30 x 102 balau purlins or trusses at about 600 centres. This spec gives the pergola enough timber to be attractive and serve its purpose whilst still keeping costs down. With this particular job we also installed extra battens on top of the purlins. We used 30 x 40 balau for this purpose which again keeps costs down whilst still providing enough timber to keep it looking good and to do it’s job. Other options for battens on pergolas are to use a 30mm wide strip of balau with a 30mm or 60mm gap between. This provides more shade but of course comes with a higher price tag because more timber is being used.

The timber was sanded and sealed with an oil based sealer we use which doesn’t dry on the surface of the wood so it cannot peel and flake. Unlike other coatings which dry on the surface. These tend to peel and flake.

For a free no obligation quote on your wooden deck, pergola, balustrade and stairs requirements please contact us on 031 – 762 1795 or use the contact us form below.

Balau Timber Stairs Built in Umhlanga Rocks, Durban

These balau timber stairs that we built in Umhlanga are actually temporary stairs which will be removed at some point. They were built in order to gain access up the bank to a converted container that has been placed at the top. It is for a new development at Umhlanga Ridge and the converted container will be used as a sales office to sell the units. Their life span will depend on how long it takes to sell all the units after which the container and stairs will be removed.

We nevertheless used balau as we needed to create a very upmarket feel as this development is targeted at the high-end market.

Initially we were going to build a platform or landing at the bottom, one at the top and one mid way to break the stairs into two flights. However the total distance did not require that and we settled for a landing at the top and one at the bottom. Normally if the flight of stairs is quite long one needs to split them into two flights with a landing mid way. This is to be compliant with National Building Regulations. It is stipulated for safety reasons because a very long flight of stairs becomes dangerous if not split into two flights.

It is a bit more difficult to build two flights with a landing mid way because one needs to first build your top and bottom landings and then work out exactly at what height the middle landing needs to be. This is so that the two flights can be of equal distance and the risers of the first flight can be equal to the risers of the second flight. If the middle landing is not placed exactly in the middle of the total height, the risers of one flight will need to be different to that of the other flight in order to close the gap between landings. It can also result in a different number of risers.

We used balau stingers, cleats and treads. We left the risers open and installed a balustrade down both sides of the stairs for obvious reasons. The balustrade was also full balau and installed in a vertical picket style with a 102mm capping on top.

The stairs were 1m wide which allows for two people to occasionally walk up and down at the same time. I say occasionally because if it was a busy stair case and people were walking both up and down at the same time regularly then one would need to make the stairs 1.5m wide with a balustrade down both sides. There are other building regulations that stipulate when a hand rail is needed in the middle of the stairs case once it reaches a certain width.

For a free no obligation quote on wooden stairs, decks, balustrades and other outdoor timber construction please call us on 031 – 762 1795 or use the contact us form below.

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 031 – 762 1795 or use the contact us form below.

Wooden Decks Durban – Bluff

Wooden decks Durban

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This wooden deck in Durban was the second phase of a job we started at the beginning of the year. We were originally asked to build a deck off the main bedroom. First we had to remove the aluminium window and install an aluminium sliding door. I always suggest that clients do this first so that we can build our wooden decks perfectly flush to the new opening.

We had various obstacles to overcome. There was a septic tank that we were building on top of so we had to leave sufficient space and a large enough trap door to access all three tanks. We built one large trap door so that the whole thing could be taken off to access these tanks. During our build a new soak away had to be built as the old one had packed up.

With all of this out-of-the-way, we could continue with phase two which was to complete the main deck with two steps off the front edge leading to the garden and a new second deck in front of the sliding doors to the lounge. This second deck had a corner step similar to the other deck.

Wooden decks Durban

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These steps were the full length of the deck and had closed risers and treads. In order to build one of these you must basically build a second substructure in the same way as you build the deck substructure in order to span your deck boards across them. So each tread has two beams and joists and is then clad with deck boards. I can clearly remember building our first one which took ages because we tried to build each joist individually. We’ve since learned that with smaller structures one can build a frame and then pull it into position and attach it to the main structure and then clad it. Much quicker, much easier and a lot more accurate.

This was our final job for 2013 and we lost one day to rain which set us back a day and we had to spill over into the weekend. We had originally planned to finish on the Friday, but we had to come back on Saturday morning to seal it.

The original deck we built earlier on in the year had greyed already from the sun so we had to sand it quite a bit to get it back to its original colour for the two to match.
Most of our decks this year have been built using an H3 CCA treated pine substructure. We are able to offer a 50 year guarantee from the supplier for the H3 treated timber and a 30 year guarantee for the H4 treated timber. The cost

Wooden decks Durban

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difference between balau and CCA pine is huge so we can keep our rates down to our clients and the H3 CCA pine will actually outlast the balau substructure. We still use balau as deck boards and balustrades simply because it is a lot more attractive and more stable so reduces cupping, bowing and checking. In the substructure, because of the size of the timber it is not as important to limit cupping and bowing.

For a free no obligation quote on your wooden decks, pergolas, walkways, balustrades and other outdoor timber construction please contact us on 031 – 762 1795 or use the contact us form below.

Reducing rot in wooden sun decks

preventing rot in wooden decks

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This article will focus solely on reducing rot in wooden sun decks rather than a specific article on a job we have completed.
One of the first questions that are asked when planning to build a wooden deck is that of maintenance. Being wood, the deck will always be susceptible to rot and insect infestation, but with the proper care this can be reduced to the absolute minimum and can compare favourably, if not better, to using other materials such as composites, concrete and tiles. Let’s face it when it comes to aesthetics and warmth wood is best, but often people opt for other materials simply because there is a belief that they are easier to maintain and will cost less in the long run.

Rot is caused by a break down in the fibres of the wood. A breakdown in the fibres of the wood is caused by algae being allowed to grow on the timber which in turn is caused by water. Water therefore does not directly cause rot. A piece of wood can live in water all its life and not rot, but if it is not cared for properly then it will cause algae to grow and ultimately rot. CCA Treated timber of course eliminates this because it contains copper which prevents algae from growing. However it is only possible to CCA treat certain timbers such as pine and to a degree Saligna because of the differing densities of the woods. Pine is soft and balau is hard. CCA treatment is done through pressure treating (vacuum) and it is therefore impossible to CCA treat balau as it is too hard for the solution to penetrate the timber.

preventing rot in wooden decks

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So how does one reduce the chances of balau rotting? Well first of all balau is naturally resistant to rot because it is twice as dense and twice as hard as pine for instance so the water doesn’t penetrate it as easily. Also it contains natural oils and resins which repel water. So it will rot, but it will take longer than other timbers.

A piece of wood, any wood, takes in water largely through the end grain. Very little water is absorbed through the face or side grain. Think of it as a bunch of straws. When the straws get wet on the ends they can take up water, but they can’t take up water through the sides.

So the important areas of your deckboard is of course the ends, or end grain. Where a deck board is cut, there is not much that can be done to stop water ingression except to seal it with a suitable water-repellent sealer after or during installation. When a deckboard comes from the timber yard it is often closed off on the ends with wax. However that board needs to be cut in order to fit into the deck so one end will always be wax free. Also it is not advisable to leave that wax on. In the hot sun the wax starts to melt and leaves unsightly marks on the joins. So it is best to cut the wax off before installation. That leaves two ends exposed which now need to be sealed off as best as possible using sealer. Apply it liberally to the ends and make sure they are re-sealed during maintenance intervals.

The other area that is vulnerable is where the screw hole is drilled through the deckboard to attach to the joist. This leaves a hole where water can penetrate the end grain on two sides. What compounds this problem is that the screw is normally counter sunk which allows water to collect in the hole and be absorbed up and down the end grain. Some deck builders use a stop bit to insert the screw whereby the screw head stops at the surface of the deck. I don’t however use this method for two reasons. Firstly the screw is now not tight up against the bottom of the counter sunk hole so the board may work itself loose over the years. Secondly, there is still a small gap around the screw head for water to get into and move along the end grain. And trust me water will find that hole. You will often see deckboards that have started rotting at the screw holes. Now you know why.

Instead I counter sink the screw hole about 5mm, insert the screw and tighten it until it is tight right up against the bottom of the hole leaving the screw head counter sunk a few millimetres. I then take a clear epoxy, mixed with the sawdust of the same timber to match the colour, and force it into the hole leaving it slightly proud. Try and use a very fine saw dust. It makes mixing the epoxy much easier and it goes in the hole better. Once it is dry, I use a grinder with sanding pad to flat it and then I use a rotex sander to remove the scratch marks left by the grinder. Now it is ready to be sealed and good luck to any water that thinks it can get in there. The epoxy is the only filler that will last. Wood filler will pop out in a few months’ time. Use a clear epoxy as the saw dust will match the colour of the deck. White or grey epoxy will leave a white or grey mark on the surface.

It takes more effort and takes longer to do it this way, but my crew has it done to a T now. And the net effect is a better built deck that will last longer and will cost less to maintain. So there you have it, the warmth of wood without the hassle and without having to settle for alternative materials.

For a free, no obligation quote or for some advice please feel free to contact us on 031 – 762 1795 or complete the form below and I will contact you. Please also feel free to leave comments below.

Jacuzzi Cladding – Umhlanga, Durban

Jacuzzi Cladding Umhlanga, Durban

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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.

Jacuzzi Cladding Umhlanga, Durban

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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 031 – 762 1795.

Wooden Sundeck, Toti, Durban

Wooden Sundeck Installer Durban

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We built this wooden sundeck in Toti using CCA Pine, for the first time, as our substructure and decked it using balau deckboards. For a long time I have been using only balau as a substructure. But after some careful investigation I have accepted that a CCA treated pine substructure is as good if not better than a balau one.

The manufacturers of the solution that is used to pressure treat the timber guarantee their product for between 30 to 50 years depending on which manufacturer you use. Provided the company doing the pressure treatment treats it correctly and provided the correct Hazard Level (H level) is used in the correct application, the timber will be guaranteed against rot and insect infestation by the manufacturer of the solution. I will write another more detailed article on CCA pressure treatments, but for the purpose of this article you will need to know what it broadly means.

Wooden Sundeck Installer Durban

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H2 CCA Treated pine is good for roof trusses where it is not exposed to the elements such as rain. H3 treated is good for outdoors such as decks and H4 is good for in the ground or in contact with wet soil. H5 is good for in salty water and is normally a combination of CCA and creosote treatment. H2 is commonly sold off the shelf at most timber yards. H3 and H4 is more specialised so one needs to find a supplier who is regularly treating to H3 or H4. Under no circumstances should H2 be used as a substitute. It will rot within a few years. Simple. Do not use it in decks, keep it for the roof.

Wooden Sundeck Installer Durban

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In order to activate a guarantee against the manufacturer one would need to take photos of the deck going up ensuring that the correct H level is used, an audit process would need to be completed on the company treating the timber and the build would probably need to be registered with the manufacturer and possibly inspections conducted during the build. So although it is possible to activate a guarantee, it is not really practical as the substructure will go up in 2 days and the deck will be done in 5 days. However, if the manufacturer is willing to offer this sort of guarantee, then we can safely assume that the timber we are using will hold up to its promise. In a nutshell, H3 or H4 treated CCA Pine is suitable for a substructure for a deck and may very well outlast a balau substructure. I would not be too keen to use it as deckboards for two reasons. Although it won’t rot or get eaten by ants, it will expand and contract a lot more than balau which will result in checking, cracking, warping, bowing etc. over time. The second reason is that because it is half as dense, one needs to use a 32mm thick deckboard as opposed to a 19mm deckboard in balau. So twice as much timber is used and the cost is actually slightly more in pine per square metre than balau. So why not use balau in the surface? It is much better looking and much more stable (i.e. it remains flat for many more years).

Wooden Sundeck Installer Durban

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The cost saving in using CCA pine vs. balau in the substructure is great and this allows me to keep my prices low whilst still providing a quality product. The CCA Pine will last as long if not longer than the balau substructure if the correct H grade of CCA pine is used.

All areas that have pine exposed are clad with deckboards so that the pine is not visible. Balustrades remain full balau.

For a no obligation quote on wooden decks, balustrades, pergolas and any other outdoor timber construction, please complete the form below and I will get back to you.  Or you can call us on 031 – 762 1795.

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.