Wooden balau Deck Built in Umkomaas – KZN South Coast

This wooden deck built in Umkomaas on the South Coast of Kwa-Zulu Natal turned into a very nice job with many extras and a happy client who paid timeously. What a pleasure.

We removed and dumped an existing pine deck that had started to show signs of failure in the deck boards themselves. The structure was still ok as it had been built using H3 CCA Treated pine which is suitable for outdoors for a minimum of 50 years as per www.sawpa.co.za. It was the deck boards that had started to rot at the screw hole due to water sitting in the screw hole for long periods of time. It is very important to firstly close that screw hole at the time of building the deck and then to maintain them going forward to stop any water getting into the screw hole. Water will travel very quickly along the end grain of wood and this screw hole provides an ideal point of entry for water. They are simply filled with a clear epoxy mixed with saw dust to match the colour and then sanded flat before sealing or oiling the deck.

Once we had a clear slate we built a new deck using balau deck boards. We changed the design a few times as we built to accommodate the clients requirements. We tried to create a deck that would flow nicely from one level to the other. The top deck was built flush with the house and then we built steps at a 45 degree angle to gain access to the lower deck around the pool which extended along the front of the lower level sliding doors.

We included a curved front on the upper deck to break the straight lines and then clad that fascia as it was very visible when driving up the driveway. We normally include two deck boards as a fascia to the front edge of a deck to hide the structure below and finish it off neatly. In this instance we added four deck boards on the curve because the driveway is a lot lower then the deck and when driving up the driveway the underside of the deck was the first thing you see when entering the property. The client may still need to add planters with some plants in to completely cover that structure but the 4 deck boards give it a nice broad fascia which hides a lot of the structure.

The stairs were challenging. Originally they were to be curved risers and treads which would have meant either cutting deck boards at an angle and laying them straight or trying to bend the deck boards. The risers would have been easy enough by bending a deck board around the arc, but the treads would have been a bit more difficult because it would have meant bending the board through its width (not thickness). The centre of the circle, was off set to the corner of the deck or the top of the stairs and the centre of the circle occurred in the pool. So all in all not an easy task. Because the arc itself was quite gentle you would not have really noticed that it was curved so we opted for a straight edge to our risers and treads. Much easier and less problems going forward with deck boards trying to return to their original straight position. Often less is more.

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

Sundeck Built at Pennington on the South Coast

Sundecks South Coast

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This was my first deck I built. I had been toying with the idea of building sundecks for some time, rather than trying to sell furniture which I had been making for some years. There simply isn’t a viable market to make furniture in South Africa unless one has large regular orders and a production line can be set up for a specific product. Saying that I still make the odd Adirondack Chair and picnic table, but my focus changed at that point to decking. Something that could not be imported and sold as flat pack.

I secured this job at a very cheap rate. It was in Pennington which was too far to commute each day so we stayed down there. With a crew that had never built a deck and myself who had studied it in theory only we proceeded to build.

We had to first remove an old deck that had been built using non treated pine which had rotted beyond imagination. It still annoys me to see decks being built out of non-treated pine. Some are often built from H2 treated pine where as they should be at least H3 but preferably H4 treated pine. I will go into more detail on that subject in a later article. Perhaps it is ignorance, and not a specialised deck building company doing the job, but there is a vast difference between the different grades of CCA Treated Pine.

Sundecks South Coast

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Nevertheless, we cut away at our rotten deck which was actually unsafe to walk on so it took some time to carefully remove all pieces and the joists. We left the post in tact as they were teak and were still very good. Once down we placed our cleat on the wall of the house, erected our main beam and set out our joists. There was a canter lever involved which worked well as we had increased the size of our joists to 40 x 140 so we could span them longer and canter lever longer than if we had used 30 x 102 joists.

The deckboards went down without a problem. Our balustrade had to match the neighbour’s balustrades as it was situated in a complex with other decks. It was a simple criss cross style balustrade so went down without much hassle and relatively quickly.
The biggest challenge on this deck was removing the old one which took us just over a full day. Removing a deck can be very dangerous, as you can imagine, and needs to be thought out carefully and taken down with extreme care so as not to damage buildings around it or result in injury to crew.

Sundecks KZN

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We made no money on this job because we had over sized most of our timber, the client had requested 21 x 72 deck boards which were a lot more expensive than the standard 19 x 68 boards and we had to factor in accommodation and food for a week while we built it. Nevertheless it was our first deck and we learnt a lot.