Wooden Balau Pergola Built in Plantations – Durban

This wooden balau pergola was built at Plantations in August 2016. We had custom-made galvanised steel base plates made up in order to secure the uprights to the existing paving. Because the uprights had to be installed on the edge of the paving we couldn’t dig and bury the post so we installed them into these base plates which were then fixed to the paving using sleeve anchors.

When designing a base plate for this application it is important to make the tube that will carry the upright post long enough in order to give it lateral support to stop the structure “racking”. Also the actual base must be big enough to be sturdy, but small enough so as to still be neat and not get in the way. We used a 90 x 90mm balau upright. The back row of uprights were fixed to the outside of the wall surrounding the entertainment area.

On the top we installed 30 x 102 as purlins which were spaced at 600 centres. I’ve found that spacing a 30 x 102 at 600mm centres works best from a structural point of view and a cost point of view. Obviously the closer the purlins are spaced the more expensive the pergola will be and one must be careful not to space them too far apart as it affects the stability of the structure and the visual appearance.

On top of that we installed 30 x 40 balau battens running perpendicular to the purlins at 120mm centres resulting in a gap between battens of 90mm being 3 times that of the batten itself. This works well in order to give enough broken shade without creating a completely closed effect on top. It also helps on the pocket by using 30 x 40 as opposed to 30 x 60mm.

Because of the existing chimney on one side of the area we had to cut purlins beams and battens in order to finish it neatly around this chimney whilst still making sure that all ends were fixed. If the ends are left unsecured they tend to twist over time.

These balau pergolas can be left un-oiled or oiled. If left un-oiled then they will eventually turn a silvery grey colour. If oiled they will remain slightly darker. It is not advisable to coat them with any other product other than an oil as it will eventually peel and flake and maintenance then becomes difficult and expensive. They can be pressure washed to remove dirt and grime that settles over time.

For a quote on your wooden balau pergolas, deck, walkways, balustrades, stairs and other timber works, please contact us on 031 – 762 1795 or use the contact us form below.

Wooden Pergolas

Wooden Decks Durban and Cape Town

Deck and pergola

A wooden pergola is a structure above that is designed using timber beams, purlins and slats. It is largely decorative as it does not prevent rain and provides limited shade depending on how many slats are installed.

They are sometimes referred to as Sun Screens and can be built in such a way as to offer shade at certain times of the day by adding more or less slats to the top. There are a multitude of designs and they are only limited by ones imagination, and of course budget.

They can be attached to the main building and then supported by posts on the front edge or they can be free-standing with posts to ground. One can install roof sheeting above to keep the rain out, but often it is better to consider an aluminium awning for this application due to cost. A balau pergola is not the cheapest method, but does add a nice appealing underside to your covering.

Wooden pergolas can also be installed using thatching laths to give them a more rustic look and feel.

Should you require a quote on a pergola or any other timber construction for your home, please call us on 031 – 762 1795 or use the form below.

Galvanised Steel and Balau Pergola, Durban

Here’s a steel and timber pergola we installed shortly before shut down in 2015 in Gateway Umhlanga Rocks Durban. It was for a new building called 1 on Lunar neat Gateway Hospital.

Due to the size of the pergola and the distance the beams needed to span between supports, we needed to include steel as the largest solid timber piece one can purchase is a 50 x 228 which needs to be supported every 3m odd to stop it sagging in the middle. Thicker wider pieces are available in laminated pine or saligna. To span over 6m one would need to laminate to 114 x 400 at a cost of more than a steel I Beam.

The steel was fabricated as per a drawing supplied by the client. Because we were directly on the coast, we hot dip galvanised the steel and then installed it. It isn’t sufficient to electroplate and powder coat when one is this close to the coast. Once installed it was painted to match the charcoal grey colour of the rest of the steel on the building. Galvanised steel needs to be acid washed in order to remove the residue left after the galvanising process, dried thoroughly, then primed with a galvanising primer and then two coats of Velvaglo enamel. It will require periodic maintenance by re-coating it.

The timber was cut to size and slotted in and attached to pre drilled and pre fixed tags on the main I beams. By pre drilling the holes for fixing eliminates drilling once galvanising has been done and thereby breaking the galvanising.

The timber was left to grey naturally rather than sealing it with an oil. This won’t shorten the life span of the balau as balau contains natural resins and oils which protect it from both rot and insect infestation. Oiling it merely makes it look different. Some people prefer the oiled looked some prefer the natural grey / silver look. Leaving it to grey naturally also eliminates any maintenance issues going forward. If anything one would just pressure wash it from time to time.

For a free no obligation quote contact us on 031 – 762 1795, or you can use the contact us form below. We can assist with all your outdoor wooden requirements as well as solid wooden floors.