Wooden Screens, Pergolas, Decks and Gates Durban

Driveway gate clad in balau

Click to enlarge

Wooden gates Durban

Click to enlarge

Wooden Screens Durban

Click to enlarge

Wooden balustrades and pergolas Durban

Click to enlarge

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

Click to enlarge

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

Click to enlarge

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.

Screwing Deck Boards Down on a Wooden Deck in Durban

Here’s few videos of us screwing deck boards down on a wooden deck in Durban.  This wooden deck is 35 square metres in size.  It took us one day to get the complete substructure down and ready, and a 2nd day to screw down all deck boards.  Monday morning we will build the balustrade and gate.  It’s officially a record and I think it will be hard for us to beat that one.  Well done guys.

Wooden decks in Durban

Click to enlarge

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

Wooden Deck Installed in Queensburgh, Durban

Wooden deck installer Durban

Click to enlarge

This wooden deck we are installing is almost complete. The pics alongside are work in progress pics. I’ll update it with some others once we are done and you can then get the full feel of the deck. It has been an interesting installation as there are effectively three sections to it and the whole job incorporates three different methods of installing a wooden deck.

The first section is a deck around the pool measuring 1.2m off the side of the pool. The slasto that was there had quite a steep fall from the edge of the pool to the soil to allow water to run away from the pool instead of in to it. We used 38 x 114 joists but had to cut them in a wedge shape to allow them to be level on top but still remain in contact with the slasto as much as possible. There is an easier way of doing this by using 38 x 38 batons with a foot on the side, farthest from the pool, so that the baton remains level on top. This would of course result in a large gap beneath the baton. Being only 38mm in thickness the baton would break as a load is placed on top of it. So one would need to pack the underside of this baton with a suitable material. In the past we have used structural grout simply because of its strength and usability. It is fairly easy to use as it is cementious based. You simply mix it with water and pack the gap. It dries extremely hard, harder than cement, and contains small fibres in it which give it its strength. Both ways are structurally sound, but cutting wedge-shaped joists takes time and they inevitably need to be shimmed to get to a perfect level across all joists. Packing them is easier and just as strong. So next time I will revert to the old tried and tested method of packing them to save time.

We ran our deck boards parallel to the pool on all fours sides, rather than running them all in the same direction. The method we used in this deck is of course the better method. It looks neater and also keeps more water from the pool away from the end grain of the deck boards. Water is absorbed by wood largely through the end grain so this method will result in less rot than running them all the same way where two sides will have end grain facing the pool. However, and a big however, this method is tricky in that if the pool is not perfectly square, the corners of the deck will not run out from the pool at 45°. If a deck board is cut at say 40°, the other deck board that will meet it on that corner will need to be cut at an angle other than 40° if the deck is not square as a result of the pool not being square. And herein lies the problem. The cut ends of each deck board will not be the same

Wooden deck installer Durban

Click to enalrge

length and will not meet up nicely resulting in a stepped joint. Hence the deck MUST be built square regardless of how square the pool is. This brings with it another problem in that it will mean that two ends will overhang the pool and two ends will be flush with the edge of the pool. If the pool is only slightly out of square, then it is not a problem because it won’t be seen. However if the pool is far out of square, then the overhang on the two sides becomes too big. If this is the case then opt for deck boards running all the same way or a gap filler must be placed between the join, so that the eye cannot pick up the difference in lengths of cut ends.

There was small walkway of 1.3m wide by about 4.5m long joining this pool deck to the other deck pictured alongside. There was a small step up to this deck which was enclosed with a balustrade.

So three different style decking systems were used which made it very interesting. One was a baton system on a slasto substrate, the other was a frame system as the walkway and the third was a joist and beam system which was suspended about 2m up.

Tomorrow we will continue sanding and then seal.

For a free no obligation quote, please call us on 082 496 5444, or use the form below. If you call please let me know you found my blog so I can track my marketing.

Wooden Pool Deck Built in Westville, Durban

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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.

 

Choosing a Wooden Deck Builder in Durban

Wooden deck builder Durban

Click to enlarge

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

Click to enlarge

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 Balau Deck Built in The Bluff – February 2012

Wooden sundecks Durban

Click to enlarge

The Bluff is a wonderful place for a wooden deck builder in Durban. A lot of the properties there have relatively steep gardens and lend themselves well to installing wooden decks. It allows the property owner to make use of land which would have otherwise not been usable.
This property was very steep with a steep flight of concrete stairs to get from road level to the house. There was a second steep flight of stairs from the house to some outbuildings which contained a pub, pool and a small granny flat. The idea was to deck from the pub area over a small retaining wall towards the pool and around the corner of the pub to the braai area. All in all we were looking at about 35m² of decking. The client didn’t want a full height balustrade of 1m, but instead opted for a 500mm high simple balustrade as can be seen from the pics alongside. He didn’t want to obstruct the view when in a seated position.  There was also to be a flight of stairs to gain access from the pool area which was built over some existing concrete stairs.

The actual construction of the deck was relatively simple in that we were attaching joists or batons to the existing concrete floor directly outside the pub area and deck boards on top of that. We needed to place an under beam on the edge by the pool side as that was about 1.5m above ground level. This wooden deck was built completely out of balau so cost a little more than one with a CCA Pine substructure.

Wooden decks Durban

Click to enlarge

As I’ve mentioned in other articles we now build our substructures primarily out of H3 CCA pine with balau deck boards on top. The guarantee that comes with the H3 CCA Pine provides a good basis for an argument that it will outlast the balau as a substructure.

This wooden deck was left unsealed and allowed to go grey in colour from the sun’s UV. Balau won’t necessarily rot any quicker if left unsealed. It is so hard and dense that water does not easily get absorbed by it. The cause of rot is water that allows fungi and algae to grow. The algae causes the fibres in the wood to break down which is rot. Because the water cannot penetrate the balau that easily rot is reduced to a minimum.  Also balau contains many natural oils and resins which prevent water getting in. It also contains toxins which prevent insects from eating it. So overall it is a very suitable timber to use in wooden decks. Pine on the other hand, if left untreated, will rot very quickly, hence the need to CCA treat it to prevent rot and to prevent insect infestation.

When left unsealed balau will turn a grey colour. The grey is actually black algae but it is contained to the surface of the wood so doesn’t necessarily affect the integrity of the timber. It can however become slippery when wet. It is advisable to therefore pressure clean the deck from time to time to remove this black algae. After many years, leaving it unsealed can also produce small fissures in the wood which can collect water. One important thing to remember is that if you do plan to seal your balau deck after it has greyed, then it is imperative to remove this black algae before sealing it otherwise the final product will be very dark. This can be done by bleaching it using Timbrite or other suitable bleach designed for the purpose of reviving old greyed wood. One can also use a pressure cleaner or sand it off. But sanding is not always that practical on decks once they are constructed as there are many areas where the sander can’t reach.

For a free no obligation quote or just some advice please call us on 082 496 5444 or use the form below to send me an e-mail.

 

Reducing rot in wooden sun decks

preventing rot in wooden decks

Click to enlarge

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

Click to enlarge

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 082 496 5444 or complete the form below and I will contact you. Please also feel free to leave comments below.

Wooden Sundeck Constructed in Toti Durban

This wooden sundeck we constructed in Durban was a low-level deck which was barely off ground level. We were taking it flush off the level of the floor in the lounge and extending it outwards into the garden. The grass was not growing properly in this area due to large trees that were creating a large shadow so the client wanted to deck it to eliminate this problem.

The biggest challenge when building a wooden deck near or on ground level is to get a support beam underneath the joists where needed. There are two methods one can use. The first is what I call the cleat and beam system whereby a beam is placed underneath the joists to give them their support. We normally use a 38 x 114 joist and a 50 x 228 beam. One needs to span the 38 x 114 to a maximum of 2m but 1.8 is preferable. So every 1.8m to 2m one needs to slot an under beam below so as to support those joists. Posts should be used every 3m on the 50 x 228 beam. With this spec one can save on timber while still providing adequate support so that the deck is structurally sound.

The problem with this system arises because if you have a 228 beam, plus a 114 joist and then a 19mm deckboard on top of that your total height needed above ground level is 361mm. If the deck is too close to ground it will mean excavating soil to be able to drop that beam down enough to still arrive at the original height of your deck. Although this is quite possible and not that too time consuming, it sometimes results in the main beam sitting in soil or it may come into contact with wet soil over time. One must therefore use at least H4 CCA Treated SA Pine as the beam and in fact that whole substructure should be H4, even though the joists aren’t in contact with soil, to ensure that no rot will occur.

The other method is to create a frame, all in the same plane using 38 x 114 and use no under beam. This will result in the deck only being 133mm in height so that no excavation will be needed in order to bring the deck up to the required height. However now that you don’t have a beam to attach posts to, you will need to attach the posts to the joists and fascia beams. Again this is not a problem, but it will require a few more posts than in the first method as you can only span your 38 x 114 to a max of 2m. Hence more posts, more concrete and more labour in digging holes.

We used the joist and beam system here as we had enough space below to set the beam without having to dig too far into wet soil. So our work was made lighter by not having to dig too many holes.

Once the substructure is up, the deckboards can go down. On this wooden deck we used 19 x 68 balau deckboards. We used two deckboards as a fascia to cover our joists and beams, filled our holes with epoxy, sanded and sealed.

For a free no obligation quote or advice on your deck or other outdoor timber construction please call us on 082 496 5444 or use the form below to contact me.

Wooden Deck Built in Toti at a Guest House

Wooden deck builder Durban

Click to enlarge

This was one of my first wooden decks in Durban that I undertook. The Guest House we built it for had just opened up the side of the dining room on the first floor with sliding doors and now wanted to extend the area by adding a deck of about 14m². It is always important to first break through the wall and install the sliding doors and then build the wooden deck. This way the deck builder can get the surface of the deck flush with the entrance to the room. I have built one deck before where the client insisted that I build the deck first and then they were going to break through. Although we did our best to measure where the inside floor was, there may still have been a small step up or down once they had broken through. On this build though it was done the right way around and the deck was flush with the floor inside the dining room.

The deck was a normal cleat, beam and joist system where we secured a cleat to the wall with sleeve anchors, installed vertical posts and attached a beam to that and then ran joists between the cleat and beam with a small canter lever. We had to try to set our posts as far out as possible so as to create enough space under the deck that could be used.

Wooden deck builder Durban

Click to enlarge

The balustrade was a normal picket style one. These are the safest and really the only one that is completely compliant with building regulations. Building regulations state that there should be no opening that is larger than 100mm. With all other balustrades there are some spaces that become greater than 100mm. Besides being non-compliant they are not that safe especially for small children. With the pickets running in a vertical direction it is more difficult for children, or adults, to climb up on the balustrade and fall over. The other designs offer more horizontal pieces that people can use to climb up on.

The stairs we built here joined the deck to the pool area which was about half a floor up from ground level. There were separate concrete stairs running from ground level to the pool area but the new wooden stairs we built could now be used to access the pool area, and the rest of the outside area, from the dining room. Because there was no way of supporting the stringer mid-way we had to ensure that we had the correct width of stringer so that it would not break over time. Most of the strength in a piece of wood is in the width and not the thickness as the downward force is exerted on the width.

Wooden deck builder Durban

Click to enlarge

We finished up by filling our holes with epoxy and sawdust and sealing with a Timberlife Satin Wood Base 28 Mahogany tint. In our decks we counter sink the screws which leave a small screw hole that water can get into. It is important to fill these so that no water can get in. If water does get in it can travel down the end grain and will cause the wood to rot much quicker at the point of the screw hole. Water travels through wood along the end grain rather than being absorbed from the face or side grain. Wood filler is also not suitable as it will pop over time due to the weather. Clear epoxy works well mixed with a little saw dust to match the colour. Once it’s dry, use a grinder with a sanding pad to flat it and then sand the grind marks off before finishing.

For a free no obligation quote on your deck or for some advice, please contact us on 082 496 5444 or complete the form below.

Wooden Sundeck Built in Gillitts – April 2013

Timber deck builder Durban

Click to enlarge

This was our second deck we built in Durban using CCA pine as a substructure. I can confirm that there is a substantial cost saving using pine as a substructure and provided it is CCA treated to the correct Hazard Level (H level), then it is guaranteed by the supplier and manufacturer against rot and insect infestation for up to 50 years. So at least H3 must be used which is good for outdoors, exposed to the elements and if there are parts of it that are making contact with ground then H4 is better. In fact the cost difference between H3 and H4 is so slight that I am tending to just use H4 throughout as a matter of course to err on the side of caution.

This deck extended from the house outwards about 5m. Half of that 5m length was on existing tiles and concrete so we placed batons of 38 x 76 and the rest of it dropped down about a metre onto soil. We chose 76mm as our width of baton because it brought us up to exactly where we wanted to be in terms of height of the deck in order to clear the bottom of the door. We therefore had very little space between joist and the tiles so there was very little packing to do. When we place batons on the ground as joists, we fix them using a hilti. The hilti is really just to stop the joist moving sideways and not really up or down as once the deck is built the weight of it keeps it from lifting up. However the hilti provides enough fixing power in both directions so sleeve anchors are not necessary. Often the ground on which you are fixing these batons / joists to, is not completely flat and in order to get the surface of the deck level, one needs to shim one end of the baton or joist. This results in one end being higher than the concrete ground level and as such a gap exists between the baton and the ground. Because these batons are relatively thin (between 38mm and 76mm) they are not strong enough in their width to support the deck. They therefore need to be packed with structural grout or a building sand / cement mixture to take up the gap between the baton and the ground.

Timber deck builder Durban

Click to enlarge

The rest of the deck was elevated about 1m off the ground so from that point we installed 38 x 114 joists with a main beam running the width of the deck (parallel to the stairs in the picture). We set that back 300mm so that our span between beam and wall was only 1.9m which is the maximum I am happy to go with a 38 x 114 joist.  The rest of the deck was therefore cantilevered by about 300mm.

Deckboards went on without a problem, and we then built the stairs that you can see in the picture. We took a different approach to the stairs that we normally do, or have done in the past. In the past we have secured a beam all the way along the front of each riser. In this case we built treads and risers in line with each joist and then only on the front riser we fixed a fascia beam which was then secured to posts that had been set in concrete in the ground. It was much quicker than, and just as stable as our previous method. The structure that we built can be seen on one of the pics alongside.  The client wanted to leave the sides open as he is planting some indigenous plants alongside to cover the gap thus allowing his access beneath the deck if need be, but once the plants grow they will cover the sides.

Timber deck builder Durban

Click to enlarge

This deck was left unsealed as the client wanted the greying effect. I will re-visit it in a few months’ time and if the client is agreeable we can bleach it and high pressure clean it in order to bring it back to its natural colour.

For a free, no obligation quote please complete the form below and I will contact you.  Or you can call us on 082 496 5444.