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 082 496 5444 or use the form below.

Wooden Balau Deck Built in Malvern, Durban

Wooden balau deck built in Malvern, DurbanWe incorporated a pergola style roof covering into this wooden balau deck we built in Malvern, Durban.

We started with our deck in a normal joist and beam system, but installed our main beam of 50 x 228 on the front in line with the joists rather than slotting it in underneath. This was simply because we didn’t have much space below the deck to slot it in. On the front edge it was fine to use a 50 x 228 beam, but midway across the deck we couldn’t use a 50 x 228 and had to secure each joist to the ground with a small post. It wasn’t a problem though because we were placing it directly on top of the slasto substrate. So there were no holes to be dug and filled with concrete.

We then attached two 76 x 76 pine posts, which can also be replaced with balau 90 x 90, to give us some posts to work from for our pergola. Our pergola was built using a 50 x 228 beam on the front, but this could have also have been replaced with a 38 x 152 as there is no real weight on top of the pergola. You do get some wind loading from beneath in pergolas with fixed roof sheeting, but not much weight from the top. We only used two posts as our main beam on the front was long enough to span across the 5.2m of the front of the deck. Adding extra posts in between clutters up the front of the deck.

Wooden balau deck built in Malvern, DurbanWe added 50 x 76 purlins and covered that with clear polycarbonate roof sheeting. This allowed the light to still get in but it will be protected from rain. This roof sheeting is however not that attractive from beneath so we clad the underside with thatching laths with no gap between them. I’ve tried building one of these before with a laths gap between laths, but it doesn’t work as you can then see the roof sheeting clearly. Because the laths are not a regular uniform thickness all the way along, you still do get some gaps, even if placing them side by side, which allows light through but takes away the view from beneath of the roof sheeting.

We added a step on the front, as the top of the deck was more than 200mm off the ground on the front so this made for easy access to the garden from the deck.

In the pics alongside you can see the roof sheeting on before we placed our thatching laths on. We’ve also previously used a translucent bronze roof sheeting which works very well to cut the glare from the sun. The polycarbonate roof sheeting is far better than fibre glass roof sheeting, albeit more expensive, as it doesn’t contain strands as the fibre glass sheeting does.

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

Wooden balau deck built in Malvern, Durban

Wooden Pergola La Lucia – Durban

Wooden Pergola Durban

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Wooden Pergola, Durban

This pergola was built for a client of mine in La Lucia, Durban. They were on of my first clients and have since continued to come back to me for other work ranging from sundecks to doors, bars etc. Their pergola is still in good condition and we have since been back to install corrugated roof sheeting on top to block the rain out but still allow light through. We used a translucent bronze roof sheeting from Safintra.

The pergola was drawn by a draftsman and we quoted based on that. With all due respect to engineers, draftsmen and architects, they do tend to over spec when it comes to using balau. Perhaps it is building regulations that force them to spec it the way they do. Balau is twice as dense as SA Pine, twice as heavy and far stronger. I have seen a deck 3.5m in the air being held up with 60 x 60 posts which had been joined with a half check in the middle. Although I wouldn’t build like that, it bears testimony to the strength of balau and its stability. That deck was at least 15 years old and the posts were still straight and had not bowed under the weight of the deck.

Wooden Pergola Durban

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Nevertheless we built according to the spec and used two 40 x 140 pieces of balau as the posts with a spacer in between. So we had a split post which measured a total of 120 x 140 with a gap in between. These were secured to pre fabricated galvanised steel feet that kept the wood of the ground and were secured to the concrete patio using sleeve anchors.

From there we built a structure up to the desired height and built it around an existing braai chimney. It was secured to the chimney on both sides to give the effect of the joists or rafters moving through the brick work of the chimney. There was an angled front to it and we fixed a fascia beam to that front edge.

The top was clad with thatching laths to give it a rustic look and feel. It kept the sun out and provided the shade they wanted, but the rain obviously still came through.  Bolts were used to secure the posts together through the spacers.

2 years later they asked me to come back and place bronze translucent roof sheeting on the top and clad the sides using the same thatching laths. Now it keeps the sun out and the rain but still retains its rustic look and feel.

Wooden Pergola Durban

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The roof was completed easily enough by attaching some rafters and purlins at the correct spacing and then attaching the roof sheets using self-drilling Tek roofing screws. The front end of the roof sheeting had to be cut as the front edge of the pergola was angled. Cutting plastic roof sheeting can be tricky as it tends to burn and melt with the heat generated from the angle grinder disk. It was therefore better to use a non-abrasive disk like the steel disks normally used to cut concrete or stone. The fiber disk was too abrasive and melted the sheeting wherever it touched it.

Please feel free to give us a call for quotes on wooden pergolas, sun decks and other timber related construction by completing this simple form.  Or you can get us on 082 496 5444.