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 082 496 5444 or use the contact us form below.

Engineered Hardwood Flooring

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Hardwood flooring has become ever popular in many countries. In South Africa, home owners are opting for these in preference to the old style parquet and the laminated style of flooring. Hardwood floors go hand-in-hand with luxury, and offer timeless beauty and are low on maintenance. Home owners looking for a classic look might like to consider engineered hardwood flooring. These points should be taken into account, or kept in mind when weighing up the pros and cons of hardwood flooring.

Unlike conventional hardwood, which comes from its raw state and into your home, engineered hardwood is a more complex product which consists of layers. The outermost appearance layer is a hardwood veneer, a thin slice of wood of whatever wood type you prefer. The inner layers are made of plywood, high density fiberboard, or hardwood. These core layers give the product more stability than regular hardwood, while the outer veneer surface gives the floor its aesthetics, its beauty, and, of course, its authenticity.

Engineered hardwood is different to a hardwood laminated ‘wood’ because the surface is made of real wood. While laminated flooring has a core of high density fiberboard, its surface is basically a picture of wood. Laminate is less expensive than engineered and solid hardwood, but has a different look, feel and even sound when walking on it, due to its make up.

Pros:

  • Engineered hardwood flooring is designed to reduce moisture associated with conventional hardwood.
  • The layers block moisture and provide added stability to your floor.
  • This is a low maintenance option because of the fact that Engineered Flooring will not swell or warp.
  • Choosing engineered flooring is considered more environmentally-friendly than traditional hardwood for various reasons.
  • Veneer is sliced very carefully and precisely – it is not cut with a saw. This process produces no sawdust, which means that the entire tree can be used. The sawdust which we know amounts to a significant pile when making hardwood boards is wasted wood.
  • Hardwood trees grow a lot more slowly than the trees used to construct engineered flooring cores. More surface area is produced making veneer, therefore installing traditional hardwood uses many times the amount of slow-growing tree. This makes the replenishing time much longer.

Engineered Hardwood Flooring Cons

  • There are very few disadvantages to this type of hardwood flooring but it is neither a foolproof project and not necessarily the right floor for every application.

Comparable to solid hardwood in terms of cost: –

Engineered floors are still considerably more expensive than laminated floors, tile or carpet. They are, however much more hardy, are low maintenance and will wear a lot better.

That said, one should also take into account the biggest concern as a homeowner … that being avoiding shoddy or inferior engineered work and products, merely because of cost.

Veneers that are too thin will prevent sanding and refinishing opportunities that may double the lifetime of the floor.

Some veneers are so thin and poorly made that they can prematurely warp or fade.

Core layers should still be made from high-quality wood. Some manufacturers try to cut corners by using fiberboard or oriented strand board which might well compromise the stability of your floor and could result in an inferior flooring product.

Your Home is your Castle … quality surpasses cutting corners

It is, without exception, easier to install engineered flooring and the handy man homeowner is often encouraged to install his or her own engineered floors. It is never-the-less, a major project with big financial implications, therefore, I suggest you weigh up carefully, the virtue of employing an experienced craftsman to do the job (who will also guarantee his finished product, surely?) and doing the work yourself …and without wanting to reduce your skill-ability, don’t be too over zealous about your own home improvement skills just to get the job done cheaper! Even for the majority of homeowners who hire a flooring contractor for the job, you’ll save a hefty sum on installation, which is important given that most engineered flooring is more expensive than solid wood.

The cost of high-quality engineered floors (thick veneers) will depend on various issues, the obvious one being the type of wood you choose. In South Africa, imported Indonesian Balau is readily available, is solid, a hard wood and also hard-wearing, able to withstand much more than a softer local wood might be. It lands at quite a reasonable price and is of a superior quality. It is, for example largely used for outdoor decking. Solid wood flooring may be cheaper overall, however it will still take longer to install.

For a free no obligation quote on your solid hardwood engineered flooring please contact us on 082 496 5444 or use the contact us form below.

Welcome to The Wood Joint

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The Wood Joint specialises in the installation and construction of wooden decking, sundecks, balustrades, stairs and other  outdoor timber construction as well as outdoor wooden furniture.  Our Head Office is based in Durban and we have branches in Johannesburg and Cape Town.  We also specialize in all other wooden or timber construction including: –

  • Pergolas
  • Balustrades
  • Stairs
  • Walkways
  • Bridges
  • Jacuzzi Cladding
  • Screens and cladding and
  • Quality garden furniture

The Wood Joint pays special attention to detail in all products and focus on durability and longevity in our products by applying sound techniques and slightly over engineering most products. We pride ourselves in our quality workmanship and use only top quality timber sourced from reputable suppliers and sustainable sources. We offer a 3 year warranty on our workmanship.  Some of the timber comes with up to a 50 year guarantee from the supplier.This blog contains many articles on some of the jobs we have completed.  Each article carries pictures and discusses the methods we used  and how we overcame challenges on each one.  Use the search bar at the bottom of the page to search for specifics.

A wooden sun deck is a valuable addition to any home and will not only provide many years of enjoyment, but will also enhance the value of your property. With the correct care, maintenance costs can be kept to a minimum and the life span of your wooden deck increased. We will assist you in a design that will be cost-effective and will best suit your needs taking into account the existing structure that is in place. With years of experience in the wooden deck building industry, The Wood Joint can advise, design, maintain and erect your deck in the most cost-effective and structurally best methods.

 

Please click here to visit our main website or browse the articles and pictures.

Or for a free, no obligation quote, or just some advice, please call us on 082 496 5444.

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 082 496 5444 or use the contact us form below.

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 082 496 5444 or use the contact us form below.

Stainless Steel Wire Rope Balustrades, Durban

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Below is an article on wire rope balustrades to refresh the methods of installing them, display some pictures and highlight some pros and cons of this type of balustrade.

Wire rope balustrades are normally installed when one wants to avoid limiting the view as much as possible whilst still providing a barrier at the end of a deck. As opposed to solid timber balustrades which obstruct the view when in a seated position. A wire rope balustrade limits this as the cables are only 4mm thick.

On a standard 1m high compliant balustrade one would use 8 strands resulting in 9 gaps of 107mm each after taking into account that the capping is 30mm thick. Although the wire rope is tensioned on either end it is not tensioned to guitar string tension and can therefore be pulled open to create a bigger opening than 107mm. Care should therefore be taken when installing these wire rope balustrades if the property owner has small kids. They are not the safest and the height of the deck off the ground should be taken into account when choosing this style of balustrade.

As mentioned above the wire rope has a 4mm diameter. It consists of 19 smaller strands making up one larger strand (1 x19). The other type of wire rope is a 5mm wire rope. This is a 7 x 19. So it has 7 x 19 strands that make one 5mm strand. At The Wood Joint we use only the 4mm (1 x 19) wire rope as this is marine grade stainless steel and won’t tarnish as easily as the 5mm wire rope.

The 4mm rope doesn’t bend as easily as the 5mm rope so it cannot be used in conjunction with turn buckles where the rope needs to bend around the buckle 180º. Instead we make use of a swage and button head system where the wire rope is crimped into a swage on one end and a button head, which is sunk into the timber upright, on the other end. They are much neater than turn buckles but it does result in terminating the strands at a 90º corner and starting a new strand for the next run. As such, posts need to be doubled up so that a new button head can be installed where a swage terminates on the previous run. The end result is a slightly more expensive balustrade but one that won’t tarnish as easily and one that has a much neater appearance.

Care must be taken to cut the wire rope at the right length so as to have enough rope to insert it into the swage but not too much so that it can’t be tensioned properly. Once it is cut and crimped it can’t be re-cut or “uncrimped”.

The swage and button heads should be crimped towards the beginning and crimped twice to avoid failure later on. They can be finished off neatly with a stainless steel dome nut.

We are both suppliers and installers of wire rope balustrades. We own a crimping tool designed for 4mm wire rope which is also available for hire. Call us on 082 496 5444 or use the contact us form below for pricing and availability.

Balau Duck Boards for Wooden Decks – Durban

Balau pot plant bases Durban

Balau pot plant bases for wooden decks

I have inspected many a wooden deck in Durban where the deck boards beneath a pot plant have started rotting. As can be imagined, rain water and water from watering the pot plant gets trapped below the pot plant and takes much longer to dissipate or evaporate than water collecting elsewhere on the surface of the wooden deck. This of course causes rot to accelerate below the pot plant resulting in premature and costly maintenance.

It can be easily prevented by placing something below the pot plant that is slightly raised off the deck surface and makes less contact with the deck itself. Water can then evaporate or run off more quickly which will slow the rotting process down. All wood will eventually rot and even though balau is more resistant to rot than other species of timber it is not immune to rot. The pot plant base can be moved periodically so that the water trapped between the pot plant base and the deck can also evaporate.

We manufacture pot plant bases in various sizes from balau deck boards that make as little contact with the deck surface as possible and are both pleasing to the eye and effective in resisting rot. They are inexpensive. At the time of writing this article (8 May 2016). they were retailing for approximately R150-00 each, depending on the size. They can be custom-made to fit the pot plant base and will save you a fair amount of money in future maintenance.

These pot plant bases are a joint venture between The Wood Joint and the staff. The builders make them in their spare time and the company recovers a bit for scrap off cuts. We split the proceeds equally.

You can contact us on 082 496 5444 or use the contact us form below. Please provide the size of pot plant base required or the size of the your pot plant so we can work out what will work best.

Indoor Wooden Balau Pool Deck Built in Estcourt

Here’s an indoor wooden balau pool deck we built in Estcourt KZN recently.  The client had been doing some renovations on his house and had enclosed the pool with brick walls and windows resulting in an indoor pool.  He wanted a wooden deck around it to finish it off nicely.

Careful consideration was needed to ensure that any water from the pool could quickly drain away so as not to remain wet beneath the deck boards for too long.  Of course with an outdoor deck any rain water or pool water evaporates quite quickly and isn’t of that much concern.  Being indoors however this water can get trapped below the deck for some time resulting in premature failure of the timber.  Although the timber is H3 CCA treated, and as such can live outdoors with periodic wetting, it cannot remain wet constantly.  H4 CCA Treated timber is more suitable for damp conditions such as constant contact with wet soil.  But a fair amount of water on an ongoing basis is not a good idea.

In this instance the builder had done a great job in creating a small fall on all four sides of the pool so that any water dripping or splashing on the deck would fall back into the pool rather than sit below the deck.

The job was relatively easy as there was very little difference in distance between the walls and the sides of the pool.  If the wall is not parallel to the pool then it will result in a wedged shaped deck board either up against the wall or the pool.  To counter this one must “fan” the deck boards by making the gaps on one side 1mm smaller than the gaps on the other side effectively gaining 1mm per deck board.  After 20 deck boards you will gain 20mm to make up any difference.

In fibre glass pools one might also find that the edges of the pool are not straight.  Run a fish line along it to see if it bulges in or out and find the straightest side to start your decking.  If it does bulge then you will need to overlap your deck board on the pool side slightly to cover that and keep the deck boards straight.

A simple single deck board as a fascia board on the inside of the pool finished it off nicely.  It was oiled with a deck oil and this deck will require very little maintenance or re-oiling as it is indoors and won’t get any sun.

Call us on 082 496 5444 for a free quote on your decking requirements.  We also supply and install balustrades, pergolas, walkways, bridges, jacuzzi cladding and pool pump covers.

Wooden Pool Deck Built in Kloof, Durban

This wooden deck was a simple pool deck that we built in Kloof, Durban. The pool had originally been built at an angle to the house which limited the available space between the house and pool. The client wanted to create a wooden deck that was parallel to the house so that he could maximise the space between the edge of the pool and the house.

As result we needed to build part of the wooden deck over the pool and the trick was to support it sufficiently over about a 3.5m span so that it didn’t bounce or sag. We couldn’t of course put supports or posts into the pool so we increased the size of the beam running over the pool to a 50 x 152. We still had to trim the 152 down to about 140 as we needed to install this beam on top of the existing pool coping, on both sides, and we were limited by how high we could come up from that surface. In these instances one starts “stealing space”. A term we use at The Wood Joint for gaining every available millimetre possible in order to maximise structural strength.

We then clad the downpipes and support posts of the existing awning with deck boards to create two fairly large wooden posts and hide the PVC downpipes. This gave the effect of large wooden posts holding up the awning. The flower boxes were also clad to match the theme.

A small ledge of about 200mm wide was added along the wall running up to the pizza oven at bar height of about 1.2m from ground. A small cupboard was built in the recess that the builder had left on the right hand side of the braai in which glasses and other braai, or bar, utensils can be stored.

Stainless steel hinges were used aluminium knobs were fitted. We used a normal latch system on the inside so that when you close it, it locates behind, and out of sight. We included a single shelf for glasses. We tucked the deck underneath the braai area so that wood and charcoal can be stored there.

This deck was sanded and sealed with an oil based sealer. An oil based sealer is far superior to a water based sealer or mineral based sealer that dries on the surface. Oil cannot peel and flake. It simply disappears with exposure to UV so there is no need to sand the deck in the future.

We are available to quote on your decking needs. Please call us on 082 496 5444 or use the contact 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.