Wooden Decks Durban – Verulam

Wooden decks Durban

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We recently had a good run of building wooden decks in Durban. With the arrival of summer and Christmas, wooden decks in Durban become a very popular item for consumers to spend their hard-earned cash. Despite trying to get jobs confirmed earlier on in the year, most of our work was confirmed in November and hence we have been running 2 to 3 sites simultaneously. It’s no easy task with the size of our current crew, but we were lucky enough to have most of them take place north of Durban in Durban North, Umhlanga and this one in Verulam. We rented an old beach cottage near Ballito and stayed there with our full crew for 3 weeks so that we didn’t need to fight traffic in the mornings or afternoons and drop and pick up staff in various different areas. However the traffic in Umhlanga and that whole north of Durban area is beyond ridiculous so it still took us hours to get “home” each day. This coupled with the fact that we had a lot of work to get through, made for very early starts and very late finishes.

Wooden decks Durban

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Wooden decks Durban

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The pics alongside are work in progress pic and I will update then once we have sanded and sealed the deck.

This job in Verulam was at a complex and this part of the complex consisted of 6 units. We built 3 wooden deck sections, each of about 45m². There was a wooden balustrade on the front of it and on the two ends or sides. The drop down from the first section of wooden deck was about 450mm so we created a step along the entire width of the deck with closed risers. For these closed riser steps we use a mini substructure and then deck it using the standard 19 x 68 balau deck boards. It then becomes a sort of bench as well as a step down.

Wooden decks Durban

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The step down from the second wooden deck section to the third was about 1, 100mm so we had to build some wooden stairs with open risers of standard width of 1m and clad the section were there were no stairs. We also clad behind the stairs in order to block of the underneath of the deck completely. These wooden stairs were the straight forward design with stringers on either side, and treads placed inside of the stringers using cleats on each side. Hence the risers are open which is why we clad behind it to block off the underneath of the second section. We used 30mm x 102mm stock to build the stairs as there is no support beneath them over the 1m span. Using 30 x 102 stock with no gaps, as opposed to 30 x 140 stock, results in a tread of 306mm compared to 285 (140 + 140 + 5mm gap). So they are slightly wider (by 21mm) but still very comfortable. Also we get to use our 1m off cuts from the capping on the balustrade thereby reducing our cost which we can pass on to our clients through our reduced selling price.

It was a fairly straightforward build but did take a bit longer than other jobs as the front of the wooden deck was directly in line with where the bank below suddenly dropped off. So it was difficult to work at head height on a very steep slope. Ladders had to be tied off to the posts to climb them and so on.

Wooden decks Durban

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

Wooden Stairs Built in Cowies Hill, Durban

Wooden stairs Durban

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These wooden stairs we built in were quite interesting because the client had a dining room which was raised about 600 from the patio outside. He wanted to be able to access the dining room through the new sliding doors. So we designed a small landing and some stairs to fit snugly in on one side so as to not take up too much space on the patio yet still allow a safe passage down the stairs. There were only a total of two treads plus the landing. It not only added value by creating an access point but also added charm with wood.

We built the entire landing on the ground from balau, screwed it all together and then lifted it into place and attached it to two walls of the house using sleeve anchors. This method also kept the whole landing in the same plane i.e. no cleat and joist system but rather a joist and fascia beam system. Each method has their own applications. If it is a fairly large deck where it would be impossible to attach each joist to the beam and then lift it into place, then one would need to use a cleat, beam and joist system. However where it is possible to attach each joist to the beam or fascia beam then it can be semi pre assembled and lifted into place. This can also successfully be done with a deck that is quite close to ground as the ends of the joists can be supported quite easily while the other ends are attached to the fascia beam which is then attached to the wall. However a deck that is raised off the ground would pose problems in trying to support each joist individually while attaching them and then lifting the entire structure up. The fascia beam system also allows one to keep the structure in the same plane and if space beneath the deck is limited then this is a better option.

Wooden stairs Durban

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We clad or screened the underside of this landing to create a storage area with a hinged door on one side so that it could be closed and locked.

This one we finished with Timberlife Ultra Care Gold as it was not exposed to direct sunlight. The Timberlife Satin Wood Base 28/28 has a much lower wax content so tends not to blemish that easily in direct sunlight. The Ultra Care Gold however has a much higher wax content and the UV in the sunlight tends to make it go a bit blotchy which can result in you having to sand it all off when it comes to maintenance. The key to low maintenance in wooden decks is to apply the correct finish correctly. To sand an entire deck back to wood and remove all traces of finish is almost impossible and at times I have thought it would be cheaper to simply replace the entire deck.

This was a small day which took us a day to complete. We also added a small gate for him on the existing deck, so in total it was a two-day job with sanding and sealing.

For a free no obligation quote on stairs or other wooden structure please complete the form below and we will contact you or you can call us on 082 496 5444.

Timber Stairs Built in Hillcrest – February 2013

Timber stairs Durban

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As a deck builder and timber stair builder in Durban I have had to learn how to build timber stairs the hard way, through trial and error (and a bit of Googling).  Timber stairs have always been a tricky one for me and I have battled to build them in the past. At first I Google’d ‘building timber’ stairs and found a few videos on the topic which explained it quite nicely. Most of the videos online though are American and they therefore explain it in inches. But after converting it the technique and calculation used to work out your runs and risers becomes quite clear.

The riser is the vertical piece of the step and the run (or tread) is the horizontal piece. Building regulations in South Africa state that the riser can be no more than 200mm high and the tread or run can be no shorter than 250mm. Timber, either in pine or balau, will come standard at either 140mm wide or 220 wide. One should therefore use two pieces of 140 wide stock in order to get a tread of 280mm wide. I have seen stairs built using 220 wide stock which although is not completely according to building regulations can work if a gap is left between the front of the top tread and the back of the tread below that. The gap should be at least 30mm to get back to your minimum of a 250mm wide tread, although building regulations state that this gap should be no bigger than 20mm. Because the stairs are open, one can normally get away with this as your foot will be able to move past the back-end of the tread as you climb the stairs. Be sure to check with building regulations before designing your stairs to ensure you are compliant or that your contractor is adhering to these regulations.

Timber stair builder

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First you need to calculate the exact height of your riser and the exact width of your tread. I will use 1,1m as the height of the stairs for the example below.

Assuming a riser of about 200mm or less divide 1, 100mm by 200mm. You get 5.5 risers. Increase this to 6 risers because if you take it back to 5 risers you riser will be more than 200mm.

So 6 risers and therefore 5 treads. The top tread of course being the deck itself.

1, 100mm divided by 6 risers give you an exact riser height of 183.3mm. 5 treads of 280mm each will result in a total floor length of 1, 4m. From this you can work out the length of the stringer. a²+ b² = c². Remember him? Yeah!!! The stringer by the way is the piece that runs down diagonally from the deck to the floor and to which the treads are attached.

Now lay the stringer flat on the ground, starting your markings a comfortable distance from the end to allow for cutting to the correct angle and possibly notching the end to accommodate any lip that may exist on the deck. Deckboards can either be set flush with the joist or they can hang slightly over which will dictate whether or not the stringer needs to be notched so that it can be fastened to the joist or beam.

Timber stairs Durban

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With the stringer flat on the ground, take a large square with markings on both sides (the big black square) and slide it along the one side of the stringer so that you reach the 183.3mm mark on one side and the 280mm mark on the other side. Of course you would round this to the nearest millimetre. One can buy little clamps that clamp to the sides of the square to make this job easier. In fact sophisticated stair stringer squares can be bought but the big black square works just as well. With your riser height and tread width marked on the stringer you can now draw a line around the square at the corner. This is where your riser and tread will be. Move the square down to the end of the marks and repeat to mark the next one. Continue until the end of the stringer. Cut the top end of your stringer off parallel to the riser at the correct distance to attach to the joist. The bottom of the stringer will be cut, either parallel to the riser or tread depending on whether you want a vertical or horizontal end which will either attach to the concrete ground (horizontal) or be set into the soil using a post and concrete (horizontal or vertical).

If you have as much difficulty understanding this as I did, then you are not alone. Try it and you will find it becomes second nature.
Now it’s just a matter of attaching your treads and job done. If you have a balustrade running down the sides of your stairs this can be attached now. Care should always be taken where the balustrade capping and cross supports, on the stairs, meet the same on the deck as they are running at different heights. It is better to take the balustrade up, level out whilst still on the stairs and then meet the horizontal.