Wooden Balau Deck built in Cotswold Downs, Hillcrest

This wooden balau deck built in Cotswold Downs in July 2019 was built primarily to cover the JoJo tanks which were being housed below. There were various challenges in getting the beam across the span around the pipes that led into the tanks but with a few tricks we managed to hang a beam from above rather than secure it from below.

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The balustrade was built using balau and marine grade stainless steel wire rope which always works best when you don’t want the view to be obscured when in a sitting position.

There are a few strict rules at Cotswold Downs in Hillcrest with regard to the maximum height of the deck so we had to stagger it and create a split level deck. This resulted in some benches with removable lids for storage and a small flight of stairs to access the lower section.

For a free no obligation quote please contact me Garrick Dunstan on 082 496 5444 or use the contact us form below.

Wooden balau deck built in Hillcrest

This wooden balau deck was built in Hillcrest. It was built on top of existing slasto. When building on top of a previously laid substrate one can build directly on top of it rather than removing the paving or slasto. It helps with water flow below the deck keeping it drier and thus preventing premature rotting due to excess moisture for prolonged periods of time below the deck.

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When building on a substrate like this that has a fall, the width of the joists need to be wedge shaped to accommodate the fall. The pieces of treated timber therefore need to be cut and treated again with an end sealer. We use Kugard which protects any cut ends of timber.

Other than that the deck was a straight forward build. There are various other articles on this site that explain the process we use and the measures we take to make sure the deck lasts longer. Please feel free to browse the site.

For a quote on your timber deck please call me, Garrick Dunstan, on 082 496 544 or use the contact us form below.

Wooden Deck Gillitts – July 2019

The pics here are of a wooden deck we have just completed in Gillitts. The client wanted an old deck removed, dumped and a new one built with slight changes. It was built in the normal way using an H3 CCA treated substructure and balau deck boards of 19 x 68mm which is the most affordable way to build a wooden deck that will last. The H3 CCA treated pine has a minimum life span of 50 years outdoors in the rain and the balau, being balau, will give one many years of use. The balustrades are all full balau in a vertical picket style and the stairs are open risers in balau. These were slightly wider than normal so as to tie into the posts of the balustrade on the deck.

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Screw holes were filled with epoxy to stop water ingress and sanded flat and the deck was oiled.

There are many other articles on this site that will give you the pros and cons of the different materials that we use. Please feel free to browse.

For a free no obligation quote please use the contact form below or you can call me Garrick Dunstan on 082 496 5444.

Wooden Deck Hillcrest February 2019

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This client in Hillcrest had this irregular shaped “dead space” that she wanted to deck. Because it doesn’t get much sun, it is always wet and muddy. So we decked it in balau deck boards. The contrast between white paving and wooden decking works very well and the actual shape of the deck makes it what it is. In designing an outside area, one should try to use different materials that compliment each other. Too much wood or too much grass doesn’t work. But a bit of wood, grass and paving works very well and compliments each other.

The challenges were in getting the top of the deck flush with the top of the paving because the corners of the paving are rounded over so unfortunately we had to leave a small space between the board and the top of paving. Although the board is butted up tight against the paving because of the round over a small gap is created. It didn’t however look bad at all and works well. It wasn’t practical to chamfer the end of the deck board as it would have resulted in a very thin sliver that would cause problems down the line.

We decided on leaving the far end straight rather than trying to follow the curve of the rock wall. The gap was then taken up with loose stones flush with the top of the deck.

Another happy client adding to the 99.5% happy rate of our clients.

For a free no obligation quote on your decking, and other timber requirements please contact us on 082 496 5444 or use the contact us form below. We work throughout KZN and have four crews of skilled deck builders with multiple vans to get the done quickly, accurately and to your satisfaction.

Wooden Deck in Scottburgh, South Coast KZN

This was a wooden deck built in balau for a client who had opened a Bed and Breakfast on the coast. As you can see form the pics the wooden deck was built in the front of the property overlooking the sea. There were of course strict time lines in which we had to complete this wooden deck as they had already made confirmed bookings. With these job which are a fair distance from home we normally rent accommodation and pay the builders a live out allowance for food etc. It inevitably pushes the cost of the build up slightly which is unavoidable.

There are some before and after pics in this article. We had to excavate the soil below. It is always best to leave a fair amount of space below the bottom of the structure and the bottom of the deck boards to allow sufficient airflow for water evaporation. If the deck structure is touching the ground then one would need to use H4 CCA Treated timber which has a minimum life span of 20 years in constant contact with wet soil as per SAWPA (South African Wood Preservers Association). H3 CCA Treated pine as a structure which is NOT in constant contact with wet soil has a minimum life span of 50 years if correctly installed. So it makes sense to keep the structure to H3 for cost purposes, and expected minimum life span, but keep it well clear of any soil. By allowing air to flow freely between the structure and the ground keeps everything relatively dry below and the deck structure will last a lot longer. Continual dampness below speeds up rot and premature failure. In this instance we excavated to at least 300mm below the structure.

There was a pool that had been installed prior to our build by Clear Blue Pools – Gary Botha (071 679 1013) and we worked closely with the pool builder so that the concrete ring beam of the pool was set down 60mm from the desired deck height (top of deck). This allows us a 40mm batten on top of the concrete ring beam and a 19mm deck board. 40mm is the minimum we like to allow for this purpose, again to allow for sufficient air flow to keep things dry between the deck surface and the ring beam. These cleats or battens are fixed directly to the concrete ring beam and the rest of the joists which are suspended above soil become a 38 x 114 to give it lateral strength.

The rest of the deck was pretty much the same then as the other decks we’ve built using 19 x 68mm yellow balau deck boards, counter sunk screw holes filled with clear epoxy and saw dust mixture, sanded flat and oiled using a decking oil.

For a free no obligation quote on your deck please call us on 082 496 5444 or use the contact us form below.

Balau Wooden Deck, Kloof Durban

 

Here’s a straight forward wooden balau deck we built in Kloof, Durban in October 2018. There were a few angles that had to be cut precisely to finish it neatly but other than that the deck was straight forward to build.

We used an H3 and H4 CCA Treated pine substructure. Because the pine is S5 (Industrial SABS approved grade) it is strong enough to be used as a structure for various building purposes. It is also relatively inexpensive in comparison to other hardwoods that could be used as decking structure. Being S5 it contains a certain amount of knots per square metre and is therefore SABS approved as structural timber. Timber with more knots per square metre is normally used as knotty pine ceiling boards where there is very little structural pressures on the timber. Timber with less knots per square metre is referred to as semi clears or S7 grade. S7 becomes quite expensive and is used as deck boards at times to eliminate knots failing on the deck surface. However because one would need to use twice as much wood (38mm thick) when using pine deck boards, the cost is the same as using a 19mm x 68mm balau deck board at half the quantity of wood. As such we use 19 x 68mm yellow balau deck boards as the surface for most of our wooden decks in Durban. The balau is far more stable being twice as dense and hard with a regular straight grain and as such these balau deck boards don’t twist, cup or bow as easily as pine. With the pine being H3 CCA treated it has a life span of at least 50 years outdoors in the rain and weather.

We added a small flight of open riser steps to this deck to gain access to the garden. These are done in full solid balau using 30mm stock. Normally the stringers are 30 x 215 and the treads are made of multiple pieces of 30 x 102 with cleats fixed to the stringers and the treads are fixed to the cleats. They don’t work that well in pine as the pine becomes very visible throughout and one ends up cladding it anyway which brings the cost back to the same as solid balau. The alternative to open risers steps is to do closed risers where box type steps are made of pine structure and then clad resulting in the riser being closed.

The screw holes of all our decks are counter sunk with a Kalgard decking screw and filled with a clear epoxy and saw dust mixture to match the colour of the wood and then ground flat and sanded smooth prior to oiling the deck. You’ll find other articles on this site where we discuss the pros and cons of using oil vs other finishes available on the market and leaving the deck to naturally grey and weather. If you use the search bar at the bottom right and search for maintenance you’ll find a complete article on deck maintenance.

For a free no obligation quote on your wooden deck in Durban and surrounding areas, please use the contact us form below or you can call us on 082 496 5444.

Balau pool deck and walkway – Kloof, Durban

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We engaged with Masslandscapes, a landscaper and garden designer (082 468 3759) on this balau pool deck project in Kloof, Durban to provide a solution for the client who wanted an area alongside their pool that they could utilise more. Before the project started there was the standard paved area of about 1m alongside the pool which was bordered by grass of about 1m and then a flower bed, before dropping down a small bank to the rest of the garden. The client wanted to increase the size of usable area alongside the pool.

Initial designs were to have a very similar layout as per the pics above with a semi-circle sort of node protruding over the bank to gain height and create a look out area overlooking the Kloof Gorge. This proved to be out of budget and would probably have resulted in doubling up sitting area as there was already a large tiled verandah extending out from the living area doors. The final design was settled on which is what you see in the pics.

We needed to excavate some of the garden down and move this top soil for use in another area of the garden. It is always recommended that sufficient space be left below the deck and below the bottom of the lower most bearer or joist to allow enough air flow to dissipate and evaporate any water that settles below the deck. Too often I have seen deck boards rotting prematurely due to insufficient space being left below. Water gets trapped below and the underside of the deck and structure remains damp. I normally recommend at least 150mm below the lowest point of the structure. Once we had enough space below we installed our structure using H3 CCA treated pine. Please see here for an article on the use of CCA Treated pine as structures for decks and balau as deck boards. All cut ends of treated pine, as a matter of course, are re treated with an approved end sealer. When a CCA treated piece of pine is cut it exposes a section that is not treated and can accelerate rot.

Post to ground are set in concrete and installed at the correct distance on the bearers to stop any bounce in the bearer and to provide enough support to prevent the bearer breaking. There are guidelines supplied by engineers for distances that these supports need to be installed. These posts need to be H4 CCA treated pine as they are in constant contact with wet soil.

A lot of this job involved lining up existing paving, pool copings, patio etc. to the deck so the lines were seamless and everything ties in neatly. A walkway, as can be seen from the pics, was created to run alongside the existing raised patio for access to the rest of the garden.

In finishing our decks we fill the screw holes with a clear epoxy mixed with saw dust to match the colour as closely as possible and then grind and sand it flat. Standard wood filler doesn’t quite do the trick and fails with exposure to weather. The filling of screw holes is a very important aspect of deck building. It prevents water sitting in the counter sunk screw hole which would then travel up the end grain of the balau and cause early rotting of the balau deck boards. We use a clear epoxy so that we can match the colour to the deck boards. Off the shelf epoxies are either grey or white in colour and don’t take the saw dust that well to match the colour. Also these epoxies dry very hard. It is better to use an epoxy that is semi pliable when dry. Through seasons of dry and wet, hot and cold, the inside diameter of the counter sunk screw hole will vary ever so slightly. If the epoxy has dried too hard it will cause it to pop out leaving a weak spot on the balau deck board. During maintenance intervals these should be checked and replaced if they have in fact popped.

The deck was oiled using a zero wax content product. The beauty of oil is that it soaks into the wood and therefore cannot peel and flake. A peeling deck is an expensive deck to maintain because you would need to sand off the coating completely to avoid a patchy finish when re-applying the coating. Whereas an oil simply degrades due to exposure to UV over time. A pressure wash and re-oil is all you need to do at maintenance intervals which is relatively inexpensive and easy to do as opposed to sanding the deck again. The oil also allows the natural beauty of the wood to shine through resulting in a more natural wood looking product. Coatings give them the effect of a painted deck especially over time when layer after layer has been applied.

For a free no obligation quote on your timber balau decking, walkways, pergolas and other outdoor timber products, please call us on 082 496 5444 or use the contact us form below. We operate throughout KZN.

Wooden Decks and Balau Deck Boards for Sale Durban

Besides offering a full wooden deck building service in Durban of supply and install, we also sell balau deck boards to end users for use in wooden decks in Durban and KZN.  Please use the contact us form below to enquire about deck building services or read on for more info on sale of deck boards and decking materials.

Because we secure our balau deck boards in bulk we are able to offer these deck boards to the wooden deck builder or end-user at a highly competitive price and more competitively than your popular outlets in Durban.

We stock largely 19mm x 68mm and 19mm x 90mm wooden balau deck boards but other sizes and species are also available, on request. We stock a range of lengths from 2.4m to 4.8m. Please check with us what we have in stock before ordering and provide us with the rough dimensions of your wooden deck so we can select the correct lengths for you to minimize waste. If for instance you are building a wooden deck measuring 4.8m then you would opt for 2.4m deck boards and space your joists with centres of 400mm or 480mm (but not 450mm or 500mm) as these are all factors of 2.4m. On the other hand if your wooden deck measured 5.4m long then you would opt for 2.7m deck boards and space your joists with centres of 450mm or 540mm being a factor of 2.7m. This way the off cut at the end of each deck board is minimized and a saving can be obtained. I will gladly help you plan your substructure and deck boards so as to build a structurally sound deck and minimize waste. Contact me below with the size of your deck and the height above ground.

There are mainly two different types of balau that can be purchased, red and yellow balau. In my experience the yellow balau is harder and therefore more durable. The red balau I have bought in the past seems to be more porous and will therefore absorb more water and rot more quickly. Although balau is very hard, contains natural oils and resins and repels water naturally all wood will eventually rot. The aim is to choose a decking timber that will outlast other timbers but is still affordable and easy on your pocket. We stock only yellow balau.

We sell mainly reeded deck boards. These are the deck boards with grooves on one side. The grooves are not there for anti-slip as is commonly thought. They are in fact there to be placed down against the joist. The reason is to allow any trapped water to dissipate quickly. By keeping the water away from the gap between the deck board and the joist will reduce rot to a degree and result in your wooden deck lasting longer.  It is not absolutely essential but does help to some degree.  Also by having the grooves up you cannot epoxy the screw holes closed, because you can’t sand it off due to the grooves, thus allowing more water to pool in the counter sunk screw hole causing accelerated rot. Grooves up also traps dirt and grime which actually causes the deck surface to become more slippery than a smooth surface. So always grooves down.

We are able to deliver in the greater Durban area. Please enquire about delivery charge.

To contact us for a full wooden deck building service in Durban, or to order deck boards and other timber decking materials, you can call us on 082 496 5444 or use the contact us form below.

Balau Ceiling Cladding at Hillcrest Corner, Durban

The Owen Kemp Building at Hillcrest Corner, is being refurbished and there are two restaurants coming in to the space which was Mr Price. The entire shop is being revamped and changed to accommodate these two restaurants and we have been appointed to attend to the balau ceiling work, decking and cladding of various entrance ways and some screens. This article will deal with the ceiling work.

A steel fabrication company has installed a steel structure on top of which they have installed roofing material. Our job is to now to clad the underside of the steel purlins and battens using 19 x 68mm balau deck boards with a 90mm gap which will accommodate flush mount LED lights. One can’t attach the balau deck boards directly to the steel structure so we’ve built a mini timber structure on to which we will attach the balau planks. We needed to build it so that the bottom of these boards were flush to the bottom of each I beam as the I beam itself will remain exposed and visible. Cleats and battens were attached to the steel and then painted to match the colour of the steel itself. Deck boards were then fixed to these battens with a 90mm gap. The gaps of 90mm are to accommodate a bracket which will be used to fix LED lights which will be flush with the bottom of our boards. We installed the brackets once we had already installed the boards to make it easier to get the alignment right. We drilled through the board and counter sunk a nut and bolt which will be filled with epoxy to cover the bolt head. The lighting company then installed their lights into those purpose made brackets.

On the long straight section the boards were relatively easy to install as they followed the profile of the roof sheeting which was parallel to the I beams supporting them. At the corner the I beams no longer run parallel to the profile of the roof sheeting so we installed our boards still parallel to the profile of the roof sheeting but mitred at an angle to the I beam resulting in a very neat finish. The difficulty in this type of job is drilling through the 12mm I beams to fix the cleats securely. Also the height slows the job down as one is working above one’s head on scaffolding.

On the screens we need to fix a cleat on the outside of the building between screen steel frame and balustrade. We drilled form the inside using a magnetic drill as the wall of the steel was about 8mm and it was virtually impossible to drill from the outside through 8mm of steel. Still there were at least 300 holes to drill in this manner. It is much easier to install wood on to steel if the steel has been pre drilled before fabrication.

There is still a deck to come below this ceiling and screens at various points. I will follow up with a separate article on these other items.

For a quote on your sun deck or other balau timber cladding or screening please contact us on 082 496 5444 or use the contact us form below.

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.