Wooden Pool Deck Built in Westville, Durban

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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.

 

Wooden Deck Built with Guarantee in Durban

Wooden deck guarantee

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As mentioned in some of my other articles we started offering supplier guarantees on our H3 CCA Treated pine substructures. These guarantees can run for up to 50 years from the date of installation. They are guaranteed by the manufacturer of the chemicals used in the treatment process and are underwritten by one of the large insurance companies. Provided certain building techniques are adhered to and the company treating the timber has treated it correctly, the manufacturer of the chemicals is willing to guarantee the timber against various forms of rot and various types of insect infestation for up to 50 years.

One of the conditions is that the end-user, being you the client, needs to register the build with the manufacturer within 60 days of completion of the build. The registering of the build needs to be done in a certain format and details such as when the timber was purchased, where it was purchased from, ERF number etc. needs to be submitted to them together with proof, in the form of photographs, of the building methods we used whilst building the wooden deck.

We need to treat the cut ends of the timber with an approved end sealer, we need to ensure that we are using H3 for timber above ground and H4 for timber in ground or in constant contact with wet soil and we have to show that we have planted our posts according to the recommended method.

Wooden deck guarantee

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We at The Wood Joint offer to facilitate this process for you, for a small admin fee, so that you may activate the guarantee with them. We take pictures of what we are doing to prove that we have used end sealer and adhered to their criteria. Once the build is finished we compile the report that will be sent to them, by you, to register the build and activate you guarantee. We can also assist in submitting it on your behalf.

In the pictures alongside you can see the end sealer we are using which is a diluted version of the same chemical that is used in the treatment process. This applies to all cut ends and drilled holes. The greenish colour is due to the copper in the solution which prevents algae growing on the timber which can cause rot.

We also take pictures of us planting the posts or poles so that it is clear we have planted them correctly. When one plants a post, it should always be placed on top of soil and then concrete placed around the post. If you wish to place it on top of concrete than that concrete should be allowed to set completely before placing the post and setting it in concrete. This is to allow any water that does get into the post to escape through the bottom of the post. If a post is set on top of wet concrete it will slow the escape of water through the pole and this will speed up the rotting process from within the posts. I’m sure you’ve seen some gum poles that have rotted from the inside out. This is because they have probably been set on top of wet concrete.

Wooden deck guarantee

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We also take pictures of the red SABS / SANS stamps on the timber so that it can be proved that the correct Hazard Level was used for the correct application, H3 for above ground and H4 for in the ground.

Both SABS and the company manufacturing the chemicals regularly, and unannounced, check on them and run test to ensure that their timber is being treated correctly. Pine cannot be treated in the same chamber as saligna (poles) for instance as the absorption rates of each timber are different. The timber needs to be treated at a certain pressure and the solution needs to be of a certain strength to arrive at the different H levels. This is tested by coring a section of the timber out, after treatment, and measuring the amount of timber the chemical has penetrated. They also use a dye to determine if the solution was of the correct strength. So it is important that this CCA treated timber is purchased from a reputable supplier.

Over and above this info we need to report on where the timber was purchased, when it was purchased, who treated it and so on. With all this information on hand, you the client, can register your build with the manufacturer and be rest assured that you substructure is safe for 50 years.

For a free no obligation quote on your wooden decking needs, please contact us on 082 496 5444 or use Wooden deck guarantee

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Sealing a Wooden Sundeck by The Wood Joint – Durban

Sealing a wooden sundeck can be a time-consuming task. One needs to ensure that the sealer gets in between the gap on the deckboards so as to seal both edges of each deckboard. Balustrades can also be very time-consuming as there are many corners and tight gaps to get in to.

We use Timberlife Satin Wood Base 28 which is oil based and very viscous. It has zero wax content so that nothing dries on the surface of the timber making future maintenance easy and very cost-effective. You simply clean and re-apply. No more sanding.

One way is to paint it on using a brush. Another is to use a sponge to rub it on. And yet another is to spray it on. Each method of application has its pros and cons. I’ll list each one here: –

Brushing it on

  • Very time-consuming
  • The brush tends to flick the sealer because it so viscous so when brushing up towards the wall one needs to ensure it doesn’t flick on the wall
  • Fairly accurate as you can get the sealer where you want it

Sponging it on

  • Quite messy so wear gloves
  • No flicking but lots of dripping as the sponge gets squeezed. Use plastic beneath if you don’t want it to spoil the paving, but it is ok if it lands on the deck as you will sponge that too pretty soon
  • Fairly accurate and much quicker than brushing
  • You may need to touch up with a brush in the corners
  • Can’t get successfully into the gaps between deckboards
  • You can use a sponge roller for the surface

Spraying

  • Very messy so mask the walls or use a piece of cardboard to protect the wall. Have thinners or turps on hand to clean it off the wall quickly if it gets on the wall. If the wall is PVA, be very careful, but it cleans off quite easily from acrylic paints and windows
  • Watch the wind, it can cause havoc
  • Penetrates everywhere
  • Use a garden sprayer on the finest setting it has

So there are many ways to seal your wooden deck if using a viscous sealer such as Timber Life Satin Wood Base 28 or Woodoc Deck Dressing. Use a combination of them and you will have your deck sealed in no time. Be careful of spraying though. Use lots of plastic, watch the pool, watch the wind. But even with these few pitfalls, it is much, much faster than brushing. Watch the video above of us spraying a deck. For a free no obligation quote, call us on 082 496 5444 or use the form below.

Choosing a Wooden Deck Builder in Durban

Wooden deck builder Durban

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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

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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 Decking Durban

Wooden decking Durban

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I haven’t written or posted an article on wooden decking in Durban here for a while. The main reason is that we have been extremely busy building wooden sundecks in Durban. It is quite odd to be this busy in the middle of winter. Normally people want their sundecks built-in summer and winter is traditionally quiet in this industry for both builders and suppliers. I can only think it is because we have had quite a mild winter in Durban and as a result people have been installing sundecks rather than fire places. This coupled with the fact that we lowered our prices in about April 2013 after implementing a few cost saving techniques and securing our timber at very reasonable rates without affecting the quality. I hope this continues into the summer and carries us right up to the end of the year with flat-out building jobs.

We were awarded a 90m² wooden sundeck in Toti recently. It was to be installed on top of an existing concrete slab that doubled up as the roof of the parking area beneath. The concrete had just been waterproofed using Torch On so we could not secure our batons, or joists to the surface by drilling. We brought the level of the deck up so that the existing balustrade would be 1m above the surface of the deck. The existing concrete slab was about 1.4m below the top of the balustrade so we had about 400mm to raise it which allowed us enough space to build a super structure with 38 x 152 beams and 38 x 114 joists with a 19mm deckboard on top. This allowed us to keep the beams and joists off the surface and we installed 76 x 76 square posts to the beams to support it. Because we were using 38 x 152 beams we had to install posts more often as opposed to the 38 x 228 beams where the posts can be installed less frequently. The posts sat on top of some 3mm closed cell insertion rubber cut to 100mm x 100mm squares to stop the posts from cutting into the waterproofing over time. This system allowed us to suspend the superstructure as a sort of floating structure without having to secure anything to the concrete surface so that we didn’t need to damage the waterproofing. Again we used an H3 CCA Treated Pine substructure and balau deckboards.

Wooden decking Durban

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This time around we spaced our joists perfectly so that we only had to waste a small amount of deckboards as off cuts. We did this by slotting an extra deckboard in where we had to, to prevent having an off cut of 400mm or so. We calculated that we would have about R5, 000-00 worth of 400mm off cuts if we had cut these. So it made sense to rather spend the money on a few extra joists than the off cuts.

We sprayed this deck with sealer rather than using a brush. We brushed the edges as it can often make a mess against the wall spraying it on and then sprayed the entire surface. Because we are using oil based sealer there is no chance of runs or streaks so it is quite safe to spray it on and we saved at least a day or two. Our biggest time consumer on this job was getting our timber up to the first floor. The service lift was big enough to take our deckboards from corner to corner, but was out-of-order on the day, so we carried them up two flights of stairs. The longer pieces had to be hauled 6m up the side of the building using ropes attached to each side of the timber. In hindsight we should have hauled the deckboards up that way too.

Wooden decking Durban

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For a free no obligation quote or just to ask some advice on building your wooden deck, please contact me using the form below or you can call us on 082 496 5444.

Wooden Balau Deck Built in The Bluff – February 2012

Wooden sundecks Durban

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

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