Signature Living

DESIGN TRENDS & MAKEOVERS

Decking - Wood for Africa

WOOD 4 AFRICA specialises in solid wooden flooring, balustrades, doors and staircases, Decks and Cladding And Pergola's
We also manufacture an unique range of engineered flooring. We also specialises in solid wooden flooring (overlay as well as battens), produced by state-of-the-art moulders and processing machinery like sanders, spindles, tenoners, presses, etc.
We deploys 3 installation teams of 5 trained specialists on a daily basis. They operate from Hermanus to Paarl to Bantry Bay.


Decking - Wood for Africa
Decking - Wood for Africa
Decking - Wood for Africa
Decking - Wood for Africa
Decking - Wood for Africa
Decking - Wood for Africa

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Wood 4 Africa also manufactures an unique range of engineered flooring from African hard woods such as Oak, Kiaat, Itoko, Rosewood, Panga Panga, Rhodesian Teak, etc. We also import wood from Brazil, China and France.
We even have a jewellery selection!

Wooden decks have become a popular extension to the modern upmarket home. Not only is it a natural, aesthetically pleasing and easy to maintain extra living space, it is the preferred platform for South African outdoor living and lifestyle.
Our decks are built to client specifications or designed on site, working closely with the client to ensure overall satisfaction.

Once a client has decided upon a wooden deck, they are normally confronted with the following choices:

1. Budget.
The cost of a deck is determined by firstly, the type of decking material, then the complexities of the substructure, how decking planks will be fixed to the substructure, will the deck be sealed or treated and finally of course, the size of the deck.
Accessibility of the site where deck is to be constructed can either lead to a more complex, and therefore deck structure, or in addition, can lead to a slower pace of deck construction. Again adding to costs.
Lets look at each in detail;

2. Type of decking material.
Several choices of decking material exists;

Timber or composite.
Composite is often offered as an alternative to wood, but the closer it resembles wood and behaves like wood, the closer it is to the price of real timber. Wood4africa has developed, over the last two years, a green alternative, eucalyptus, which will be discussed in detail later.

The following types of timber are usaully accociated with quality and long-lasting decks:
Macaranduba is a tropical timber from Brazil with a hardness and grain ideal for decking. It has the advantage that it comes in long lengths and can be purchased kiln dried.

Garapa, also a tropical timber, with qualities matching that of Macaranduba, the difference mainly in colour. (Photos)

Balau. Balau is regarded as the original decking timber but current imported quality is in doubt and if not kiln dried, it cannot be used. The grain of balau, once weathered, is also not as fine as that of Garapa and Macaranduba, and this results in long deep cracks if not sealed well and often.
These three timbers are in the same price range. At twenty percent more expensive, Ipe is offered, but will last as long as the others mentioned. It is also a Brazilian tropical timber but has the disadvantage that it is expensive and often come in shorter lengths only.

Eucalyptus.
This type of timber from the Grandis tree, has been declared an invasive specie in South Africa. It is an excellent alternative to the tropical species, and if correctly harvested it has a minimal carbon footprint and 100% local content. There are however a few rules associated with using this specie as Green decking. Wood4africa has developed this to an art and offers a 5 year replacement guarantee. The timber is a known cross grain timber, making drying complex and expensive. If allowed to dry out on a deck, without treatment, it can break loose from its fittings.

Wood4africa has developed an penetrating low viscosity water repelling oil containing Permethrin, (an insecticide in the pyrethroid chemical family. ) and silver. This oil, after controlled treatment, not only stabilises the eucalyptus decking plank but also protects it against borer insects, termite attack and fungal decay. This treatment also provide protection against ultra-violet degradation caused by sunlight exposure and/or reduce wood movement by controlling moisture uptake and loss during exposure, provide protection against mechanical wear and provide nominal protection against fire. ( gum plank photos here)

3. The deck substructure.
Often ignored or taken for granted vs the best material on top, most decks fail in 10 years because of a failed substructure.

A good substructure is;
...at least 150 mm from the ground. ( protection against rising damp)
...Build from CCA treated material with minimum dimensions if 150 x 50.
...with rafter spans of minimum 400 center to center.
...protected by biddum on ground.
...timber protected by tar layer on top.
Any load bearing spans must be calculated by an engineer and be guaranteed by the deck construction company.
Any anchorage in soil must be in concrete.
Any fixings from either stainless steel or rated galvanizing, in the interior.

4. The method of fixing.
As mentioned, it is non-negotiable that stainless steel screws and at least galvanized fittings are used. The timber or decking slats are often screwed from the top, through the plank, into the bearer, or rafter. The less dense the material of the rafter the more the onus on the screw to be of good material and to be long enough. Wood4Africa uses SABS approved clips, fixing , from the side, the decking plank into the rafter. This results in the top of the plank not being perforated and not inviting moisture as well as unseen lines of screws not being visible.

5. To seal or not to seal.
We are often asked whether deck must be sealed or not. The choice is aesthetic as well as structural.

The decking material in the league of Macaranduba, Grandis or Garapa, has a density of 700 plus. Thus, kept dry, it will last forever. Decking material however, with a lesser density, like Pine or Meranti will need assistance to stay healthy and safe. Sealing the timber will give it a wet or darker look. Left unsealed it will eventually turn "grey"(bleach).

Grey or bleached might be trendy, but even if the timber material is good and dry, it will get a rougher feel over time and splinters might start to appear. Wood4Africa stabilizes our decks after installation with a special treatment from Timberlife. This helps the timber, which has previously been stored under roof and with humidity contents of around 12% to adjust to direct sunlight and heat and being dried out to 7%. This is the most risky phase and might lead to permanent cracks or warping, especially in Balau. Our sealer prevents the rapid loss of moisture and subsequent damage to the cell structures, and the simultaneous heating up of the timber itself putting different sections of the plank under stress. It, however, allows the timber to still bleach or go "grey"over time.
It must be kept in mind that a deck sealed with a non penetrating sealer results in a warmer deck plank, even uncomfortably so. A penetrating treatment does not seal of and has a cooler plank as result. A healthier plank.

6. Paperwork.
No job is finished until the paperwork is done, in this case, decks should not be started if paperwork describing the following is not in place;

1. The size, usually in square meters, of the deck. As far as possible a diagram describing the structure, direction of plank lines and heights will be included.
2. The price or cost of the deck complete.
3. When payment will take place. Usually payment of a deposit equal to the cost of material is payable. Often the second payment is also the last payment, upon completion and signing of. It can also be decided that a second payment can take place, on bigger decks, if the material is on site and the deck structure finished.
4. A description of material to be used, including whether timber has been treated and kiln dried or not. Here it will be stated what thickness and width of materials are agreed to.
5. Will the deck be treated or not, and with what.
6. Start and completion dates. Experienced decking contractors can specify when they will be finished and site cleared of rubble.
7. The guarantee. What is guaranteed, for how long and for what.

Wood for Africa

Phone: 021 845 6083
E-mail:
Our Website: www.wood4africa.co.za