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# 208738 25-Feb-2017 18:17
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So as a few of you know but most probably don't. I am in the process of building a new home. (The stress has been pretty bad so I hope this is the last time in my life I ever do this, but suspect it won't be).

 

Anyway... 

 

I am going to get the deck done by a friend who is a builder. He built my last deck at my rental property and did an absolutely outstanding job, so I am more than happy to get him to help me out with the deck again.

 

So I am looking at hardwoods for my new place. I am very familiar with Kwila and Vitex. Just looking around there are a couple of other woods I have seen that look quite nice and think they would fit the part: 

 

Eucalyptus, Garapa and Saligna

 

I am pretty keen to stick with what I know, Kwila and Vitex. My project needs to look tight and Its going to be screwed in with stainless steel screws so I want this thing to look pretty top notch. I plan to spend a lot of my time out there.

 

The 140mm vitex boards look good, but the kwila seems popular and is very expensive too. What are your experiences.. I am also gonna probably want to stain it as well. Im still in the planning stage for the deck. The house probably wont be finished for another 3-4 months. 


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  # 1726208 25-Feb-2017 18:28
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If someone is building it for you, than a lot of the cost is going to be labour. IMO building a deck is pretty easy and is one of the few things you ccan do yourself, and you usually don't need a consent for unless there is going to be large drop to the ground. You will however save money if you buy the materials and they build it for for you. Or they could just do all the structural stuff, and you could then do the easy but time consuming bit, which is laying the planks. The cheapest way is to use H3 decking timber and let it silver or stain it, but if I was going to the expense of getting a builder in, I would look at Kwila. There are so composite decks that are almost a plastic material, which almost clip together with hidden fixings, which could be another option, but I don't know how durable they are.


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  # 1726228 25-Feb-2017 19:26
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We did 140mm Vitex about 5 years ago. It's been super stable and has coped with a 28kg dog without marking. If I was doing another deck I would definitely use Viterbo, it's a great timber.

It's also sustainable which is another benefit.

 
 
 
 


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  # 1726254 25-Feb-2017 20:58
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Oooh, boy. You've got me started. I will start by saying I am not a builder. However I Do My Reserach before commencing a project. I can feel Mrs MDF roll her eyes from across the at the understatement behind that one.

 

I built this monstrosity for my mother last year.

 

 

 

This is my third deck. I've made plenty of mistakes I hope not to repeat. Number 1: keep fingers further away from nail guns than my previous practice.

 

The one above is all kwila, which is what mum wanted. Kwila looks nice (nice colour and grain), but:

 

  • can splinter
  • bleeds colour a lot (this will abate as it weathers)
  • if you're impatient to stain it and don't until it weathers in (like my mum), there is quite the risk the stain won't stick and just rub off as a powder
  • unless you shop carefully, quite possibly carries the ghost of dead orangutans with it.

I've used vitex before and prefer it for look and sustainability. Looks nice, but:

 

  • on average, comes in shorter lengths than kwila (a potential issue if you have a very wide deck)
  • gives of a soapy sticky sort of sap as it weathers in
  • prone to hairline cracks in the surface (only affects the look, not the structural integrity)
  • looks much better if you keep it well oiled, so depending on when you live, you're looking at maintenance every 1-2 years. Invest in a proper oiling bucket and mop and you'll be done in less than an hour. It took me a while to figure that one out.
  • Likely to have fewer dead monkeys haunting it.

I've not used garapa or saligna but have looked at both. I didn't really like the look of saligna (coarse grain). Garapa looks great and you can get FSC but it is expensive. That's about the extent of my knowledge.

 

If it's a living on deck (as opposed to some kind of utlitarian boardwalk), don't get normal decking pine. It's CCA treated, and the "A" stands for arsenic which is - literally - a poison. It's been banned in playgrounds pretty much everywhere except NZ. You don't want your feet and hands (much less your kids' feet and hands) touching this stuff if you can avoid it. ACQ treatment is a better option for pine, but not as good as hardwoods.

 

If you're budget will stretch that far, you should have a look at accoya. New Zealand pine that has been Scienced within an inch of its life to make it into a hardwood. Looks amazing, super sustainable, +20 geek cred, no nasty chemicals. But last I checked it was about $15 per lineal meter.

 

Personally, I also stay away from the composites (mix of wood/sawdust and plastic). They look good and are straight so easy to use, but weathering hasn't been proven. Some of the denser ones can also hold the heat and so do heat up if there's plenty of sun.

 

Your builder may have his own supplier but I used Timspec (Wellington/Wairarapa branch but they're in Auckland too) and would recommend them. Christchurch has a great decking place too I hear.

 

I won't use stainless steel screws again. I did this on my first two decks and you pop heads and they still tarnish (the stainless steel supplied here is often junk and you can't tell which is which).

 

This is a way better option:

 

 

http://www.grkfasteners.com/products/rt-composite/rt 

 

Coated mild steel (they don't look as shiny in real life). Of the ~3,500 screws in mum's deck, I cammed out one (I bent another when I stood on it). Compared to the stainless steel ones used on my first two efforts where you pop at least one head every board or two. Torx head makes it self centering when you drive it in too.

 

The counter-threaded top to the screw is what holds the board down, so you don't need a big head to hold it down. IMHO looks way better. All my builder mates are impressed with them.

 

These come is stainless steel options, but the gold/yellow colour blends in really well with decking.

 

I buy mine from Amazon, but probably other suppliers too.

 

Some of the hidden fastening systems are interesting (e.g. the camo system), but I've not used them personally.

 

EDIT: typos 

 

 


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  # 1726260 25-Feb-2017 21:16
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That link doesn't load for me, their website is down.The server at www.grkfasteners.com is taking too long to respond.

 

But those nails look like they are electroplate coated? I would never use electoplated steel for any exterior work. Although I often see building professionals using them on the exterior, and after a few years they rust out. There are also some low quality stainless steel screws being sold by some retailers, so I would be wary of them too. I would far prefer a good proper galvanized coating.

 

 

 

You do see a lot of new playgrounds built from pine looking timber. If they aren't using CCA timber , what are they using? Not sure it is that much of a problem, as long as you wear gloves and masks when installing. Also people on decks should be wearing some type of footwear anyway due to splinters. I would be more concerned about chemicals in food. For example tin cans are coated with a plastic that is banned in other countries. Also some of the sprays that are used on veges and fruit that you buy. Most houses will be still built from CCA timber. They went though a period during the leaky building period when they stopped using it, partly due to the potential health concerns, but with all the leaky buildings, they decided it was better for the timber to have have some protection in the case of leaking, rather than for the house to be filled with rotting mould spores.


neb

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  # 1726932 27-Feb-2017 10:41
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mdf:

I won't use stainless steel screws again. I did this on my first two decks and you pop heads and they still tarnish (the stainless steel supplied here is often junk and you can't tell which is which).

 

 

Ah, you probably used the third grade of stainless that's commonly sold. There's 302/304 stainless, 316 stainless, and Chinese stainless. A friend of mine was building a deck with Chinese-grade stainless (because it was the cheapest) and ran into the same problem you did, many of them popped heads long before they had a chance to tarnish. As a rule of thumb you want 316 if you're anywhere near the coast, because even 302/304 will tarnish when exposed to salt spray. 316 just lasts, but you have to be careful where you get it from to make sure it's the real thing.

neb

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  # 1726934 27-Feb-2017 10:46
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mattwnz:

I would never use electoplated steel for any exterior work. Although I often see building professionals using them on the exterior, and after a few years they rust out.

 

 

Those are solving a different problem than corrosion/rust, what they're addressing is the fact that some types of timber treatment attack standard galvanised nails/screws, so the coating is resistant to that. I've never used them because they don't seem like a good idea in a wet/coastal environment, and hearing that they rust out quickly confirms that suspicion.

 

 

In the long run the best option if you can afford it is 316 stainless. Just remember you'll need to pay extra for the Armourguard truck that delivers your 5kg box of them.

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  # 1726948 27-Feb-2017 10:53
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neb: In the long run the best option if you can afford it is 316 stainless. Just remember you'll need to pay extra for the Armourguard truck that delivers your 5kg box of them.

 

 

And then you see stuff like this that just makes you want to cry (that's about USD30 vs. NZD 135 for the same thing).

 
 
 
 


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  # 1726953 27-Feb-2017 11:04
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I've used and specified Garapa a fair bit and really like it. It's a very nice timber to look at both stained, oiled, or left natural. However, as you know, it is not the cheapest. I also think 140mm wide boards look the business. They have the added benefit of requiring less screws (across the whole deck).

 

The other benefit of it is that it does not leech tannins to the extent that Kwila does. Kwila would be the closest visual alternative I'd say but has a tendency to leech heavily which can cause permanent staining.

 

http://www.dysart.co.nz/best-timber-for-new-decks/ This is a fairly good mini review of the differences.

 

Regardless, ensure all screws are countersunk. The hardwood will not in any way like the head of a screw trying to push through. As mentioned, ensure all screws are 316 stainless (if you want stainless) or they'll stain.

 

If you can afford it, getting 38mm boards will ensure a solid feel under foot. Or do max. 400 centers for the joists with 21mm boards. Most manufacturers say max. 450 crs, but in my experience you can still feel them move underfoot if you're in barefeet. Which is most of the time for me when I use a deck.


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  # 1726954 27-Feb-2017 11:06
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neb:
neb: In the long run the best option if you can afford it is 316 stainless. Just remember you'll need to pay extra for the Armourguard truck that delivers your 5kg box of them.
And then you see stuff like this that just makes you want to cry (that's about USD30 vs. NZD 135 for the same thing).
Yeah, either get a Bunnings account (and save a little bit) or look to Trademe. There's a store on there which I have bought a lot of stainless hardware through and their prices have been exceptional. Including their shipping costs down to Wellington. They're Akl based. 


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  # 1727004 27-Feb-2017 11:41
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Disrespective:

Yeah, either get a Bunnings account (and save a little bit) or look to Trademe. There's a store on there which I have bought a lot of stainless hardware through and their prices have been exceptional. Including their shipping costs down to Wellington. They're Akl based. 

 

 

If it's the one I'm thinking of, they sell Chinese-grade stainless. You may have got lucky and hit a good batch, but they're the ones I was referring to in the comment about screws that disintegrate before they get a chance to corrode.

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  # 1727033 27-Feb-2017 12:14
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neb:
Disrespective:

 

Yeah, either get a Bunnings account (and save a little bit) or look to Trademe. There's a store on there which I have bought a lot of stainless hardware through and their prices have been exceptional. Including their shipping costs down to Wellington. They're Akl based. 

 

If it's the one I'm thinking of, they sell Chinese-grade stainless. You may have got lucky and hit a good batch, but they're the ones I was referring to in the comment about screws that disintegrate before they get a chance to corrode.
OK, interesting. I've seen/used Anzor screws that are identical to the ones that I have used. Haven't noticed any stianing or other issues yet so will just keep an eye on them.

 

It would be interesting to know if there was a test to determine 316/302/whatever stainless quality.


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  # 1727058 27-Feb-2017 12:29
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Disrespective:

It would be interesting to know if there was a test to determine 316/302/whatever stainless quality.

 

 

The only easy one I know of is to wait. If they stay fine in a coastal environment, it's 316. If they tarnish after about a year, it's 302/304. If they tarnish/corrode or break immediately, it's Chinese.

 

 

You can get assaying equipment, but it's pretty expensive, and getting a refund if you bought from eBay and the like can be almost impossible. In one case I got sent some fake welding rods and provided proof that they weren't what was advertised, but Paypal wouldn't refund. They're actually pretty terrible, in another case the seller admitted fault and it still took endless threats to get them to refund.

 

 

(Not saying that anything sourced from China is automatically dodgy, but you're taking a real gamble on quality).

mdf

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  # 1727363 27-Feb-2017 20:59
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The GRK screws I linked to have a coating called "Climatek". There's a whole load of marketing around this, but they claim that there's 6 layers of zinc and polymer. Apparently they've been tested to some ridiculous degree including salt spray. In real life they're quite dull, not at all shiny like the marketing pic above.

In any event, I installed them the better part of two years ago at Mum's house and haven't noticed any corrosion at all. This is in Miramar, Wellington so not in sight of the sea but pretty close. I guess the other advantage is with such a trim head you wouldn't really notice any corrosion anyway, especially with the kwila leaching browny red stain everywhere.

The issue I've had with 316 stainless is that it is harder/more brittle, so actually harder to work with/easier to ruin. When you're doing a deck, the last thing you want to do is carefully pulse in each screw giving it time to rest and cool between pulses. I want to pull the trigger right back, go hell for leather and hear the impact driver *sing*. Which just leads to catastrope with stainless.

Even with the 304 stainless, there's a bit of a market for lemons problem going on. I've bought stainless from big box retailers that have been fine, then the same brand 3 months later from the same retailer has been horrible. Either no QC at the factory or else they go from factory to factory looking for whatever is cheapest. It's really hard to tell what's good and what's not, particularly before you buy it. Even once you do, it might be fine but then 3 months later have surface rust.

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  # 1727369 27-Feb-2017 21:13
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Disrespective:

 

 

 

It would be interesting to know if there was a test to determine 316/302/whatever stainless quality.

 

 

 

 

Isn't it a set standard, so it should be able to be tested ? http://www.anzor.co.nz/technical/comparison-table-international-stainless-steel-standards 


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  # 1727384 27-Feb-2017 22:09
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mattwnz:

Isn't it a set standard, so it should be able to be tested ? http://www.anzor.co.nz/technical/comparison-table-international-stainless-steel-standards 

 

 

Sure, there's all sorts of ways to test them, the most obvious one being with an XRF (X-ray flourescence) analyzer. They start at about $20K and go up from there.

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