In order to learn how to build a deck or patio using Merbau decking, we first need to explain what is Merbau. It’s a popular type of solid hardwood with different origins, but the most recognizable feature is that it comes with a really solid price, but you are getting exceptional quality, that requires regular maintenance, which adds more to the overall cost.
But, as we said, you are getting strong and durable decking, which gives you a lot of different options for construction above the ground level. These timber products come in different sizes and lengths, finishes, and resistance to moisture, decay, and also fires, and termites. If you don’t know how they look, you can check on Bowens. Even though Merbau requires regular maintenance, the quality is something that follows all these products.
This hardwood is derived mostly from South East Asia, the Pacific Islands, Papua New Guinea, and Queensland. It’s an exceptional combination of natural materials that can be used in construction and decking. Merbau is a tropical plant, and there are many procedures that should be accomplished for the tree to be harvested and supplied to the people who will create woods from it.
If you plan to build a patio using Merbau, you need to know that the new decks are usually yellow or orange, or light brown, but as time goes by, it gets some red shade, which makes it even more beautiful.
So, we’ve talked enough about the quality and benefits of this type of wood, and focus on building a patio by properly laying the decking boards. You can do it all by yourself, or with a little help from friends or family.
First, create a checklist of all the items and tools you need. We will help you with a few of them:
- Concrete for the base
- Merbau decking timber
- Screws and nails
- Joist hangers
- Measuring tape
- Hand saw or electric saw
- Nail gun
- String line
- Nail punch
As long as you have all of these, you are ready to start with your projects, following these steps:
1. Planning the project and measuring the dimensions of the patio
The dimensions will help you calculate the size of the surface you need to cover with Merbau decks. Choose the location smartly, since there can be some plumbing or electric network underground, and you don’t need to cover them with concrete or any other material. Make sure you won’t interfere with underground installations of any type. If you need to, check with the city’s council to see if there is some installation there you aren’t aware of. After that, measure the surface and place the string lines, so you can make sure the lines are straight and on the proper level.
2. Dig the holes and place the bearers
The bearers will help you put the decks at the right distance, but also will provide the correct height of the patio. This is an important step because the bearers also play a crucial role in providing the needed stability of the base. You need to check it a few times, so you can be sure everything is placed correctly. You can make a quick fix before you assemble the frame, so it can be easier for you to put the decks over it. Don’t forget to make the base stronger using the concrete as a support material, and then you are ready to put the frame pieces together and create good conditions for a complete workflow, without having to get back to the tiny details.
3. Place the Merbau decking
Once you have the construction base, you can start laying the decking over the frame. You must use screws and nails, to make sure everything is nice and consistent. You can use any tool that seems useful in this process, that will make sure all the decks are properly placed over the frame, and there is no risk of moving and damaging. Trim the excess wood from the sides using your hand saw, and you are almost there. Once you are down, you need to place the furniture properly, so you can be sure heavy pieces won’t damage the woods.
4. Regular maintenance
Almost every type of hardwood used for decking requires regular maintenance every six to twelve months. If you don’t do that regularly, it will lose the natural shade and will look grey or black. When it comes to Merbau, you need to make sure you are doing these things every three to six months, depending on the climate conditions outside, and how the weather affects your patio in general. If it’s built close to a pool, the chlorine and moisture can easily shorten the lifespan of the woods. So, we highly recommend a simple touch-up every few months, so it can last longer and be equally beautiful all the time.
Important things to know
Most of the Merbau decks are easily layered together by using the clip feature, which means you can easily complete the whole project by yourself. It works easily for square and rectangular surfaces, but it requires more skills if you want some unusual shape. If you are using nails and clips, we highly recommend choosing stainless steel, because it’s easier to fix in the future.
Merbau always looks beautiful, it’s very resistant and easy to work with. If you seal the wood with oily colors, just for a touch-up, you can make sure you are prolonging the lifespan.
Some people claim that they don’t like the natural oils in the Merbau, because they can change the color of the whole patio, and it can “bleed” while wet. Also, the tree is harvested under special conditions and limitations, because it’s rare and part of the sustainable plans to protect the environment. Maybe that’s one of the explanations about the price and the high demand too.
In the end, we hope that our suggestions are helpful and that now you know something more about this wood and its benefits.