What wood you treat timber with?

I jetsetted down to the fairest Cape over the weekend, and as we started too decent for the landing the harsh reality of the extended drought became crystal clear. Dry river-beds traversing brown mountains, which is hugging empty farm dams. It’s a totally different landscape to the one most South Africans are used to when we visit Cape Town. Cape Town has a challenge in how they are going to deal with #DayZero. Finger pointing and blaming somebody else is not going to fill the taps, but I am off my point now.

Driving with my rent-o-car, which was the size of a shoebox, up the coast towards Hermanus, I came to realise just how different Capetonians are to folks from the rest of South Africa. Firstly, they drive differently to the rest of us. They are quite comfortable in their old Land Rovers, which they obviously cannot fix or replace because the cost of living is a little higher down there. I cannot confirm, but I think they have a different set of rules when it comes to road usage. They are not wrong, they just drive different, and they get to where they want to be.

Secondly, Capetonians have a different dress sense to people from the mainland. Slops and jeans to a fancy restaurant is fine. Wearing your grandfather’s best Sunday hat to the beach is cool. Again, maybe recycling clothes is a way to beat the cost of living in Cape Town. I don’t think they dress wrong, they just dress differently.

Lastly, they speak differently to how I was taught at school. A different Afrikaans and a different English, not wrong, just different, and very difficult to understand.

Its clear we are all different, raised differently, and different ways of doing things, and this brings me to how we treat and seal timber. Being in the timber and hardware industry for most of my adult live I have been asked what the best product to seal timber with on many occasions, and the answer is almost certain to be different in each situation.

A few things to be cognisant of when getting the right product for your timber:

  • The type of timber that you want to seal, a hardwood like saligna, of a softwood like pine. Not all sealants are suited for hardwoods.
  • Has your timber been treated or sealed before, and if it has, with what? Different products, oil-based or water-based products will not sit on top of each other, and thus your timber will have to be cleaned and sanded down to get the full protection of the new sealer.
  • Do you want a gloss finish or a matt finish? Having a colour pigment in your sealer will help protect against the elements, so consider not using just a clear sealer.
  • Is your timber inside or outside, and how long can you wait for the sealant to dry?

Different sealant brands can give you a product for each of the points above. Each manufacturer has datasheets the length of N2 down to Cape Town, and as difficult to understand as the driving skills of Cape Town’s locals, but if you can answer some of the questions above, your choice will be narrowed down and the decision much easier.

At the end, I think the preparation at the beginning of the process is the most important. The right product will not work if the preparation has not been done correctly. Sand down old sealants and try and get to raw timber. Some water-based sealants disintegrate over time, and thus much less sanding is needed. Remember when sealing your timber, especially new timber, to seal all the sides, not just the front facing areas. For example when resealing a garage door, make sure you paint it on the inside also, and a normal house door needs to be sealed on all six sides. The same is true for new decking, all six sides needs to be sealed, and is easier to do before you install the deck. If you have an exciting deck, don’t just try seal the top, try and get to the bottom also.

Two coats is better than one, and three is better and two. Only apply the second and third coats when the previous one is dry. A light sand after each coat will give you a glossier finish. If your timber is exposed to the elements, a reseal every year is recommended.

So whether you choose a water-based product or a polyurethane-based product, Silkwood, Gripseal or Woodoc, be sure to read the instructions and recommendations of the manufacturer on the tin. Each product is different, with different characteristics, different applications and uses, but used correctly and applied correctly, they will enhance your timber and protect it for years to come.

 

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11 Months to Xmas

It is already the latter stages of January, autumn is coming in a month, and most of the New Year‘s resolutions, or rather revolutions, has gone out of the window and into the gym bag. I guess this is the story every year.

January 2017 brought a new American President, could January 2018 be the end of our Pres? With all the rumours swirling about on the possible departure of Pres. Zuma, the South African Rand is testing the R12.00/$ barrier. In January 2017 it was trading around the R13.50/$, things change. Bitcoin has gone from $400 per coin to $20 000, and back to $10 000 in a year. Who can keep up with this?

A year ago North Korea was preparing for a nuclear war against its neighbour, South Korea. Now the two countries are preparing to walk under one flag at the winter Olympics in February. Who could have thought that Robert Mugabe would be displaced in the apparent peaceful way that it happened, and with this, a general positive feeling is now emanating from Zimbabwe.

All these events seems to be major waves in our day-to-day existence, but on a global stage, over a period of time, all things change, evolve and grow, and a new President today, is an old President tomorrow, a trending hashtag is soon forgotten.

2018 is not the first year of change. Every year, since even before Sapiens first stood on its hind legs, and traversed the mountains into Europe, has been characterised by change. Yes, we perceive change more deeply and personally now because of technology, and the speed and availability of information. We as individuals and companies need to be able to adapt with this change, and take hold of the opportunities we are presented with.

As a company we strive to challenge our staff, and suppliers, to ensure that our customers receive the best possible product, service and price, possible. Yes, we will miss some opportunities and we will have undocumented challenges, but come January 2019, we will look back a year, to now, with satisfaction that we grew, and that our customers grew, and that we had a very small part in changing the world around us.

So we as the Noag team wish you, our clients and family, our staff and suppliers, an 11 months to Xmas full of positive change, and fruitful opportunities.

More stuff about pools

I refer back to my post in February about pools, and what I am using to keep my pool bright and BLU52.
I am very impressed with BLU52. I am a loyal Pool Magic user, and it was with great apprehension that I decided to give BLU52 a go. Its slightly more expensive than the Pool Magic, but not enough not to try it.
I started to use BLU52, and then the rain came, and it stayed, and it didn’t stop for weeks. So my idea of comparing apples with apples didn’t seem to hold water. I can now say, that during all the rain, and my winter ineffective pool cleaning methods, my pool is still very much … blu.
It is as easy to use aIMG_7958s the Pool Magic and, despite challenging environmental circumstances, the BLU52 performed great. I would recommend it any day.
Now for the next few months I am going to use hth FLOATER +. Lets see how it goes.

 

Steel

Now that all the rain has stopped in the northern parts of South Africa, we can start with general maintenance in and around the house.

For me wood always gets the first and most attention, but this year I have decided to make sure that all the steel products gets as much attention. I have seen small bits of rust on most of my gates, and I want to get it sorted this year.

First and foremost it is necessary to understand why metal rusts. When bare metal, comes into contact with air and or water a chemical reaction takes place. This becomes evident on the surface of the metal through patches of rust, normally red in colour. This is commonly referred to as corrosion and thus the treatment against it, is anti-corrosion.

Now that we know what we are trying to sort out, we can start the preparation of the affected areas on the metal. Clean the metal with a steel brush and then some sanding paper, to ensure that all the rust or corrosion has been removed. Now you can apply an oxide on the bare steel. It is however important to know what was used on the steel previously. If an enamel based product was used, it is important to use an enamel primer or oxide, and if a water based product or acrylic was use, the same base product should be used.The main practical difference between most acrylics and oil paints is the inherent drying time.Oil paints may require the use of solvents such as mineral spirits or turpentine to thin the paint and clean up.

An enamel based paint is best applied during the warmest time of the day, allowing for the metal to expand, this will ensure that the enamel does not crack as the metal expands. As for acrylic, the recommendation is mid-morning.

Now for the cost of this maintenance project, a 5lt of acrylic oxide will set you back about R350-00 and the solvent based oxide only about R180-00, but if it is a new application, the recommendation is to use the acrylic oxide, because of its dynamic nature.

Something about wet treated timber.

We discussed CCA treatment as one of the first blogs, but I had a client who had issues surrounding the treatment, and I think it is wise to go through the issue, maybe just to clarify it to myself.

Firstly, CCA is a water based treatment impregnated into the wood through a vacuum process, strictly controlled and regulated by the SABS. During this process the CCA is pushed into the timber as a watery chemical. When the correct impregnation is achieved, thus the right amount of CCA for the application, the vacuum is opened and the timber removed from the steam pot – looking cylinder, and according to the regulating procedures, this timber needs to stay at the treatment plant for 24 hours before it is allowed to be collected.  

This is an important fact, because there is a high possibility that the treated timber that you buy might still be wet from the treatment, and as we mentioned in the earlier blog, timber is allowed to contract and expand, and with the timber still wet, it will contract with up to 10% of its current dimension.

As EVERYBODY in Gauteng knows, we have had a bit of rain of late, and with this amount of moisture in the air, the wet treated timber will take up to 4 weeks to dry and settle. There is nothing that can be done to speed up this process. The weight of the timber will also be significantly more than dry timber, thus making transport more expensive.

So, if you happened to have bought freshly treated CCA timber, remember to take into consideration that the timber will contract, and it might be wise to wait a little, until our weather has cleared up. Additional sealing of the timber, will also be futile, as the water will push the treatment off the wood, as it tries to escape into the atmosphere.

 

 

Winter is coming

Maybe I am jumping the gun a bit, but winter is coming, and I can’t wait! Red wine, snuggling next to a fire under a blanket, rugby, soups and Eskom threatening to put us all on load shedding schedule.

Well this year it will be less of an issue for me, because I decided to get a closed combustion fireplace. The allure of having a fireplace in the house has always appealed to me, but I don’t want the smell of the smoke, and the possibility of somebody falling into an open fire has always scared me away from fireplaces.

The threats from Eskom last year, and the few times the power did go off, pushed me over the edge, and I did some research. I wanted to heat up our living area and open plan kitchen which totalled about 70m2, without hanging myself with the electricity bill, and after getting quotes from various fireplace manufactures going up to R45 000 – 00, I decided on the BOSCA 360 manufactured by Megamaster, and of course bought at Noag’s for about R11 000 – 00 including the flue kit and insulation. This monster delivers 5.81kw/h (not sure what that means) and heats up 40m2 – 80m2.

The quality is great, and although it has not been cold, I decided to burn the fireplace, just to get a feel for it, and it gets very hot, very quickly. Firewood goes for R20-00 for 20kg and the guy’s recon I will use about two bags a week, but let’s see, I like red wine.

Fireplace are now, for me at least, a real option to beat Eskom and the winter. So come on June and July, come on Cheetahs, come on Bokke, I can’t wait!

Winter is coming

Maybe I am jumping the gun a bit, but winter is coming, and I can’t wait! Red wine, snuggling next to a fire under a blanket, rugby, soups and Eskom threatening to put us all on load shedding schedule.

Well this year it will be less of an issue for me, because I decided to get a closed combustion fireplace. The allure of having a fireplace in the house has always appealed to me, but I don’t want the smell of the smoke, and the possibility of somebody falling into an open fire has always scared me away from fireplaces.

The threats from Eskom last year, and the few times the power did go off, pushed me over the edge, and I did some research. I wanted to heat up our living area and open plan kitchen which totalled about 70m2, without hanging myself with the electricity bill, and after getting quotes from various fireplace manufactures going up to R45 000 – 00, I decided on the BOSCA 360 manufactured by Megamaster, and of course bought at Noag’s for about R11 000 – 00 including the flue kit and insulation. This monster delivers 5.81kw/h (not sure what that means) and heats up 40m2 – 80m2.

The quality is great, and although it has not been cold, I decided to burn the fireplace, just to get a feel for it, and it gets very hot, very quickly. Firewood goes for R20-00 for 20kg and the guy’s recon I will use about two bags a week, but let’s see, I like red wine.

Fireplace are now, for me at least, a real option to beat Eskom and the winter. So come on June and July, come on Cheetahs, come on Bokke, I can’t wait!

Stuff about pools.

To build a pool, or not to build a pool, that is a silly question.

ImageIn South Africa we are blessed with some of the greatest summers in the world, and having a pool on your premises can be a blessing and a curse. A pool needs constant attention and love. I think that most people, me included, don’t give the necessary attention to our pools.

I decided to start using various products on our shelves for six months at a time, to compare cost and ease of use. I am all about easy, and I have found a product that takes the work out of looking after your pool called Pool Magic All-In 1. Retailing for around R100-00 per container, which should last for a month, the cost is not too bad either.

It comes in a neat plastic container with 5 sachets, four weekly chlorine tablets, and one monthly sachet with various chemicals. It is easy to use, store, and my pool has never looked better. Now I am not your regular pool expert, but I can recommend this product to keep your pool in good condition, with little effort and at a good budget.

From February I will be using Blue 52, and I endeavor to report back in due time.

Summer damp

The first few summer afternoon showers has fallen in Jo’burg. The grass and trees are turning green. It’s a great time to be in Gauteng. This is also the time when roofs start leaking. Damage caused by the sun, hail and a lack of care, all contributing to a common problem.

The most frequent problem areas seems to be parapet walls and valleys, which guides the water off roofs. Even if a roof was properly sealed, and has not given any problems in years, the chances are that, at some stage, it needs to be resealed.

As with all recoating DIY projects, the most important step is the preparation of the surface that needs to sealed. As far as possible the surface needs to be stripped from old applications, because sealing on top of a problem will just create an even bigger problem. When preparing a parapet wall, the condition of the plaster needs to be assessed. A dusty, unsure plaster surface needs to be bonded, using a bonding liquid, such as Prominent Bonding Liquid, this should retail for around R185-00 / 5lt. When the surface of the parapet has dried, a simple application of Flash Harry Liquid Plastic, R260-00 / 5lt, will be sufficient. For the correct application of any product, please consult the container or the salesperson that helped you. Liquid Plastic needs to be applied horizontally and vertically, making a waterproof mesh on the parapet. It is also important to go down the wall, approximately 100mm each side, with the product that you choose to use. After curing for around 7 days, depending on the weather, the liquid plastic can be painted to match your exciting colour.

Although a damp parapet wall can seem to be a major issue, the solution is quite simple, and using the correct preparation methods and the right product will ensure that you can enjoy the summer in the pool, and not on the roof.

 

Treated timber

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As important as it is to seal a deck, furniture or any timber exposed to the elements, so important to use pre-treated timber for any outside project. A variety of treatments are available on the South African market, the most well-known would be CCA and creosot.

These products are used by saw millers, who treat the wood under pressure, to achieve impregnation of the wood by the chemical. These saw millers are registered treaters, and carry the SABS or SANS mark, which is displayed on the timber after it has been treated. We hold stock only of the CCA treated timber, as it is more user friendly than creosot. The CCA treated timber has a light green colour and is odourless, and creosote treated timber has the distinctive oil smell and is black in colour.

So why is this important if you are going to seal the timber in any case? Surface applied sealants has no penetration and needs to be redone often. They protect against weather elements and not against rot or termites. Treatments such as CCA impregnates the timber, and bonds with the fibres of the timber, protecting the timber against rot and termites.

It is important to ensure that you use the right treated timber for the right application. Make sure that the contractor that you use to install that new deck or lapa for the holidays, use treated timber, bought from a reputable reseller.