Timber Houses, Building treated timber houses at the ocean

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Timber houses at the ocean is becoming a popular trend, most people prefer log cabins. A log cabin is a small log house, it is a less architecturally sophisticated structure, simple to construct , yet very modern and sustainable. Log cabins have an ancient history in Europe, and in America are often associated with first generation home building by settlers.

Construction with logs was described by Roman architect Vitruvius Pollio in his architectural treatise De Architectura. He noted that in Pontus (modern-day north eastern Turkey), dwellings were constructed by laying logs horizontally overtop of each other and filling in the gaps with “chips and mud”.

Historically log cabin construction has its roots in Scandinavia and Eastern Europe. Although their origin is uncertain, the first log structures were probably being built in Northern Europe by the Bronze Age (about 3500 BC). C. A.


3 Things You need to consider when building your wood house near the ocean

  1.  What kind of timber is suitable for construction.
  2. How much maintenance is needed after completion of building.
  3. How quick will the structure deteriorate because of insects and moisture.

Our sales team at Sabie Poles is experienced and understand customers’ concerns regarding quality and treatment of timber.  (Especially if customer is not familiar with timber and specifications).  We would recommend that – when you choose to live next to (or over the ocean) – you take time to choose a builder who is familiar with building with CCA pressure treated timber and Poles as well as cladding/decking and flooring.

Can I build with untreated timber and poles?

NO! Definitely not!  If timber is exposed to the elements of water/rain/sun/fungi, it is not recommended that you build with untreated timber or poles.

When building timber houses in close proximity of the ocean you need an extra strong treatment to withstand the saltwater.

Marine Timber is treated to H6 Hazard Class to provide protection against fungal and insect attack in a Marine situation.

What is suitable for building in/at sea water?

For marine applications (Hazard Class H6) a dual treatment of both CCA and Creosote is used. TANALITH  CCA  (Copper chrome arsenic)treatment offers comprehensive protection (medium to high risk) against wood boring insects, termites and fungal decay.


H2 CCA Class
  • Internal Applications like structural timber, flooring, panelling and more
H3 CCA Class
  • External Above Ground applications like fencing bearers, steps and cladding.
H4 CCA Class
  • In Ground Contact applications like Fencing poles, playground structures and decking
H5 CCA Class
  • Wet Soils or In-Water applications like retaining walls, jetties and walkways.
  • SABS inspects each individual order.
H6 CCA Class
  • For application in Sea Water like jetties, walkways and retaining walls.
  • SABS inspects each individual order

What does the H stand for?

H levels represent the level or degree of biological hazard that timber will be exposed to in a specified application. Marine piles (H6) are protected from entry of organisms at the ends due to the method of construction in that one end is embedded in the seabed whilst the other is above high tide range. If end entry were possible attack would occur in the unpenetrated inner heartwood of the logs.

Because piles are the load bearers of the walkways of you imber houses (or the jetties, or the main structure, onto which the cladded log cabin/house rests)– it is necessary to use the highest standard of CCA pressure treated H6 quality.

Treating poles and cladding and construction timber will eliminate and prolong the decay of your structure.

Wood is a natural material – even manufactured woods are essentially natural products – so they are all prone to a be attacked by environmental factors such as direct sun, rain, various types of fungi, and insects and high concentrated salt in seawater.


Fungi feed on wood and cause decay, mould and most sapwood stains. There are essentially two types of fungi: those that destroy the wood by decaying it, and those that stain it – sap-staining fungi. The latter is less of a problem as the wood’s strength is relatively unimpaired, but the staining looks unsightly.

Interesting facts about fungi

All fungi that grow on wood need a temperature range of between 10-30°C and thrive best in temperatures around 20-25°C. Fungi that destroy wood by causing its decay need the moisture content level to be in the 30% range. Fungi also need oxygen (which is why they cannot attack wood that is saturated) and they need food – the wood itself.

Covering of your cabin/house on the outside.

Building a log cabin/home with cladding and CCA pressure treated poles and timber can be tricky and costly, if you do not have reliable experienced builder.

Many areas have stringent setbacks and building requirements you’ll have to consider and work around. You also might be building on a sloped lot or have tree lines to contend with while situating the house to achieve the best views and most functional floor plan.  This is when you need the experience people that’s been in the Timber and Pole industry for a long time!

Fortunately, if you work with a log home building company, and reliable Timber Supplier like Sabie Poles who are experienced and knowledgeable about building on waterfront properties, you should be covered!

Cladding of frame

Cladding is the application of one material over another to provide a skin or layer. In construction, cladding is used to provide a degree of thermal insulation and weather resistance, and to improve the appearance of buildings.  Cladding can be made of any of a wide range of materials including wood, metal, brick, vinyl and composite materials that can include aluminium, wood, blends of cement and recycled polystyrene, wheat/rice straw fibres (Google Wikipedia)

What timber is used as cladding?

In South Africa we make use of Pine species for cladding.

SA Pine is actually not indigenous to South Africa, but was introduced many years ago. It is grown in plantations all over.   It has low bending and stiffness properties, while crushing strength and resistance to shock loads are low. Boards with a high density, with tight knots and no wane or bark is selected for cladding. Only the best construction grade material is selected for our profiled timber. We only use the best quality wood for timber houses.

Once the boards is planed into cladding the cladding gets pressure treated with CCA.

What size is cladding?

At Sabie Poles we specialize in

22mm thick x 102mm wide

32mm thick x 102mm wide

Once the main building is completed you might need a boathouse – or a garage or shed for the garden tools.  You can cover all these structures with CCA pressure treated cladding.  Remember that although building with timber is faster than building with bricks mistakes can be costly when you do not keep an eye out for the little building kremlins!

 A Wendy house build from our CCA pressure treated log cladding and timber will also add additional storage space for the garden tools – but who wants to work in the garden when you are living next to the ocean?

Wendy houses are constructed from the three primary materials wood, nutec, and steel or corrugated iron. Perhaps the most cost-effective building material, traditional wood has been used for decades to build Wendy houses.

Yes, We Export Timber To: Europe, Middle East and all the SADC countries

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Applications for log/timber cladding houses.

It’s recommended that you should always treat your new timber house with good quality, water-resistant wood treatment. Exterior wood oils and decking oils can offer additional protection if used over the top of a wood preservative. Wait for 24 to 48 hours before applying any oil-based products over the wood preservative.

  1. Can be left as it is – will have a greenish colour.
  2. Can be covered with Waxol

WAKSOL F is a mixture of waxy oils in hydrocarbons. … WAKSOL F is a dark greenish brown, wax-based water repellent. It is not soluble in water. WAKSOL F is compatible with oils, creosote and most other organic-based coatings applied to timber.

  • Paint
  • Stain/Varnish (Gerbrand gee Sabie poles se verwysing na hulle timberlife produkte)

For expert advise please contact our sales team at Sabie Poles!

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