I think when a person has decided to make a wooden pond structure in this instance, the next logical step is to research they style they are going to build so that they may further educate themselves in any of the idiosyncrasies that may revolve around their project.
I talk to a lot of people about wooden pond structure construction and because of the Internet they seem pretty informed. They know what shape the pond structure might be, they know where the structure will go and they even have a good list of support equipment necessary to run the wooden pond structure.
What they are usually missing is a good list of construction materials needed to actually build the unit. Sure they might know they need wood, glass and Pond Shield epoxy but after that anything else is typically of generic nature. So let’s talk about those briefly.
Wood – What kind of wood? Well there are two types of wood. There is hard wood and soft wood. A typical hard wood might be oak for instance and pine is a soft wood. What difference does that make, you ask?
Well the actual panels of the wooden pond structure can be made of soft wood like pine or fir plywood where the bracing might be made of a solid hard wood like oak or cherry. Of course a typical soft wood pine 2×4 is plenty strong if used correctly. Take a look at the Wooden Pond Structure article.
While we always recommend that sheets of hardy board concrete be used to line the inside of a wooden pond structure, they are not total necessary. They are more a very big safety measure. If you’re not going to use the concrete board, then the plywood you use should be of a wood that has a very tight grain.
Usually hard woods are tighter grained, but there are variances in all types of wood. The tighter the grain, the less swelling or misshapen (as the wood accidentally takes on water) problems you’ll likely experience. If the wood soaks up water, it can swell and becomes misshapen, which in turn can cause a delaminating of the coating that is applied.
Finally, make sure to use plywood that is an outdoor, marine grade. These grades of plywood are assembled with water resistant glue which will cause you less headaches later as well.
Concrete Board – This is usually called Hardy Board. There are two different types, one for shower pans and one for exterior siding. The Hardy board siding is the only one you should use for a wooden pond structure. The shower pan style is too rough and will only cause you to use more Pond Shield epoxy than you should have to.
If you do use concrete board in your wooden pond structure, then you’ll benefit mainly from removing the wood from and water barrier duty. The further the wood is from the water, the less trouble you’ll have with it. Now Pond Shield does stick to wood, but it sticks to concrete even better. This is why we recommend using Hardy board.
Adhesive – Adhesive, for what? Well if you plan to use Hardy board, you’ll need to glue it in place. I have always used Sika-Flex A1. It is a very strong construction adhesive that remains very flexible. This means that even if the wood portion of the structure moves, it will not effect the interior concrete board construction, which could have led to leaks.
Fiberglass – No matter what you build your wooden pond structure out of, you’ll need to run fiberglass matt along the seams. I recommend that you use 1.5 ounce chopped strand matt. The thickness of the fiberglass and the chopped strands tend to dissipate stress quite nicely.
Fasteners – Ok, get a big old bag of nails for this. No! I’m just kidding. Avoid using nails whenever possible. They just do not hold on like a screws will. Your choices of screws these days are a plenty. I always use something that is stainless steel first if I have the opportunity. The less corrosion your fasteners go through, the stronger your finished wooden pond structure will be.
I also use sheet rock style screws because they tend to really grab a lot better than typical wood screws. This is not to mention that they usually have a higher tensile strength too because of the way they are made.
Silicone – If you plan to have a viewing window in your wooden pond structure, then you’ll need to adhere it to the walls in some way. Silicone seems to be the best choice for that. Look for an aquarium safe silicone to use for this. You can usually find these online or at your local aquarium store.
Bulkhead Fittings – For wooden pond structures, these are the best way to get your plumbing through walls and floors. They are usually made of a schedule 40 or schedule 80 PVC. They are made up of three parts, a front have, a back half and a rubber gasket. The gasket will always be on the inside of the wooden pond structure.
Various Brackets – Depending on how you construct your wooden pond structure, you may or may not use metal brackets. If you do, be sure to use those that are galvanized at least. This added layer of corrosion protection that coats the steel will make them last a lot longer.
Coating – No matter which method of construction you use, you will have to coat the interior surface in order to waterproof it. Of course we manufacture the perfect coating for that purpose.
That is about all there is to the materials needed for a wooden pond structure. If anyone out there has any other material ideas, let me know.