Living near the ocean in Perth can mean a lot of things: beautiful views, beach time, water sports and lots of sunshine. However, it can also mean salty air, intense storms and extra wear and tear on your property. For those living in Perth’s Western Suburbs, the coastal climate means intense solar rays in hot summers and sea winds in the winter.
As one of the leading Fencing Contractors in Perth, we come across the same issues and questions from many residents of the Western Suburbs. Whether it’s in Cottesloe, Hillarys, Fremantle, Coogee, Scarborough etc. many homeowners have trouble maintaining their fencing, often employing us to replace worn out timber fencing with our aluminium products that can better withstand the climate.
When you’re installing or repairing a fence or gate, it’s important to consider how the environment you live in might affect it. When choosing a fence or gate, you have several options available to you as far as materials, with the main ones being steel, aluminium and timber. Here we look at what special care needs to be taken to protect your fencing and gates in coastal suburbs.
Tubular Steel Fencing & Gate Treatments for Coastal Homes
Tubular steel is a great option when compared with solid steel; it’s a lot more affordable and lightweight, but it still offers the strength of steel and can stand up to the strong storms and winds on the coast. Steel as a raw material does tend to rust, particularly is salty sea air, so if opting for steel it’s important to check with your fencing contractor how they treat their steel to make it weather-proof.
Galvanised & Stainless Steel
At Fencemakers, for example, we use Australian pre-galvanised steel, a treatment which strengthens steel and makes it rust-proof to protect it against the sea air, tough winter winds, and heavy rain and humidity. Another important question to ask is whether the welds, hinges, screws and other small parts are also stainless steel, as scrimping on these small elements can weaken the whole structure.
Pre-Treatment & Powder-Coating
While you can certainly use normal outdoor paint to colour steel fencing, for seaside locations it is better to use powder-coating to colour and protect steel.
Before coating, the steel must undergo a pre-treatment to really ensure longevity. Fencemakers uses a multi-stage zinc phosphate pre-treatment for our fence and gate steel. We then finish the steel with powder-coated colours that bond tightly to the fence, meaning the colour won’t flake away and you won’t need to re-paint the fence after a few seasons.
Aluminium Fencing & Gate Treatments for Coastal Homes
Aluminium has a lot of great, weather resistant qualities as a raw material without any additional treatments:
- Aluminium is rarely affected by corrosion
- It has a natural anti-rust property
- It can stand up to hot, summer, coastal sun and UV rays
- It holds up against rain and winds
- It doesn’t warp
There is little to no maintenance required to keep an aluminium fence or gate in coastal areas.
Pre-Treatment & Powder-Coating
As with Steel fencing, however, if you want extra protection, as well as the option of colouring your aluminium fencing it’s best to use pre-treatments and powder-coating, rather than paint that will flake away.
The powder-coating process is the same for aluminium as for steel, except for the type of pre-treatment that is recommended. For aluminium it’s better to use a chromate pre-treatment.
Timber fencing and gates do not hold up well to the coastal weather without consistent upkeep – re-painting, varnishing and protective coatings at least twice a year and regular checks for warping and loose screws and hinges. If you currently have a timber fence at your maritime home and find the upkeep to be too time consuming it would be best to switch to aluminium when the time comes to replace.
You can still retain a timber or picket look with fencing products like ‘smartwood’ or aluminium pickets. These are made of aluminium slats that mimic the shape of timber, with a powder-coated finish that gives the appearance of wood or white picket.