Aluminium slats are the new trend in the world of fencing which is mostly attributed to their sleek and elegant design. They are highly diverse in their applications ranging from privacy panels, fence in-fill panels, bin and air-conditioning enclosures, entry gates and picket reproduction fencing. Aluminium slats are also perfect in wooden fence reconstruction due to the durability and longevity associated with aluminium as discussed in one of our previous posts, ‘Aluminium Fencing: Why it should be your next choice in fencing’.
However, there are certain specifics that many retail customers, builders, fencing contractors and even architects do not know about. These are things such as slat thickness, requirements for stiffeners and the necessity for powder coating applicators (also discussed in a previous post ‘The Importance of Powder Coating’).
The thickness of aluminium slats are one of the factors that has an effect on the ability to counteract dents, bending and cracking within application and contributes to the overall strength in application. These damages often occur by children playing sports and hitting or kicking balls against fences, severe weather conditions of wind and hail or simply due to people not being aware of their surroundings in public or private settings (such as birthday parties and social gatherings).
This is often overlooked or an unspecified characteristic by companies. The most structurally sound aluminium slats are 1.4mm (as the centre of the slats are hollow) thick in comparison to most products on the market being 1.2mm. Whilst this may seem insignificant, the difference of 0.2mm makes all the difference when dealing with such delicate measurements.
With this in mind, the entire range of ToughGuard20 aluminium slats are made to 1.4mm thickness in order to counteract (as much as practicable) the effects of potential damages which may result from the external stressors.
Other causes for structural failure resulting in bending of aluminium slats are the lack of stiffeners. Stiffeners are used to reinforce larger spans of aluminium slat fencing projects to counteract the possibilities of bending and cracking. Dimensions of stiffeners are usually 25x10mm in comparison to posts being 50x48mm, which allows for discretion and ensures the aesthetics of the fence are still present.
The structural integrity of aluminium slats should remain stable up to 2.1m of fencing before requiring a stiffer to reinforce the constructed fence. Stiffeners should be applied to your aluminium slat fencing projects within the following length dimensions:
- 2000mm-3000m – requires 1 stiffener panel
- 3000mm-4000mm – requires 2 stiffeners (alternatively using 1 post)
- 4000-5000mm – requires 2 posts
- > 5000mm – strengthened in a custom manner
If you’re unsure if you need a stiffener in your aluminium slat fencing project, it’s always safer to ask than risk avoidable damages to your fence. ToughGuard20 follow the protocol as mentioned above when implementing stiffeners in our aluminium slat manufacturing and production processes.
Another aspect of fencing quality assurance is the application of powder coating to fencing projects. Most damages towards fences occur due to minor instances such as scratching and flaking of the paint, rather than the structural integrity of the fence itself. This is where the importance of sourcing your fencing products from a manufacturer, retail store, builder or fencing contractor that has appropriate powder coating accreditations (such as with Dulux) lies as they can legally provide the relevant warranties associated with the powder coating applications.
It is often the case that people opt for a cheaper product which is likely imported assuming there is no difference. However, cheaper imported products CANNOT legally provide warranties to customers as they have not undergone the relevant process to become accredited in powder coating. These powder coated fences often deteriorate within a few years of application leaving fence owners in a world of trouble as they’ll have to either; refurbish the fence paint themselves, purchase a brand new fence, leave the fence as is, or remove the fence from their home.
When purchasing an aluminium slat fence, ensure that you are purchasing your fence from a Dulux powder coating accredited applicator to extend the life of your project. ToughGuard20 are Dulux certified and can offer warranties ranging from 10-30 years to guarantee longevity to fencing projects.
Take Home Message
In short, keep in mind these 3 things when purchasing an aluminium slat fence:
- Thickness of your slat is 1.4mm
- Stiffeners are applied to the aluminium slat fencing when fences exceed 2.1m
- Source your fence from an accredited Dulux powder coating applicator to receive 10-30 years powder coating warranties