Being the most abundant and most used metal on Earth (and the third most abundant element after oxygen and silicon), aluminium is one incredible element. A lightweight, silvery-white metal, aluminium makes up roughly 1.59% of the Earth’s total mass. First isolated in 1825 by Danish physicist Hans Christian Ørsted, it would take another century (1954) before this newfound metal overtook copper as the world’s most used nonferrous (non-magnetic) metal. In 2013, for example, the annual production of aluminium exceeded 50,000,000 metric tons globally. Capable of binding with most other metals to improve specific properties, aluminium and its alloys are found everywhere, from aircraft to refrigerators, cans of drink, and of course, balustrades.
However, the aluminium used today bears little resemblance to pure aluminium’s soft and weak properties. By adding small amounts of silicon and iron to the mix, aluminium alloys become much harder and stronger while maintaining their ductility and malleable properties. Durable aluminium is engineered to last, looks great, and requires virtually no maintenance. That’s why intelligent homeowners and professional builders choose aluminium balustrades because they’ll stand the test of time.
Aluminium Balustrades Advantages
The Highest Safety & Durability Standards in the Industry.
Thanks to its physical chemistry, aluminium creates a protective layer that resists oxidation and corrosion. Also known as passivation, aluminium naturally forms a thin surface layer of aluminium oxide when it comes into contact with oxygen. The durability of aluminium makes it especially useful in coastal environments, pool areas and decking balustrades. Especially when compared to timber fences, which can be prone to rot, splinter or warp, meaning it can quickly go from safe to unsafe in just a few years. On the other hand, aluminium is naturally weatherproof, corrosion-resistant and impervious to UV rays and requires no polish, varnish or paint, when combined with a pre-powder coat. On the other hand, steel and timber handrails need to be painted after installation, impacting installation times. Speaking of installation...
Up To 80% Faster On-Site Installation
Lightweight and modular aluminium balustrades arrive fully preassembled for quick and straightforward assembly on-site, ensuring a professional fit and finish. Plus, thanks to the protective passivation layer, modifications and repairs can be completed much faster, unlike timber railings and handrails that require yearly maintenance or steel fences that must be welded both on and off-site for installation. Preassembled aluminium balustrades, for example, require little to no experience to install. Arriving prepackaged and easy to follow instructions, even the most junior home DIY-er can get it done. No qualified welders or carpenters are needed.
Strength, Flexibility & Elegance, Without The Weight
At roughly one-third the weight of steel and almost three times lighter than iron, aluminium has superior strength to weight ratio, making it well suited for fences and railings. Coupled with its flexibility, and you’ve got yourself one malleable material that can be shaped and moulded through a variety of metalwork processes like forging, casting, rolling and extrusion. Aluminium is the second most malleable element, offering unlimited potential for a range of projects. Aluminium inherent flexibility allows manufacturers to get creative with the look and finish of their balustrades. Offering several top rail styles, aluminium fences are not only more attractive but more robust than the competition.
Thanks to the growing use of aluminium beverage cans in the 1960s, aluminium recycling has become a vital task, making recycled aluminium a mainstay in the construction industry. The low melting and boiling points of aluminium make it highly ductile and easy to reuse and repurpose. The recycling process involves melting “scrap” aluminium, which requires only 5% of the energy used to make the original product. Incredibly, about 75% of the aluminium produced is still in use today.
Engineered & Approved By Australian Standards (AS 1170)
A well-engineered balustrade system should meet all relevant Australian Standards, notably AS 1170, which determines a structure’s ability to withstand gale-force winds. AS 1170 also regulates standards for the environment around the structure, the geometry of the frame, and the dynamic interaction of the design with the wind, making aluminium balustrades ideal for coastal and storm impacted areas. If you are planning to install aluminium balustrades in Australia, it is recommended to find a supplier that will meet the Australian Standards at no extra cost.
Building Code of Australia Compliance
Every builder in Australia must comply with the Building Code of Australia (BCA), which outlines the range of requirements for installing balustrades, stairs and handrails. Regardless of its location, all railings and fences must be compliant.
Legally, a handrail is required for any walkway, stairway, balcony or deck, where the floor level changes by more than 1000mm, including floor coverings like tiles, carpet or decking beams, an often overlooked variable. To combat this, it is recommended you shop for panels that come with a minimum height of 1050mm to comply with Australian standards and building regulations, giving builders about 50mm of leeway to work around. You can install even the thickest tiles and carpet without compromising the effectiveness and safety of the handrail.
Aluminium Doesn’t Burn
Yup, you read that correctly. Aluminium does not burn. Classed as a non-combustible construction material, you’ll need to crank up the temperature to around 600- 650°C to get aluminium to melt. It doesn’t even release harmful gasses when heated, making it a safer alternative for everyone involved. Better yet, thanks to its thermal efficiency, unpainted aluminium can reduce heat transmission by up to 9.50°C, which means less heat bouncing around when you’re sitting out on the patio in summer.
Thanks to aluminium’s lightweight and durable properties, balustrade companies are able to offer effective lifetime guarantees. ULTRALOX INTERLOCKING® TECHNOLOGY, for example, offers a 20-year limited warranty that ensures its railings are free from manufacturing defects, and covers cracking, peeling and blistering. Available in many styles, colours and configurations, including picket and glass infill options, with either a post-to-post or continuous top rail configuration, there’s really no better options available for your aluminium balustrade.