Coastal and beachfront properties often include a pool as part of the property, and pool fencing laws in Australia state that all homes with pools must have also include fencing that meets design regulations.
Because the conditions of coastal living are conducive to corrosion from salt air and a number of different weather patterns, there are many considerations that homeowners living close to the coast should consider. Below are some of the popular materials for pool fencing and what homeowners should consider when using these products in a coastal setting.
Timber Pool Fences
For timber pool fences comply with regulations they must not be scalable in any way. This makes it important that the timber pool fence designs does not include enough horizontal cross beams that could provide leverage into the pool area. To avoid this, rails must be at least 900mm apart so they cannot act as a step up into the pool area.
It's also worth ensuring that timber used is impregnated with a chemical treatment like CCAs or light organic solvent preservatives to resist fungal growth and termite damage. Timber fences are one of the most affordable fencing options but it's also important that any timber fence especially those along the coast exposed to coastal winds are fortified and posts secured deep in the ground.
Like all fences by the coast, additional concrete may need to be used to secure posts especially those in sandy soils. Timber fences are not recommended in cyclone-prone areas of northern Australia where more robust materials like steel are the strongest option.
Iron, steel and aluminium fences are a strong and robust material but when used in coastal areas they can quickly become victim to significant rust and corrosion due to the oxidation of metals. Stainless steel fences may be the best option, however they are expensive, so if they budget does not permit, all other metal product should be powder coated.
It's also advised that any steel fence products are regularly hosed off with fresh water at least once a month. There are a range of products for base coats, primers and epoxy top coats that can be used to protect aluminium and steel products with a protective barrier, before or after rust has materialised. A fence maker will be able to provide additional advice on an equivalent treatment which is a must have to ensure any metal fence product near the coast can resist rust and corrosion from salt air.
Glass pool fencing is increasingly popular for the discreet, sleek and luxury finish if offers. If framed options are used it is important any steel frames include non-corrosive materials and fastenings (such as powder coated or stainless steel products) are used. Also, because salt air leaves a cloudy film on glass this will undoubtedly affect the appearance of the glass.
To reduce cleaning and ensure they glass stays transparent, glass pool fences should be treated with a protective coating for most applications but particularly when used by the coast. Since glass is porous any untreated glass will absorbs contaminants making cleaning difficult and result in potential scratching to the surface. All homeowners using glass pool fencing should use a protective invisible liquid coating that creates a permanent bond. This will not only protect against salt air, but also bird droppings and dirt.
As explained above, installing a pool fence by the beach or any fence in coastal areas requires serious considerations of the choice of the material and how that material can be protected to withstand the unique environmental conditions of coastal areas. Always seek the best advice on your fence specialist who will be able to provide the best option based on your needs, the location of the property and your budget.