Perth Summer Is Coming
As summer is fast approaching many families are contemplating installing a pool. Lets face it, nothing is as nice, as sitting back relaxing in the privacy of your own pool on a hot Perth summer day. One of the biggest decisions that need to be made is what type of fencing is best for your pool and backyard. Recently the West Australian undertook the challenge of deciphering what is out there on the Perth market to help with this decision.
Safety is paramount in the choice of swimming pool fencing. But there are also many style decisions to be made. Here, industry experts share their advice for selecting the most suitable surrounds for your pool.
Matt Gee, senior designer at Phase3 Landscape Construction, said all fencing options had their advantages and disadvantages.
“For example, a glass pool fence is considered a premium product but it is difficult to keep clean and is expensive. On the other hand, a powder-coated aluminium post and rail system is cost effective but can be unsightly if not integrated into a space properly,” he said.
Clear View Fencing’s Neill McLaren said there were three main types of pool barriers — tubular fencing, which was normally made from galvanised or powder-coated aluminium; semi-frameless glass with aluminium or stainless-steel full-height square or round posts; and fully frameless 12mm toughened safety glass with square or round spigots (mini posts).
Mr McLaren said fully frameless glass incurred higher costs due to the extra ground works required to free-stand the 40kg/m panels of glass.
However, the result was striking.
“If you’re after a quality pool fence to give you clear unobstructed views while adding style and value to your property, fully frameless glass pool fencing is the one to choose,” he said.
Perth Climate Considerations
There is a lot to consider when buying a pool fence, with safety at the top of the list, according to Mr McLaren.
He said it was important to find out whether the fencing met current Australian Standards and if the supplier prepared documentation and submissions for council approvals.
Mr Gee said the choice ultimately came down to budget and the suitability of a chosen fence in relation to the desired outcome. “For example, if a pool is to double as a feature or surveillance is a priority, then using fully frameless glass fencing is probably desirable as it gives an uninterrupted view,” he said.
“The choice of pool barrier should be made based on the characteristics of the project too. For example, if you want a modern, clean-lined space, it may be appropriate to choose a rectilinear-style fence with matching rails and posts.”
Barrier Reef Pools’ Brad Hilbert said people often chose a combination of glass and tubular fencing — glass for areas between the house and pool and tubular in areas not affecting the view — to save money.
Mr McLaren agreed, adding that combining barrier styles was a good way to save money in situations where pool owners wanted to screen areas.
He said not all fully frameless glass was the same quality, with differences in thickness, straightness and the quality of the spigots generally reflected in the price.
“While effective semi-frameless and tubular pool fencing systems may not add much — if any — value to a person’s backyard, a quality fully frameless pool fence will,” he said.
Mr Hilbert said fully frameless glass won out over semi-frameless fencing in most instances, mainly due to the price difference narrowing between the two. “The cost difference between the two is now much closer — fully frameless fencing was about 60-70 per cent more than semi but now it is closer to 20-30 per cent,” he said.
Mr McLaren said preventative maintenance of your pool fence should be a priority in both winter and summer.
“Most of the time it may just be as simple as giving the hinges a spray of Inox (stainless-steel lubricant) or similar, while harsher environments near the coast may need more regular maintenance,” he said.
“Glass pool fencing also requires upkeep and is not as bad as most people may think to keep clean. The worst thing you could do to your glass fence is to neglect it for long spells or allow sprinklers and salt build-up to stain and eat into the glass.
“Glass offers much more resistance to corrosion than most materials, however, periodic maintenance is required to avoid glass corrosion — try regular washing with water and a little dishwashing detergent.
“There are a lot of glass coatings available which reduce the cleaning time but upkeep is still required on coated glass as there are no products I am aware of that 100 per cent self-clean.”
DIY OR CALL THE EXPERTS?
Mr McLaren said cheaper styles of tubular fencing and semi-frameless glass were the easiest to install as the lines and heights of the fence were not as critical to the naked eye as opposed to fully frameless glass.
If retrofitting a fence to an existing pool area, Mr Gee said it was vital to ensure there were no climbable structures adjacent the pool fence.
“For peace of mind, the pool fence should be installed by a specialist contractor to ensure all considerations and regulations are met,” he said.
One of the final things to take into consideration are your actual intentions for your home. If you intend to reside in your home long term, then style choices can be all about you. On the flip side, if you are thinking about selling sometime, then you may need to consider the resale value of what you choose. Deciding on fencing that would appeal to a greater range of taste may be a wiser decision than going with a style that may poloarise people.