When you think back to the days of mud brick houses and giant masonry stones, today’s building materials have come an extraordinarily long way. The designs of today incorporate the new age of synthetics, and for most architects, their use is a dream come true.
Plastics are quickly taking over from the traditional embellishments of wood and glass. At the top of the popularity pile sits acrylic – a unique combination of properties that have facilitated its introduction in many applications typical of glass. These properties include:
- Resistance to corrosion,
- High light transmission rate,
- Resistance to weathering,
- Low thermal conductivity,
- Distinct aesthetic appeal, and
- Easy assembly.
In addition, acrylic properties include:
- Easy formability,
- Mechanical strength,
- Resistance to shock,
- Resistance to UV damage,
- High heat tolerance,
- Reduced risk of shattering, and
While glass has been a valuable tool in the building industry, these added properties make it clear to see why acrylic is a safer, more economical solution.
In a nutshell, acrylic is far lighter, tougher, and more easily moulded than glass, and the higher refraction of light allows for more accurate images. The lightness of acrylic keeps transportation and assembly costs low, and its ability to be thermoformed means that even the most complex shapes are achievable.
Let’s take a closer look at the main architectural benefits of using acrylic.
Insulation and security
Resistance to impact and the lightness of acrylic makes the material a great choice for windows and garage doors. In the case of shaped glazing, the use of acrylic is often the only viable option. Acrylic also offers 20% better thermal insulation than regular glass, and tinted acrylic sheet can reduce solar heat and the load of air conditioning.
In terms of security, thick acrylic sheets can be used to bullet or shatter proof windows in school zones and industrial areas.
An acrylic door or garage door panel offers various advantages over regular glass, such as weight, strength, and thermal insulation. It can easily be mounted to aluminium, wood, or metal frames.
An acrylic sheet is more than 50 percent lighter than regular glass, making it easier to handle, transport, and mount. As a result, installation costs are generally lower than those associated with glass.
Acrylic can support a lot of weight and is far stronger than it may appear. It can also withstand physical impact, and in terms of longevity, is more effective than varnished hardwood.
Acrylic is available in transparent, translucent, tinted, and opaque colours, in a variety of textured surface finishes. Acrylic can even be glazed, printed on, and metalised. The more choices in colour and finish means styling is made easier.
Acrylic can be used for a range of outdoor purposes, such as undercover walkways, stair railings, sheds, garage doors, lighting fixtures, and more. Resistant to sunlight, heat, low temperature, and fog, it’s ideal for elements exposed to the outdoors.
But it’s not only architects who are benefitting from the use of acrylic in their designs. Homeowners are also enjoying the many advantages of the material, some of which include:
Refraction of light
When light is passed through glass, it is often bent four times. With each bend the image becomes distorted, and the colour and position are no longer true. The thicker the piece of glass, the more apparent the problem. Acrylic on the other hand bends light just once or twice, allowing for a more accurate image. This makes acrylic ideal for uses such as doors and windows on garage.
Acrylic is generally unaffected by most household detergents and is virtually maintenance free.
Specially designed tinted acrylic can save on costs associated with heating and cooling. Acrylic can also be used to capture energy and is an ideal energy saving material.
Acrylic can be used in many different ways around the home, with its main uses being:
The strength of acrylic makes it a perfect choice for garage doors. Despite its glasslike qualities, acrylic garage doors offer impact resistance 250 times stronger than its fragile counterparts. Both UV stable and weather resistant, acrylic is also a superior noise barrier.
Acrylic sheeting is often used on pergola roofs to provide affordable protection from the elements. Though acrylic sheeting won’t be a source of shade, it can reduce harmful UV rays and block out rain, hail, and other falling materials, while still allowing in the light.
Modern architects are loving the introduction of underwater windows, and recognising how effective they can be when incorporated as a design feature. Acrylic windows can be used to filter light into the room, give a swimming pool an individual touch of style, or give a skylight a submerged effect.
For an oversized aquarium – think an aquatic feature wall – acrylic is the perfect material. Not only does acrylic provide the strength and flexibility required, it offers perfect transparency for a clear image of the fish inside.
Acrylic lends a modern approach to a staircase, and offers safety without obstructing the view. An acrylic railing can keep the open feel of a stairwell, perfect for open plan living.
The best way to cope with a natural disaster like a cyclone is to prepare your family and your home before crisis occurs. You may not have enough time to organise things or to think clearly during an emergency situation, so it’s important to be prepared well in advance. This guide contains some useful checklists and information to help you prepare for the cyclone season.
A cyclone is a violent storm that forms over warm tropical waters. It’s a system of winds rotating around a calm centre (also known as the ‘eye’) of low atmospheric pressure, and produces wind gusts of over 90 km/h. If these gusts reach 165-200 km/h, the cyclone becomes severe and can cause plenty of damage. It may even cause death or injury as a result of heavy flooding, falling buildings, and flying debris. Coastal regions have a higher risk of being hit by a cyclone.
Cyclones can also produce storm surges and storm tides. A storm surge is a rapid rise in sea level, up to several metres high and 50 km wide, that moves inland at a very fast speed. A storm tide is a combination of a storm surge and the normal ocean tide. If it’s high tide, the storm tide will be able to reach areas considered safe, with low-lying areas most at risk of being inundated.
Preparing for the cyclone season
The Australian cyclone season starts from November and ends in April. It’s important to prepare your family and home before the cyclone season starts, especially if you live in a cyclone-prone area. This will help reduce the amount of damages to your home, and ensure that your family stays safe.
Between May and October, here’s what you need to do to get your family and your home ready for the cyclone season:
Prepare your family
- Ask your local council if you live in an evacuation zone and if your home will be prone to storm surge or flooding
- Make a list of emergency contacts and place it somewhere that your family can see, e.g. on the fridge
- Get a friend or an interstate family member to be a point of contact if your family becomes separated during a cyclone
- Make sure all family members know how to tune into warnings, such as:
- Tuning in to your local radio and TV stations
- Logging on to the website of the Bureau of Meteorology
- Listening out for emergency alert messages that are sent to your phone
- Acting fast when warnings are issued and advice is given
- Find out which room in the house will provide better protection (e.g. the smallest room), and let everyone know where it is in the event that you need to seek shelter in your own home
- Ensure that at least one person knows first aid
- Make sure your family understands cyclones and the risks involved, as well as the community alert stages and the steps to be taken for each
- Develop a family cyclone plan, which should include emergency and evacuation plans. Review it on a yearly basis.
- Prepare emergency and evacuation kits, and tell your family where they’re stored
- Find out where your nearest welfare centre is
- Determine whether you and your family can relocate on your own during a cyclone or if you’ll require special assistance
- If you live in a low-lying area, find out where your family can relocate to on a safe high ground in the event of a storm surge/tide.
Prepare your pets
- If you have pets, figure out what to do with them during a cyclone as welfare centres cannot take in pets
- Decide whether your pets will relocate with your family or friends, or if you’ll keep them in the strongest part of your house with food and water
- Determine when to relocate your pets to ensure their safety and yours
- Update your pets’ tags and registrations so they can be properly identified if required
- Make sure your pets have extra food, water, and bedding.
Prepare your home
- Check if your home is built to cyclone standards by contacting your local council
- Make sure your home and contents insurance covers you for any cyclone damage, including cleaning up and removing debris after a cyclone
- Also ensure that you have enough car insurance cover and that it’s currently valid
- Check the condition of the walls and roof of your home, and fix loose tiles, eaves, gutters or roof screws, as well as corrosion, rotten timber and termite infestation
- Fit your glass windows and doors with shutters or metal screens
- Install a wind rated garage door, which can withstand the stresses of cyclone winds
- Install double locks on external doors, and ensure that all shutters and locks are working
- Trim overhanging branches and remove leaves and debris from gutters and downpipes
- Secure or remove any loose items around your home
- Store poisons and garden chemicals above ground level
- Find out if there are any indoor items you’ll need to raise or empty out if there’s going to be a flood
- Make your own sandbags in the case of flooding (you can fill up plastic bags, pillow cases, or stockings with sand)
- Replace carpet with tiles or another floor material
- Know where and how to switch off the main supply for electricity, gas, and water
- Use a licensed contractor to relocate power points to above previous flood levels
- Have a professional builder check your home and identify ways to increase its structural security to withstand strong winds.
Prepare emergency and evacuation kits
An emergency and evacuation kit can ensure your family’s survival, whether you seek shelter at home or relocate to a safer place. Prepare a kit before the start of the cyclone season with the following items:
- Portable battery-operated radio
- Waterproof torch
- Spare batteries for your radio and torch
- First aid kit with a manual
- Medications, toiletries, and sanitary supplies
- Special items for infants and the elderly, injured, or disabled
- Strong waterproof containers or sealable plastic bags for important documents (e.g. wills, certificates and passports), as well as cash
- Emergency contact numbers
- Spare keys for the car and house
- Change of clothes for each person, including sturdy gloves and shoes, and waterproof ponchos
- Basic toolkit that includes hammers, nails, and timber strips
- Masking tape for windows
- Strong waterproof plastic bags for storing items
- Candles and matches
- Fuel lamp
- Combination pocket knife
- Tent or tarpaulin
- Sleeping bags, blankets, pillows, and towels
- Extra supply of fuel for your car
- Pet food, water, and equipment
- Non-perishable food (e.g. canned or dried food), and 3 days worth of fresh water for each person
- Can opener, cooking gear, and eating utensils
- Portable gas stove or barbecue, and fuel for cooking
- Water containers to store washing and cooking water
- Pen and paper for communicating during a noisy cyclone
- Books, games, and cards to help pass the time.
If it looks like you’re going to be hit by a cyclone, add to this kit your mobile phone and charger, and your credit and debit cards (items which you will likely need to keep on you throughout the season!).
Create an emergency contact list
You should have emergency contact numbers for the following:
- Police, fire, and ambulance (for life-threatening emergencies): 000
- State Emergency Service (SES) assistance: 132 500
- Local GP or doctor’s surgery
- Local hospital and/or veterinary hospital
- Interstate family contact
- Work numbers
- Local council
- Electricity provider
- Local primary or high school
- Insurance company.
Other useful information
- The Bureau of Meteorology issues a cyclone watch when gales or stronger winds are expected to hit within 24-48 hours. A cyclone warning is issued when gales or stronger winds are expected to hit within 24 hours.
- The Standard Emergency Warning Signal (SEWS) is issued when a cyclone is expected to hit within 12 hours.
- You need to listen carefully for community alerts and do what they say to ensure your safety. There are four stages of alerts:
- Blue – Get ready and prepare for cyclonic weather
- Yellow – Prepare for the arrival of a cyclone and get ready to seek shelter
- Red – Seek shelter from the cyclone immediately
- All clear – The cyclone has passed but be careful around any damages.
- Here’s where you can find more information:
- Bureau of Meteorology website (for weather and cyclone forecasts)
- Emergency Management website
- Your local council’s website for information on the cyclone, evacuation centres and routines, and assistance for afterwards
- ABC radio and other local media
- Bureau of Meteorology cyclone warning advice line: 1300 659 210
Here at Steel-Line, we have always been passionate about providing our customers with the very latest in housing design trends. Steel-Line Garage Doors are pleased to announce today the release of two new DecoWood® colours: American Oak and Wenge.
We will discontinue two low ranking colours being Snow Gum and Rose Mahogany.
Note: they will still be available to order until stocks run out.
The DecoWood® garage door is ideal for coastal properties and bushfire prone areas. It is made from BlueScope® steel, which is an incredibly versatile material, preferred by builders and designers alike for its strength, durability, flexibility, lightness and corrosion-resistance.
DecoWood® features include:
- Durable marine grade powder coating for aluminium or coated steel
- Low-maintenance, no rotting
- Completely impervious to termites
- No warping, splitting or shrinking
- Environmentally friendly
- Stylish and durable
- Nine great colours at an affordable price
There are so many reasons why a Steel-Line DecoWood® timber look sectional garage door is a great alternative to a timber garage door for your garage.
There’s no doubt that a real timber garage door looks terrific. However a timber garage door is generally very costly in terms of both time and money. Depending on the size and type of timber, it’s highly unlikely to see any change from $5,000 for this type of garage door. Consider also the ongoing maintenance required for a timber door in terms of frequent cleaning and re-applying protective coatings every 12 to 18 months. If protective coatings aren’t reapplied frequently, then preparation time and costs continue to mount. For example, if the protective coating begins to peel or the timber fades, the garage door will need to be sanded and any dents, holes and other imperfections filled before applying the coating.
Add to this the potential for the timber to warp, rot, split and the fact that that timber is susceptible to termites and borers and is highly combustible and you can see why although a timber garage door looks great, there are many disadvantages in owning one.
Consider on the other hand a DecoWood® sectional garage door only available from Steel-Line Garage Doors. A garage door made from Australian-made steel and due to the unique two-stage photo-imaging and powder coating process, virtually impossible to pick the difference when compared with a timber garage door. Just like a real timber garage door, your DecoWood® garage door also looks terrific because it really does look like real timber!
Your DecoWood® garage door has many additional advantages over timber because it won’t warp, rot or split, is not combustible is not affected by termites or borers and is guaranteed against fading for years. Forget all the preparation time and effort that comes with maintaining a real timber garage door. All that’s required to maintain your DecoWood® garage door is the occasional wash down with warm soapy water and hose off. Combined with the fact that your DecoWood® garage door is significantly cheaper to purchase than a timber garage door, there really is no comparison. Before spending a mountain of money on a real timber door which could cost you more and more in time and money after your purchase, seriously consider a DecoWood® sectional garage door by Steel-Line Garage Doors.
Australia is a great place to live. However, every year from November to April, cyclones affect the eastern, northern and western coastlines, so whether you live in the city or the rural area, learning to protect yourself, your family and your property from cyclones can assist in minimising the potential losses and trauma that you might suffer.
Roller doors damaged after being hit by cyclone. Source: Cyclone Testing Station, JCU.
A number of studies have discovered one of the common failures during cyclone event was disengagement of roller doors from their tracks. This left the door curtain free to flap in the opening and allowed wind and water to enter the house, which caused the roof and walls to fail. On some buildings, the change in internal pressure caused other damage to the structure. Failure through buckling of sectional garage doors was also observed.
In 2012, the Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB) changed the regulations to make garage doors more resistant to severe wind damage. This work has resulted in a very good understanding of effective garage door design to resist severe tropical cyclones.
So in repairing and rebuilding after wind damage, it is important that the current codes and standards are followed. In cyclone areas it is not possible to predict whether an element will be on a windward, leeward or side face, so all building elements must be able to perform regardless of the wind direction.
As the largest point of entry, your garage door offers the largest opportunity for high-pressure destruction. When selecting a rolling door, ask for products that are specified to resist the design wind speed for your house location. These garage doors have wind locks or other braces to help resist the wind loads. This will give your house the best chance of performing well and safeguarding the lives of you and your family during these types of events in the future.
You need to ensure that your builder is aware and understands mandatory design standards for wind loads as required by current Australian law.
To reduce the risk, it is recommended that you install garage doors that are adequately wind and debris rated.
Steel-Line Cyclone Garage Doors are designed to protect your family and property:
· Stringently tested to meet wind load requirements
· Reinforced hardware throughout product
· Lasting durability
· Eye-catching curb appeal
· Trouble-free performance
· Various design options to meet size requirements