If you’re building on or near the Coast, extra precautions need to be taken as the salt water and salt in the air will react with many building materials; here we are focusing on the metal brackets and fixings for timber construction.

For sure in this day and age, with all the regulation and compliance, your new home should be built correctly. We aren’t saying it won’t be! But unfortunately we see and hear a lot when things go wrong!

Stainless Steel Timber Connectors should be used in all areas that are exposed to salt environment. Being exposed in a coastal environment, ordinary galvanised brackets tend to corrode at a faster rate compared to Stainless Steel. This not only results in structural problems but also the rust looks very unsightly. Sea salt can be carried in the air, so depending on your proximity to the sea, stainless steel should be used in any area that could potentially come in contact with air borne salt.

Another thing to bear in mind is that the salt attack can happen further inland that you might imagine!  From researching many articles, our basic recommendation is that it should be used up to 5 kms from the coast. However wind borne salt in some areas and circumstances may reach much further inland. We refer you to a chart later in this article which will help you identify the type of environment your home is located in.

In this article we have listed 3 questions you should ask and confirm with your architect and builder when your coastal home is built:

  1. Are all materials being used/specified suitable for Coastal applications?
  2. Are all exposed building brackets being used Stainless Steel rather than Galvanised?
  3. Have the correct Stainless Steel products been allowed for in the budget?

First of all, identify if your home is in a Coastal Area?  We have made this super easy to determine, our Timber Connector Specification Icons and Area Usage Chart assists with identifying the type of local area or environment. We also have a coordinating chart which gives a visual guide as to which products should be used in proximity to different environmental factors.

Why should you ensure stainless steel is specified and used?  To explain; while galvanised brackets won’t succumb to corrosion immediately, the effect can be seen over time, as it corrodes at a faster rate, especially in exposed applications (please note here that exposed doesn’t necessarily mean you can see the brackets, this is particularly applicable for decking applications)  Corrosion, while it looks unsightly, also degrades the structural integrity of your deck or home and will have to have remedial/replacement work done much sooner. While galvanised brackets and fixings are cheaper, in the long term the cost of repair work will be higher than the additional cost of using stainless steel in the first place!

Why are we telling you to confirm and check this with your builder and architect?  While an architect should specify the correct products, Stainless Steel Timber Connectors and Fixings aren’t always easy for the builders to source. It is more expensive and many trade and hardware stores don’t stock these items as they are slower moving lines and concern as to items being mistakenly sold for lower priced galvanised equivalents.  This is understandable, but it doesn’t help the builder who needs to be installing stainless steel brackets in your new home!  We know of instances where Stainless Steel has even been specified but due to time constraints and lack of availability, the builder has just gone ahead and used galvanised brackets.

The solution?  Here at VUETRADE we stock a full range of stainless steel building brackets. If a builder needs stainless steel, simply contact us direct and we can advise their closest stockist. If we don’t have a stockist in the area, we can ship direct to site or to a local trade store for collection.  We make it as easy as possible.  The builder can give us the order for exactly what they need, we will send the builder a quote, send our nearest distributor a copy of the quote and the details for the builder, once the order and payment arrangements are confirmed we ship the goods.  There is no excuse for your builder to not install Stainless Steel. For some post supports we do have to produce to order, so in these instances we do need to allow a 2-3 weeks production time.

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