What goes into the humble spigot, the key piece of the beloved frameless glass fence that’s a must have for any serious pool design or modern balustrade? Technology!
Decades of iterative design, advanced material science and solid engineering have combined into a cost-effective, stylish and long-lasting product that you can count on to endure the relentless Australian lifestyle and weather.
Let’s take a closer look at these little marvels:
So what’s the most important consideration when selecting your spigots for your new glass fence? It’s not price. That is a secondary and potentially deciding factor, however the stainless-steel grade and the engineering design are far more important in the long run. If the material and design are at the highest standard, you can be gauranteed that your glass barrier will withstand everything that is thrown at it for many years to come.
1. Material Selection
There are 3 main grades of stainless steel used for pool fencing and balustrade spigots.
- 304 – High nickle content allows for a high resistance to corrosion or rust.
- 316 or marine grade – Great resistance to chemicals and chlorides, such as salt. Very capable and used for a host of fencing hardware, from handrails to hinges.
- Duplex 2205 – The pick of the bunch when it comes to spigots. 2205 stainless has even more corrosion resistance than 316 yet it is stronger and responds better to stresses and applied forces – perfect for frameless glass pool fencing and balustrade. In effect, your fence will enjoy a longer lifespan while maintaining a near-perfect finish.
- Regular or unknown steel grade – Get ready for ongoing problems and maintenance. These are the cheap spigots you will find and often result in replacement and red cheeks.
- Composite – These spigots are usually a blend of strong plastics that are lightweight and are electrically insulating. See more about these below in the ‘Earthing Your Spigots’ section.
2. Engineering and Documentation
The most advanced materials won’t count for much unless they are shaped in such a way as to overcome the demands of the application. Whether your spigots are to be used for a backyard pool fence barrier or on a high-rise building, it’s extremely important to have a spigot that has benefitted from a long history of iteration and been subjected to stringent regulations, engineering and simulation. This is where you will need to talk with your builder or supplier.
- Council forms with thorough engineering attached
- Testing reports
- ABN of supplier
- Warrantee terms
It’s extremely important to find proof of attention to detail. Spigots are the key to a safe and dependable frameless glass fence. Ideally, find a supplier that has been selling and specialising in spigots for a long time and has garnered a good reputation. Ask them about their guarantees, engineering documents and scrutinise the proposed forms.
What council forms will you need? You or your builder will be required to be submit documents to certifiers to prove that the products used in construction meet Australian standards and are part of an engineered system.
3. Finishes & Colours
Okay, once you have done all of the boring homework, it’s time to have some fun! There are multiple styles, colours and finishes to chose from that will help make your fence picture perfect, stand out and match your personal style. What will you choose? Round profile polished (chrome), a sophisticated square profile ebony, or a delightful flanged white to compliment your Hamptons styling?
There are 2 common spigot finishes and 3 main colors that are readily available in Australia:
Polished Stainless Steel (Chrome)
A classic that’s as iconic as the frameless glass fence itself.
Satin or Brushed Stainless Steel
A classy look that has minimal reflections, but can be prone to tea-staining
Black Powder Coat
Has become extremely popular over the last 5 years and compliments many settings. Matches a lot of tile and pebble-crete designs.
Silver Powder Coat
Silver was once very popular and still has its fans. May be due for a comeback.
White Powder Coat
Has become a favourite in recent years and is the only choice in certain settings.
Often used for tap wear, this can look great but sometimes has inconsistent finishes. The brushed varieties are also prone to tea staining.
It’s also possible to have custom colors powder coated onto your spigots for an extra fee. Just make sure the supplier is using pre-treated surfaces to mitigate the risk of the paint peeling. Contact your supplier and see what they can do for you… you never know.
Beware! Some spigots that are priced too good to be true are of very low quality and can rust quickly while powder coating may peel off. If you end up with a dodgy product, it may not be possible to get documentation or refunds, making it difficult to resolve problems.
4. How the Spigot Looks
Spigots come in different shapes or profiles:
These are not entirely square, but have straight edges and luxurious bevels. They are the most popular and have some variability between suppliers. Make sure that suppliers aren’t cutting corners and the engineering matches the spigot.
The original spigots were cut and machined from a round bar, so round spigots were a given. Nowadays, spigots are cast and the round profile is an aesthetic choice. Somewhat slimmer profile and less ‘busy’.
Not as widely available, these spigots have a niche usage.
There are different types that are commonly used, depending on the desired method of fixing to various structures:
This flanged spigot is usually a 100mm round or square plate with 4-8 holes, allowing for multiple fixing points into decks or concrete. Check that your base-plated spigot comes with a raised cover plate to hide the screws/bolts.
This is the most common spigot that professional trades will use when installing glass fencing into concrete slabs. It requires a large hole to be core drilled into the concrete, and spigots will be set with a special HES grout.
Face-fixed, or side-mount
These spigots are extremely sturdy and commonly used to attach glass to the face of a deck, or side of a pool shell.
These usually have a hole through the shaft where a single bolt will fix to the surface. They have a small footprint and can be more cost effective. They are less common and may not be supplied as part of a complete engineered system.
5. Earthing Your Spigots
There is one final consideration. Do your spigots need to be earthed, or more easily, insulated? Any metal item within 1250mm of your pool will need to comply with standard AS/NZ 234.34.4. In times gone by, you would need an electrician to connect earth wires to each spigot adding large costs and more time to the installation. There are now other options:
– Composite spigots. Made of a type of plastic, they are light weight but usually larger than metal spigots. The finish on the surface is quite different and are not commonly used today.
– Composite covers. A plastic cover that slides on top of a metal spigot or clips together. Very popular at one stage when there were limited options.
– ToughCoat. A patented high-tech spigot that keeps the visual appeal of the spigot, if not outright improving it, while providing an electrically insulating layer. The coating is stronger and much more resistant to environmental factors than a standard powder coat. ToughCoat is also available in ultra clear to maintain a metallic finish.
To sum it up, the more information you have the better. Choose your spigots and suppliers wisely. Ask as many questions as possible and make sure the spigot quality is up to scratch. Good luck!
If it all seems a little bit confusing, simply insist on Toughcoat spigots for your next glass pool fencing project and heavy duty for your glass balustrades. They are premium spigots that have everything covered for any situation and will have you resting easy and enjoying the finished product without worry.
Toughcoat spigots need a special mention as they are packed full of technological advancements with a slew of features and benefits. The spigots not only come with the endearing and enduring ToughCoat coating, but include special inserts that provide an extra layer of protection, safety caps and an impressive 10 year warranty. They are batch tested, fittingly, at an internationally esteemed laboratory. View our ToughCoat range online.