Colorbond fencing dark grey backyard

Colorbond or Unicote? Which steel product should you use for your patio or fencing?

Colorbond has been a household name in building materials for years, but did you know there is another alternative just as good, if not better?

Unicote is increasingly becoming a popular choice for many Perth home patio and fencing builds, and after you’ve read this we think you’ll understand why.

When choosing patio or fencing material, you want a solution that will look great and perform well for years to come. So, what’s the difference between Colorbond and Unicote, and which should you choose for your next project? Let’s take a look at the two a bit more closely.

What is Colorbond made of?

Colorbond is a popular high quality coated steel roofing and fencing material made in Australia. It is lightweight and sturdy with a striking finish, versatile, long lasting and designed to withstand the toughest of weather conditions.

The steel base is made out of galvanised steel and treated with a zinc substrate that is attached to the steel. It is then treated with anti-corrosion and weather-resistant paint, which makes it ideal for outdoor use, and more importantly for our Aussie climate.

The steel undergoes rigorous testing for corrosion, durability application and outdoor exposure. There are over 12,000 panels on exposure for testing across Australia. The conditions range from moderate to very severe marine environments, to tropical and industrial locations. 

Learn more about what is the best patio roof material in our blog here

Colorbond fencing dark grey backyard

What makes Colorbond a trusted building material?

Colorbond is manufactured in Australia. It has been tested over the last 50 years for the harshest Australian conditions and offers 5 layers of protection against the elements:

1. Steel base – the base is manufactured to meet relevant Australian Standards with strict adherence to the required grade and strength.

2. Metallic coating – the steel base is then coated in a special metallic coating to ensure enhanced corrosion resistance.

3. Pre-treatment – a thin pre-treatment layer is applied to enhance the adhesion of further coatings.

4. Primer – a corrosion inhibitive primer is baked onto the next level.

5. Topcoat – a topcoat of specially developed, exterior grade paint with solar reflectance technology is baked onto the surface to provide resistance against chipping, flaking and blistering. This ensures a longer lasting finish.

It’s solid makeup means there is minimal maintenance required, and because the colour is bonded to the steel it doesn’t require repainting. Colorbond offers different profiles to allow customisation and with a palette of 22 colours to choose from, it can virtually suit any exterior colour scheme and style.

How does Colorbond steel differ to other imported steel materials?

There aren’t many products out there that have been built specifically for Australian conditions, and according to BlueScope Steel – the manufacturer of Colorbond, it is one of the most advanced steel products in the world. It may look just like powder coated steel, but the combination of anti-corrosion performance and high quality paint systems, makes Colorbond a superior choice.

What is Unicote?

Unicote is a premium quality pre-painted steel product that provides amazing design flexibility with colours to suit any Australian landscape. Like Colorbond, it has been tested and manufactured for Australian conditions.

Unicote is made using a hot-dipped aluminium / zinc alloy-coated steel substrate. The outer layer is a polyester topcoat, and using the latest infrared reflective pigments, it is baked onto a polyester primer. The result is an extremely durable paint system built to resist UV damage from Australia’s harsh sun, providing excellent colour and gloss retention.

Colorbond fencing light brown backyard

How does Unicote stack up?

Similar to Colorbond, Unicote undergoes independent testing to meet strict Australian Standards. Performance is testing ensure it is built to last:

– Scratch resistance – excellent scratch resistance. Testing includes needle scratch test with no marking of paint surface when a needle with up to a 2kg weight attached is drawn across it.

– Impact resistance – no loss of paint adhesion after a test piece is struck on the reverse side with a specified force.

– Bend test – no loss of adhesion or paint cracking when bent around a diameter equal to five times the thickness of the sheet.

– Heat resistance – suitable for continuous service up to 100ºC.

– Salt spray tested

– Humidity resistance

– Fire testing

– QUV resistance – durability of the coating system

There’s a colour for every home 

Unicote offers a choice of 7 different dynamic colours. The level of paint durability means you can be confident Unicote steel will not fade or discolour.

Unicote black steel boundary fencing

Benefits of Unicote compared to other building materials 

Surprisingly lightweight yet incredibly strong, Unicote steel offers impressive performance and reliability including:

– Low maintenance steel is naturally washed by rainwater and Unicote steel in particular, will keep its good looks and perform for many years. There is no need to worry about termites, rotting wood or potential fire damage.

– Storm resistance Unicote steel will not crack and is highly resistant to strong winds

– Thermal efficiency – steel does not store heat, so it cools down considerably faster than other building materials.

– Excellent water collection unlike other materials, Unicote steel doesn’t absorb water and allows for greater rainwater collection.

– Enhanced security As a roofing material, Unicote panels are securely screwed down on every batten giving you additional security.

In addition, some manufacturers use cheap inferior paint systems with ultra-violet unstable paint finishes. This washes away in the tough Aussie climate, which eventually seeps into your storm water systems and is not great for you or the environment!

Unicote or Colorbond?

When it comes to comparing the two building materials, there isn’t much that separates them. Unicote steel matches up with Colorbond against performance and durability, but the key difference you will find is Unicote is more affordable. It can be easily roll-formed to the profile of your choice at a very cost-effective price. 

So, if you’re looking for a cost effective solution for your fence or patio build, Unicote is the big winner and a great alternative to Colorbond. Ask for a quote and see for yourself. 

The fencing and patios Perth specialists

Want a material that works harder while making your life easier? If you’re building a fence or patio on your property, speak to Mackson – your local Perth patio and fence supplier. Our experts can install your patio or fence without a fuss, saving you time and money. Contact us today to get started.