Slats are thin horizontal plank-like objects attached to a square or rectangular frame. In appearance, slats and the surrounding frame look identical to window blinds. The essential difference between window blinds and slats is that while window blinds can be opened and closed, slats are fixed at a particular angle to allow some light and free movement of air. Short of dismantling it, the angle cannot be changed.
Traditional v/s Modern Slats
Traditionally, slats were made from cheap quality timber. While you can still obtain slats made from timber, the modern day slats are generally made from fibre, steel, toughened plastic, tin or aluminium. Timber as a material to build slats is not very popular in Australia for a variety of reasons:
- Even the cheapest timber can be quite expensive
- Timber requires anti-termite coating
- Timber requires regular maintenance
- Timber usually will not last beyond a few seasons
- In the event of a bush fire, investment in timber slats could be reduced to nothing.
Of all the raw materials mentioned (fibre, steel, toughened plastic, tin or aluminium), aluminium is most popular for outdoor slats. Aluminium is almost as strong as steel but is several times lighter and several times cheaper. Aluminium is easily to cut, drill into, press, bend or fabricate into a variety of objects, shapes and sizes. It is easily welded, bolted and even soldered.
Aluminium as raw material for slats
Aluminium is rust proof; weathers well and does not change shape or expand due to moisture or heat, has a high melting point and can usually withstand a bush fire. Oxidized aluminium will last a life time. During oxidization of aluminium, colours and patterns can be added. In fact, you could ask for strips that look like wooden planks.
Aluminium is therefore the raw material of choice in fabricating modern day slats. An aluminium slat is easy to fabricate and even easier to install. In fact, it can even be easily dismantled and relocated or reused elsewhere. Coated aluminium requires next to no maintenance (other than a once-a-week wash).
Modern day slats
The slats can be angled to whatever position you require and then fixed at that angle. You could also ask for slats with adjustable angles. These have a lever on the inside which can be pressed or raised to alter the angle of slats – a function that is identical to frosted glass windows fitted in bathrooms.
Indoor slats of the type used around swimming pools for example, tend to be made from fibre. These are even more light weight and cheaper than aluminium slats. Fibre is the material of choice for indoor slats because the objective usually is privacy rather than keeping pests and unauthorized people out.
So next time you need a fence around your property choose aluminium slats – they are maintenance free, economical, quickly setup and available in a variety of colours and patterns.
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