Here in Australia, our buildings certainly face some pretty challenging weather conditions from extremes of heat and cold, to dust, rain, wind and hail. And it’s for this reason that COLORBOND® steel is assessed at outdoor sites around Australia, as well as in accelerated laboratory testing. COLORBOND® steel undergoes corrosion testing, durability testing, application testing (to ensure it can be used in a wide range of building and manufacturing applications, and with all the common building products used across the industry) and outdoor exposure testing. As part of the assessment program, there are over 12,000 panels on exposure across Australia, ranging from moderate to very severe marine environments, and from tropical to industrial locations.
BlueScope’s assessment program for COLORBOND® steel is designed to replicate building applications in actual Australian conditions. By recreating actual building applications – including varying pitches, profiles, product types and the inclusion of unwashed areas – BlueScope’s assessment regime exceeds Australian testing standards for steel building products, giving a genuine understanding of how COLORBOND® steel will perform on real homes.
In the 50 years since COLORBOND® steel first rolled off a paint-line in 1966, a great deal has changed. Not only has the colour range evolved, so too has the technology of COLORBOND® steel production. The most recent innovation, ACTIVATE® technology, was introduced in 2013, and BlueScope holds numerous patents on the technology, both in Australia and around the world. No wonder we’re now seeing COLORBOND® steel being used on anything from roofs and garages, to large commercial buildings like the Adelaide Velodrome and Melbourne’s Margaret Court Arena. Indeed, peoples' passion for COLORBOND® steel seems greater than ever; we see it being used not only on roofs, fences, walls, gutters and fascia, garage doors, sheds, carports but also all manner of home-made creations from letter boxes and statues, to cubby houses and Christmas Trees!
COLORBOND® steel is owned and manufactured by BlueScope, which was once a part of BHP and became an independent company listed on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) in 2002. To celebrate COLORBOND® steel’s 50th anniversary in 2016, new advertising has been developed to showcase the wonderful ways COLORBOND® steel has been used over the years around Australia. The tagline, The Colours of Australia since 1966™, reflects not just the simple truth that the COLORBOND® steel colour range is inspired by Australian colours, but is also a celebration of the spirit that has made Australia such a unique place to live and build….since 1966.
Manufactured in Australia to Australian Standards (AS1397 and AS/NZS 2728) and tested in some of the harshest Australian conditions over the last 50 years, genuine COLORBOND® steel is far more than just ‘paint on steel’.
- The steel base is manufactured to meet relevant Australian Standards, ensuring strict adherence to the required grade and strength.
- The base is then coated in BlueScope’s industry leading metallic coating incorporating Activate® technology*, to provide enhanced corrosion resistance.
- A thin pretreatment layer is applied to optimise the adhesion of further coatings.
- A corrosion inhibitive primer is baked onto the surface.
- A topcoat of specially developed, exterior grade paint is baked on to provide resistance to chipping, flaking and blistering and to ensure the finish retains its look for longer.
*Activate® technology is not available for COLORBOND® Intramax™ steel, and COLORBOND® steel products with a galvanised steel substrate.
Fifty years of Australian research and development has created a range of technologies that give genuine COLORBOND® steel its long lasting performance when subjected to some of the harshest Australian conditions. You can make sure you’re getting the genuine article by looking out for the COLORBOND® steel branding on the product, or its packaging.
For roofing and walling, check for the ink branding on the reverse side of the sheet. On fencing look for laser branding on either side of each panel; it appears at least three times in each 2.4 m section. For guttering, you can look on the inside for ink branding, and you will find the protective wrapping that your COLORBOND® steel arrives in, is branded too. Genuine COLORBOND® steel garage doors are ink branded. This is an edge brand on the reverse side of the sheeting with ‘COLORBOND® steel made by BlueScope’.
Whatever you are building with COLORBOND® steel, be it a new home, a shed or a fence, it pays to check that you are getting what you’ve paid for and that the materials used are going to live up to the task – especially if they are protecting your investment from the Australian elements, which put all building materials to the toughest of tests.
Sustainability: COLORBOND® steel is durable and resilient to Australia's harsh climate and its long life helps conserve resources and energy that may otherwise be invested in products with a shorter life span. All COLORBOND® steel contains recycled content and the steel in COLORBOND® steel is 100% recyclable. In some cases it can be reused without reprocessing, again saving on energy and resource use.
Thermal efficiency: Many people know that the colour of your roof can make a difference to your cooling bill and no less than five of the colours in the COLORBOND® steel range qualify as solar reflective (light coloured) roofing under the Green Star Communities tool. But there’s another way that COLORBOND® steel can help make your home more energy efficient. Every colour (except Night Sky®) in the standard COLORBOND® steel range features Thermatech® solar reflectance technology. Thermatech® technology is designed to reflect more of the sun's heat on hot, sunny days, which can mean less dependence on air-conditioning, plus reduced heat stress for your roof.
CORSTRIP® protective plastic film: Some COLORBOND® steel products are delivered with a plastic film called CORSTRIP® to protect the product from damage during transport and installation. CORSTRIP® is made from 100% low-density polyethylene (LDPE) and is suitable for recycling.
Consumers who purchase COLORBOND® steel with CORSTRIP® in a retail environment can recycle the plastic film via the national REDcycle Program. BlueScope partners with REDcycle to reduce the amount of plastic packaging going to landfill. The REDcycle Program recycles soft plastic items such as CORSTRIP® into items like indoor and outdoor furniture. REDcycle drop off points can be found here. Importantly the CORSTRIP® must be cut into smaller, A3 size pieces before returning.
For all building site applications you should contact the relevant waste provider in your area to discuss their requirements for recycling this type of material.
BlueScope continues to work on other potential solutions to facilitate additional CORSTRIP® recycling options and ultimately aims to introduce recycled content into CORSTRIP® in order to 'close the loop'.
Whether you live, or are planning to build in a bushfire prone area, or simply want to increase the bushfire performance afforded to your home, COLORBOND® steel can be a key part of your bushfire design solution. The CSIRO’s research and investigation into the performance of residential boundary fencing in bushfires (download here) found that "a steel fence offers greater protection to people's homes against bushfire than other alternative materials because of its non-combustibility"....Of the different materials tested, pre-painted and metallic coated sheet steel (in this case made from COLORBOND® steel) performed best under all exposure conditions and in particular when faced with a 30 minute flame immersion test used to stimulate potential effects of an adjacent house fire, which is common during bushfire events."
Roofing, walling, gutters and downpipes made from COLORBOND® steel may be used as part of a compliant system in bushfire prone areas, including in the most extreme, BAL-FZ (Bushfire Attack Level – Flame Zone) as defined in AS 3959:2018. In BAL-FZ “there is an extremely high risk of ember attack and burning debris ignited by windborne embers, and a likelihood of exposure to an extreme level of radiant heat and direct exposure to flames from the fire front.” (AS 3959:2018).
For more information on BlueScope Product Solutions for Bushfire areas, please visit: http://www.bluescopesteel.com.au/tools-and-resources/bushfire-design.
Simple maintenance of COLORBOND® steel by regular washing with clean, fresh water will not only prolong its life but also maintain its attractiveness for longer periods thus protecting your asset. Applications where the paint finish is naturally washed by rainwater do not usually require this maintenance, e.g. roofing. However, some areas such as wall cladding under eaves, the top of garage doors and the underside of eave gutters are often not washed by rainwater, and so require some attention. Ensure these ‘unwashed’ areas are hosed down at least every six months and more frequently in coastal areas where marine salt spray is prevalent, and in areas where high levels of industrial fallout occur. It is also important to ensure that there is no build-up of debris, such as soil and mulch against COLORBOND® steel products.
If cared for in this way, your building components made from COLORBOND® steel should give many years of easy maintenance life.
When you purchase COLORBOND® steel you are buying products made and backed by BlueScope, one of Australia’s largest manufacturers. BlueScope offers a variety of warranties subject to application and eligibility criteria. You can apply for a warranty using our online Warranty Management System at www.bluescopesteel.com.au/warranties To make things simpler, our warranty system provides the opportunity for specifiers, builders or installers to receive a pre-approved warranty if eligibility criteria are met. They can then give you the activation code in the pre-approved warranty and you then simply create an account in the system and activate your warranty with your unique activation code. Please ask your specifier, builder or installer if they can manage this for you.
If you are concerned about a COLORBOND® steel product, please contact us. Our team is there to answer any questions you may have and if the issue cannot be resolved over the phone they may send out a Consumer Query Form to be filled out. Filling out, and sending back, the Consumer Query Form gives BlueScope the required information to begin assessing the matter and, if appropriate, one of our Warranty Claims Specialists may be sent out to undertake a site inspection. To contact BlueScope regarding your warranty claim please call BlueScope Steel Direct on 1800 800 789 or email us at [email protected]