Frequently asked questions

Our products are custom made for your home, but here are some answers to common questions our home improvement specialists get regularly.

If you have a question that isn't answered here, feel free to contact our team of helpful HomePlus staff.

FAQ

What is a balustrade?

A balustrade is a safety barrier for preventing falls from decks, balconies, or staircases (and areas) that have a drop of 1+ metres.  They are also sometimes referred to as a handrail in NZ, although this is usually by architects or designers.  

Balustrades are technical by nature, but our network of designers, manufacturers, and installers have a lot of experience and can be relied on to get you a compliant, robust, and safe barrier that meets the NZ Building Code requirements. 

Where do I start when it comes to choosing a balustrade?

If you've never had to think about a balustrade before the choices can be surprisingly overwhelming and confusing.  But, the most important thing to always keep in mind is - Is this balustrade system compliant with all the relevant NZ building requirements. 

This gives you the greatest reassurance that it can be relied on for safety from falls and will give you many years of service.  HomePlus takes safety and compliance seriously and all the balustrades are designed and tested to exceed the highest NZ building standards, so not only can rely on them for safety but you know that their installers can be trusted to give you valid advice.  

Where is the balustrade going?

This is important for understanding which balustrade options we can offer you.

Common scenarios include: Decks, Stairways, Pool Fencing, and Barrier Fencing/Retaining Walls.  

Decks: The two most important things to think about are - Do you have a view and how significant is the deck in your overall home design?  If you have a view then you will want to keep that as clear as possible and glass panels for your balustrade are best.  If your deck is a large part of the homes' design then the style of balustrade is important for adding snazz to your deck and this is where unframed (no posts) glass panel balustrades are ideal.  

Stairways - Our balustrade systems are designed to be stair barriers as well so there are no limitations on getting the finished look you want for your place.  So you can choose a post and rail/glass or frameless glass balustrade finish or even just a handrail only (were applicable) custom-designed for your stairs.

Barrier Fencing/Retaining Walls - Pre-made balustrade systems are ideal for these large jobs which require safety barriers in outdoor settings such as retaining, although they are also a popular no-frills option for decks.  

How much balustrade do you need?

The size of the area you need to cover can really influence the type of balustrade you choose, especially when it is a large outdoor area. This is where experienced installers can help you to work out what is best for your project, often suggesting fitting a mixture of balustrade styles for the most cost effective solution. For example glass balustrades are perfect for areas where you want to keep the view clear and aluminium rail balustrades would be suitable for outdoor areas such as south facing decks or retaining walls.   

What is the style you are looking for?

An all-important consideration is what style of Balustrade you want for your home?  For many customers and architects, the choice of balustrade is easy, they stick to what they know which are the original aluminium post and glass balustrades for their range of styles that suit both modern and older style homes. However, the stunning modern looks of the frameless and semi-frameless glass balustrades are in demand particularly for the design statement they make on homes they are installed on.  

Can I use a balustrade as a pool fence?

Absolutely, so long as it complies with the NZ Building Code Clause F9/AS1 & section 162C, restricting access to unsupervised children around swimming pools (or other bodies of water) over 400mm deep.   

A range of HomePlus balustrade systems meet these requirements, so you are not restricted by a limited choice of pool fencing finishes.  You can choose an aluminium fence finish or glass panel fencing, or even a combination of both if you prefer. 

Your HomePlus balustrade dealer can help with advice on your pool fence requirements, both legal and aesthetic.

How safe are my balustrades, will they keep my family safe?

With over 20 years of experience in the design, manufacture, and installation of balustrades, HomePlus' balustrade systems can be trusted to not only meet safety requirements but to exceed them.  All the systems are tested and assessed by independent engineers to exceed the requirements of the AS/NZS 1170 Occupancy Type A, B, E, and C3.  

HomePlus balustrades have been installed in hundreds of NZ homes with great success, providing stylish safety barriers for decks 1 metre and above ground level and pool areas. 

Which type of balustrade should I choose - Aluminium or Glass and Aluminium?

It really depends on your personal preference and what is the best for your situation.  This is particularly true if you have a nice view and don't want anything to block it, which is where glass balustrades are ideal - keeping the view unobstructed whilst still providing a barrier. 

These days the widespread use and ready availability of toughened safety glass panels means an aluminium post and glass balustrade is virtually the same price as the aluminium post and rail (baluster) system, which was previously a lot cheaper.  With a slim minimalist handrail on top, these post and glass panel balustrades are one of our most popular barrier solutions with customers.   

Aluminium baluster balustrades, with rails fitted between the aluminium posts are still a great option though, particularly as they can be finished in powder coat colours to match the home's joinery for a cohesive design finish.  They are particularly popular as they have such low maintenance demands, only needing a regular wash down with soapy water and rinsing, which can be easily done when homeowners do their regular window cleaning.

Frameless glass balustrades are the ultimate in unobstructed barriers though, with clear toughened safety panels attached to decks by a range of aluminium fittings such as round discs etc.  However, as they require a thicker and heavier 12mm or 15mm toughened glass, which is a premium product, they are naturally a more costly option.  

Sometimes customers choose a mixture of balustrade styles to cover their bases, with a frameless glass balustrade on the deck where they look out onto a view and an aluminium post and glass balustrade on the side decks where the view is not so important.   

What about keeping the glass clean on glass balustrades?

Glass balustrades and windows have the same properties, so they gather dirt and have the same cleaning requirements as well. Balustrade glass can be added to your general cleaning schedule or included in your regular maintenance programme, which has to be undertaken as part of warranty requirements. The glass can be cleaned with soapy water or specialist glass cleaners that you would use for your home's windows.

Specialist coatings, provided by businesses throughout NZ, are available to protect the glass from the worst of the dirt.  Your balustrade installer should be able to help you with product recommendations.

Do I need a top rail on a glass balustrade?

Updates to the building regulations included the requirement for a top rail to be fitted on glass balustrades, providing a backup rail in case of glass panels breaking.  With these changes, a range of specially designed slim top rails and accessories were introduced to the HomePlus glass balustrade range.  Initially, both customers and installers were concerned about the visual impact a top rail would have on glass panels, in particular imagining that it be an obstruction to the clear view.  However, within a few months everyone was pleasantly surprised at the lack of impact it makes on the view. With interlinking rails and balustrade fixings finished in matching powder coat finishes, the rails tend to blend into the overall look.

However since these regulations were introduced a lot of work has gone into making a special laminated glass (which doesn't require top rails), more readily available for a completely frameless glass balustrade finish. This option is very popular with customers who have an amazing view that they want to enjoy without any obstructions such as a top rail. 

The area I need a balustrade for is a unique shape (or size), will that be a problem?

No, all our balustrades are custom made for each individual customer's project, they are measured, manufactured, colour coated, and installed to fit the area and so are suitable for most building applications.  This flexibility means customers can work with the balustrade dealer to get the look they really want for their individual home.  

Can I get a colour that matches my home's colour scheme?

With a choice of 43 standard colours and access to many more colours, most of our aluminium products can be finished in a colour that essentially matches a house's joinery, cladding, or roof colour.  Check with your dealer who will be able to help with colour options.

Do I need consent for a HomePlus Louvre Roof?

Always check with your local authority to confirm whether a consent is required. Every council has different rules for building jobs, but under schedule 1 of the Building Act, a porch or veranda structure up to 20m2 is allowed to be fitted without consent.  For larger structures, or where the work may affect the water tightness or structure of your existing building, consent may be required.

Can a louvre roof attach directly to my house?

Yes, but some are easier than others. If your home has large windows in the outdoor area there are often large lintels (wooden beams) above them that we can fasten onto.  With weatherboard and sheet cladding structures we can fasten into the studs (vertical timber supports), but a brick home sometimes requires your louvre roof to be supported off the roof structure.  Your HomePlus installer should discuss the implications of this with you, as additional roof areas can affect the structure as can fixings to the buildings' weather-tight envelope.  

Can I customise the louvre roof to a suit my house?

Yes, all HomePlus louvre roofs are fully customised to your requirements.

Can I have it in more than one colour?

Yes, if you want the louvres and frame in different colours we can do that.  This can help to incorporate it into existing building elements and materials.

Can we add drop down blinds or LED lighting later?

Yes, but it is more efficient to do this when placing your initial order, so we can manufacture them into the product.  If this is done later then we have to deconstruct large areas of the louvre roof, which results in high additional costs.  Adding them at the start is the best option, saving you money in the long run.
But, if it's not in the budget to do that initially, but you are likely to do it later, then let your dealer know as fittings can be incorporated in the initial manufacturing, which will greatly help when you fit the drop-down blinds or LED lighting later.

Is the HomePlus Outdoor Living System ok in areas that snow?

Yes, when developing the product we carried out rigorous testing to ensure that the product could withstand snow.

Where does the water from the HomePlus Louvre Roof drain to?

When you order your louvre roof we will ask you (if it’s a wall or freestanding series) which legs would you like the downpipes fitted in.  These will not be visible, but the rain from the roof will drain into these and through the outlet at the bottom.  Usually, the downpipe is fitted to the support leg that is closest to the stormwater drain, for direct connection.

Can I capture the water and use it later?

Yes, you can connect the downpipes into a water tank and store it for later use.  One advantage of the HomePlus Louvre Roof System is the powder-coated aluminium finish, which requires very little maintenance to keep it clean of lichen and animal faeces.  Meaning the water harvested is relatively clean compared to some roof coverings, but not fit for human consumption without some form of water treatment. 

What do wind and rain sensors do?

They can open close the louvre roof when it’s raining and pull up the drop-down screens when the wind speed is too high. You can talk to your local HomePlus dealer about the options and settings that are right for you. 

If an answer to your question is not here, get in touch with your local HomePlus NZ to talk to the experts.

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