Acoustic barriers - steel or timber fence posts?

  1. The Advantages of Timber Posts
  2. When to Use Steel Posts
  3. Timber vs Steel
  4. Should You Use Timber or Steel Fence Posts?

At Jacksons, we’ve been manufacturing acoustic barriers since 2004. Our original reflective Jakoustic® barrier now comes in a range of variations, including 12k EnviroFence®, a lightweight version for light commercial and residential applications; an absorptive barrier for mainly industrial use and enclosed spaces; and a version specifically designed for heavy duty applications, tall heights, and for road applications.

You may not know that Jacksons Fencing was founded in 1947 and originally specialised purely in the supply and install of timber fencing until the 1980s. With the success of our timber fencing offering, which is more successful than ever today, the company branched out into manufacturing steel fencing and following that, acoustic barriers. With the combined knowledge and expertise in both timber and steel, we’re able to offer both timber and steel posts for our acoustic barriers. Read on to find out the reasons and applications for using each type of post for your acoustic barrier specification or installation.

Timber posts

We’re so confident in our Jakcure® timber preservative treatment process which we have refined and perfected over the years, that we are able to provide a 25 year guarantee on all our timber posts. This is no exception for the timber posts we use with our acoustic barrier systems.

For all heights up to 2000mm on our Jakoustic® Reflective, Absorptive, and 12k EnviroFence® barriers, they are supplied and installed with our unique tuning fork timber posts only. For heights above 2000mm and up to 3000mm the barriers are supplied and installed with the same tuning fork timber posts but with an additional steel spur support post.

Steel posts

For any height above 3000mm or for an application which deems steel posts necessary (next to a road for example), this is where our Jakoustic® Commercial and Highway barrier comes in. Installed on steel I-beams for all heights, Jakoustic Commercial and Highway is available in almost any height from 2000mm; the tallest barrier we’ve installed so far is 8000mm high. Jakoustic Commercial and Highway is available in both reflective and absorptive variants. We do not offer 12k EnviroFence above 3000mm high and this is where Jakoustic Commercial and Highway Reflective would be used instead to offer a similar appearance and method of reducing noise.

Timber posts vs steel posts for acoustic barriers

Both timber and steel posts offer varying benefits and outside of the reasons stated above (height and application), it often comes down to what has been specified or recommended by an acoustic consultant or even personal preference regarding which acoustic barrier system is required and therefore which posts you go for. Our acoustic fencing specialists are always on hand to help with any queries about which posts to choose. Even though we can categorically guarantee the longevity of our timber posts and provide a 25 year guarantee against all forms of wet and dry rot and insect attack, we know that many share the opinion that timber posts will rot and fail quickly. This is why we have spent so long refining our timber treatment process and offering the guarantee. When the right type of timber is correctly dried and treated for in ground purposes, there is no reason why it should fail because of rot or insect attack, which is unfortunately very common with many timber post offerings on the market. Generally, these posts have just been dip treated which means moisture can still get into the heart of the wood and cause it to fail, unlike our timber which is vacuum pressure treated. We have many customer projects about our treated timber products lasting much longer than the guaranteed 25 years.

Should I use steel or timber fence posts?

It depends on the height and application of your barrier, if your acoustic barrier is above 3000mm high, then you have no choice and must install it with steel posts for strength and stability. Installing such a tall structure incorrectly is a major safety hazard and could be a risk to life. If you are installing an acoustic fence below 3000mm then you can choose steel posts or timber tuning fork posts, unless the application specifically requires steel posts.

Our acoustic barriers with timber posts are cheaper when comparing the same heights with steel posts, so this is something to factor in. The timber posts used with our acoustic barriers are ‘tuning fork’ posts which means the boards thread through the tuning fork design and are then firmly sandwiched between the posts to create a structure which is as impermeable as possible. They are designed in proportion to the barrier height and offer sufficient support for barriers under 3000mm high.

Steel I-beams offer strength and help with wind loading for heavy duty applications or barriers above 3000mm high. Hot dip galvanised steel posts like ours are very long lasting and protected against rust and corrosion and there is no risk of breakage. Additionally, steel posts offer more security as they cannot easily be cut.

In terms of durability, both our timber and steel posts have the same length of guarantee. Both have their own set of environmental credentials as well – timber is a renewable material and over the 25 year guarantee period we provide with our timber posts, many new trees can be planted and grown to replace the ones used. On the other hand, galvanised steel is recyclable. During the treatment processes for both timber and steel, the excess preservative products are reused for following products – zinc that does not form a coating remains in the galvanising bath, and our Jakcure® treatment which does not make its way into the timber is reused for the next treatment cycle.

In terms of appearance, timber posts match the timber boards of the barrier and provide a more natural look from the rear of the fence which blends well into most environments. Steel posts add that industrial look on the rear of the fence which suits commercial and transport applications, however they can also be clad with timber to provide a more natural appearance. Additionally, when installing any of our acoustic barriers with steel posts, they are only visible on one side of the barrier; the other side looks like our Jakoustic® Reflective barrier with a complete timber façade.

Find out more about Acoustic?

Make an enquiry

Enquire Now
Use our comparison tool

Compare Acoustic Products

View Tool
Use our comparison tool

Compare Acoustic Products

View Tool

Related products

Jacksons Security has a range of products relating to this article, all complete with our 25 year service life guarantee. If you cannot find the item you are looking for, please do not hesitate to call our friendly sales team.

Related Content

Acoustic Case Studies

Related Case Studies

We have completed a large number of Acoustic projects in various sectors, from housing, retail, leisure and education, to hospitals and healthcare, transport, utilities, and high security CPNI sites. Discover more through our portfolio of Acoustic case studies.

Acoustic Blogs

Related Content

We have an extensive library of Acoustic blogs covering a wide selection of topics, whether you need a helpful guide for recognising accreditations, an understanding of different processes such as our unique timber treatment or UKCA marking regulations for noise barriers.

Contact Us

Need Help?

From design and manufacturing to supply and installation, we can help you with your project. If you'd like to discuss anything in this article or need information or guidance, please feel free to contact us at any stage to discuss your requirements.