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Bollards- Types, Materials, Installation, and Applications

Have you ever wondered about those short posts you see in various places? Well, those are bollards, and they serve several purposes, from enhancing the aesthetics of a location to providing security measures. In this article, we will explore the different types of bollards, the materials used in their construction, their installation process, and their various applications.

Types of Bollards

Bollards come in various shapes and styles, each designed for a specific purpose. Let’s take a closer look at the different types of bollards:

1. Traffic Line or Street Bollards

These bollards are strategically placed to guide traffic and ensure clear sightlines. They help in creating roadway demarcation and preventing access to restricted areas such as bike lanes, public squares, and traffic islands.

2. Pedestrian Bollards

Pedestrian bollards are often used to define distinct pedestrian areas in landscapes and properties. They can be used to outline the perimeter of a building, adding architectural flair. Bollards are also employed in containing playgrounds or parks, allowing easy access while discouraging throughway usage. Additionally, they can be linked with chains to guide pedestrians along marked paths without creating a closed barrier.

3. Construction Bollards

Temporary bollards are used in roadway construction zones to define and protect work areas from traffic. These bollards are typically made of brightly colored plastic with reflective tape and sit on removable rubber bases. Placed closely together, they provide a continual visual edge to oncoming traffic.

4. Security Bollards

Security bollards serve as visual guides while providing resistance against vehicle impact. They are often made of steel and filled with concrete but can be designed to match the aesthetics of the surrounding area using paint or bollard covers.

5. Ram-Raid Bollards

Ram-raiding is a burglary technique where perpetrators drive a vehicle through closed shop windows or doors to quickly loot high-value items. Security bollards offer an affordable solution to prevent such incidents.

6. Bicycle Parking Bollards

Taking inspiration from marine bollards, bicycle parking bollards act as hitching posts for short-term bike lock-up. They typically feature two bike-locking arms circling a central post, with modern designs allowing u-locks or chains to pass through channels in the post.

Materials Used in the Construction of Bollards

Bollards can be made from a variety of materials, each offering different properties and aesthetics. Let’s explore the most common materials used:

1. Cast Iron Bollards

Cast iron is a popular material for traditionally-styled bollards. It is durable and adds a touch of ornamentation to architecture. Cast iron bollards are heavy enough to be used independently or as covers for steel-and-concrete security posts.

2. Steel Bollards

Steel is an alloy lighter and more impact resistant than cast or ductile iron. It is commonly used in security bollards, either filled with concrete or as decorative standalone bollards or covers.

3. Stainless Steel Bollards

Stainless steel bollards offer a sleek, contemporary look. They are highly weather-resistant and can be left in their natural silver-grey color or powder-coated to match the surroundings.

4. Concrete Bollards

Concrete can be used in conjunction with steel pipe bollards or on its own to create impact-resistant security bollards. Its imposing profile and weight make it an effective guide for traffic.

5. Aluminum Bollards

Aluminum bollards are lightweight and malleable, making them suitable for removable and decorative applications. They oxidize gracefully, creating a speckled patina that blends well with the surroundings.

6. Polyurethane Bollards

Polyurethane bollards are flexible, durable, and UV resistant. They are often used in parking lots and medians, offering a cost-effective solution where function takes priority over architectural style.

7. Plastic Bollards

Plastic bollards are commonly found in construction and parking applications due to their low cost and low maintenance requirements. Bollard covers made of plastic are also popular, offering durability and UV resistance.

8. Wood Bollards

Wood bollards are less common but can be used in wooded or park areas to blend in with the natural surroundings. Pressure-treated wood is often chosen for its weather resistance, while carved wood adds an artistic touch.

Installation of Bollards

Installing bollards requires careful planning and execution. Here is a step-by-step guide for installing bollards:

  1. Layout the desired location for the bollard placement and mark the ground at the center point.
  2. Dig a hole using a post hole digger. The hole’s diameter should be the same as the bollard’s diameter plus 6 inches, with a depth of 18 to 24 inches.
  3. Mix the concrete according to the manufacturer’s instructions, adding an extra 1/2-gallon of water for a slightly wetter mix.
  4. Insert the bollard into the hole and use a level to ensure it is plumb.
  5. Shovel the concrete mix into the hole around the bollard, tapping the bollard’s side with a rubber mallet or hammer to help pack the mix.
  6. Allow the concrete mix to cure for at least 48 hours before considering the bollard installation complete.

Application of Bollards

Bollards have become an essential part of the modern landscape, serving various purposes. Here are some common applications:

  • Managing pedestrian and vehicle traffic
  • Enhancing landscape and architectural design
  • Lighting pedestrian pathways
  • Securing and protecting buildings and people
  • Providing bike parking
  • Indoor usage, such as in warehouses for asset protection

In conclusion, bollards play a crucial role in various settings, offering functionality and aesthetic appeal. With the different types available and the wide range of materials used in their construction, bollards can be tailored to meet specific needs. Their installation process ensures stability and durability, while their applications span multiple industries and environments. So, the next time you spot a bollard, you’ll have a deeper understanding of its purpose and significance.

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