What is a modular wall?6 Mins
…a modular what? Whether you’ve heard the word before, or had no idea they even existed until now, modular walls have been transforming the Australian fencing market for almost two decades…but not many people really understand what they are or how they work. Read on to find out everything there is to know about them — and why they’ve become a fencing revolution!
So…what exactly is a modular wall?
Basically, a modular wall (in the outdoor world) is a free-standing wall system that is made up of different parts — or modules — that slot together to form one solid structure.
In fact, we invented the modular wall in 2002 when our founder, Nick Holden, was told by council that he wasn’t allowed to build a brick wall in his front yard. Nick has always been a tinkerer…and he’s never taken ‘no’ as a final answer. So, using the power of modular technology, Nick created a product that followed the simple post-and-rail system of a fence, but emulated the look of a rendered brick wall…and thus, the world’s very first modular wall was born!
How do they compare to other fence types?
Modular walls basically bridged the gap between cheap fencing (metal and timber) and brick walls. Before their invention, homeowners could either choose between a beautiful, sturdy brick wall…or a fence they could actually afford, but didn’t offer much in the way of looks or performance.
However, when you throw in modular walls to the mix, you suddenly have access to a premium fencing type, for a fraction of the cost, hassle and install time of rendered brick. They offer the easy installation of a fence, but the aesthetics, strength, durability and noise reduction qualities that are more commonly found in masonry. For a more extensive comparison, you can check out the following detailed guides:
- Brick Walls vs Modular Walls
- Colorbond Fencing vs Modular Fencing
- Timber Fencing vs Modular Fencing
- Brushwood Fencing vs Modular Fencing
- The 10 Different Types of Fencing
How much do modular walls cost?
By comparison to other fence types, they’re roughly 2-3 times more expensive than Colorbond, but up to half the price of rendered brick. For a full breakdown of modular walls pricing and cost comparisons, you can check out the following guides:
What are the different modules I can choose from?
As mentioned above, the walls are made up of different modules to achieve different outcomes.
To start, the two main modules are posts and panels. By choosing different combinations of these two modules, you can custom design the aesthetic and performance of your wall or fence. Choices for posts and panels include:
- SlimWall uses the slimmest posts for a sleek fence aesthetic, offering both Galvanised Steel or Aluminium options (for coastal or poolside applications)
- TrendWall uses a slightly more robust fence post, which offers taller heights and can hold thicker panels (for added acoustic benefits)
- VogueWall offers a masonry-like aesthetic, with posts that mirror a brick pier and offering even taller heights of up to 3m
- EstateWall boasts our grandest posts yet, making it the perfect choice for bold front entrances or statement feature and boundary walls
- AcoustiMax panels are our core panel choice for most of our fence and wall styles and offer excellent noise reduction capabilities
- TerraFirm retaining panels are used for earth retaining capabilities and can be used in a standalone retaining wall, or seamlessly integrated into your fencing!
There are also smaller modules you can use to further customise your wall, including:
- Post tops and wall capping: Flush creates a sleek, modern finish, while the External option offers a traditional boxed finish
- Joining profile: The Expressed Joint option creates a distinct design feature out of the panel join lines for a stunning, architectural edge
- Pedestrian gate: Add a matching, custom pedestrian gate for easy access!
- Letterbox: Integrate a ModularWalls letterbox for a turnkey front wall design
Are modular walls a popular choice?
Since its debut in 2002, they’ve experienced a rapid growth in popularity. In fact, they’re making quite a splash in the design world; they’ve been used by the likes of Three Birds Renovations for their House 10 and House 11, master builder Barry Du Bois, The Block‘s Alisa & Lysandra, Style Curator, Little Dwellings’ DIY transformation and The Designory’s latest Byron Bay villa, just to name a few.
What can you use modular walls for?
Modular walls can be used for fencing, outdoor boundary walls, acoustic fencing and noise reduction, retaining walls (when using retaining panels), feature walls, privacy screens, commercial noise barriers and acoustic enclosures.
Furthermore, they have not been designed to be used within the building envelope; they are for outdoor use only.
Who can install a modular wall?
The beauty of our wall system is that it was invented by a DIYer, for a DIYer. Can you assemble an IKEA kit? Can you dig a hole? Then you can install a modular wall!
Its modular nature is incredibly simple to follow; you just:
- Dig the post holes
- Concrete the posts into the ground
- Slide the panels in
- Finish as desired
In fact, it just takes two people and can be knocked over in a single weekend (dependent on the length, of course)! If this interests you, you can find more detailed info on how to install a DIY modular wall here.
However, if DIY isn’t for you, we can also match you up with a skilled, reliable Trade Partner in your area that we trust to quote and install our modular fence correctly and efficiently. From their initial free, no-obligation quote, to design advice, to material orders and final installation, your project will be completely taken care of by a qualified, experienced, skilled trades person!
What things should I look out for when buying a modular wall?
Shopping for construction materials can be confusing, to downright intimidating. We’ve unfortunately had a fair few customers who need us to replace jobs botched by sub-par suppliers; which can be far more costly than if we had done the job in the first place.
As the inventor and market leader of modular walls, we take quality very seriously. To help people navigate these waters, we’ve compiled a hit list of questions to help you buy a reputable modular wall:
- Are the products Australian Made?
This one is incredibly important for quality. Australia has strict controls over the quality and integrity of construction materials, so you know you’re getting a product specifically designed (and approved) for Aussie conditions. On the other hand, it’s incredibly hard to determine the quality of imported construction materials.
Are the materials also sourced within Australia?
Suppliers should be able to answer this question confidently; otherwise, you may be receiving a product that uses imported materials.
Where are the modular walls made?
The closer they are to the manufacture process, the more control they have over the quality.
What is the design life of the modular walls?
The design life should be around 25 years; any less and it may be a sign of inferior materials.
What is the warranty of the walls?
Suppliers should stand by their product; their warranty should offer a minimum of 10 years (for instance, we offer a 10-year warranty).
Has the supplier done many commercial projects?
Commercial projects require strict quality control measures and are usually vetted by industry professionals against certain specifications; therefore, it’s a good sign if the supplier has done commercial projects.
Has the supplier done any infrastructure projects?
Infrastructure projects have incredibly strict quality control measures (and for good reason!); so, take this as a sign that the supplier and the products have been extensively vetted and approved!
If you’re using a fencer or landscaper for your modular wall, they should be transparent about where they’re ordering the product from, so you can confidently research the brand using the above checklist.
Finally, going with the cheapest option will rarely work out. Construction materials are not an area to skimp on; when it comes to quality, you get what you pay for. If you’re going with the lowest bidder, it’s safe to say that your wall will not be lasting anywhere near as long as it should; you’ll probably be spending even more money on repairing or replacing it in the near future.
Still have some questions? Check out our extensive FAQs page for more detailed info or get in touch with our friendly team through our Quick Question form, or by calling them on 1300 556 957.
Written by Evelyn Kandris