We’d like to think all drivers follow the rules of the road, but many people ignore the rulebook when it’s more convenient not to—clear road boundaries and signage alone are rarely enough to prevent vehicles from entering restricted areas. The only way to guarantee site safety and asset protection is physical enforcement.
Enter the humble steel pipe bollard. For property managers and owners, these security posts the perfect tool to protect site assets. They let individuals pass through easily, but block large vehicles—and, unlike the decorative variety, protective steel pipe bollards hold up under vehicle impact.
Plain security posts are economical and serviceable in places where looks take a backseat to function, but they tend to stick out as an obnoxious eyesore anywhere else.
Thankfully, you don’t have to choose between security and design. Decorative bollard covers (also known as bollard sleeves) let steel pipe bollards enhance site design instead of trampling all over it. This list explores the different decorative options for covering steel security bollards.
Steel pipe bollards provide site security
Security bollards can take many forms, but their most basic function is to prevent vehicle access while allowing unobstructed pedestrian flow. They protect pedestrians from inattentive drivers, and when necessary, intentional attack—sadly, vehicles have become a weapon for everything from smash-and grab-robberies to extremist violence. Security posts are an essential defense for any situation where vehicles are on a collision course with pedestrian zones.
Rated bollards, tested for very specific impact performance, are available for high-security locations—but for most site managers, steel pipe security posts get the job done for the right price.
Steel pipe security posts are manufactured from structural grade steel and pipe that can withstand significant impacts. Posts are filled with concrete and embedded deep in ground surfaces to ensure robust protection. Unfortunately, they border on ugly.
Bollard covers are a smart solution for unsightly pipes
Steel pipe bollards are ideal for out-of-the-way areas where they protect utilities and other site features. On their own, however, steel pipes don't offer much in terms of aesthetic appeal—they aren’t exactly ideal for customer-facing areas. The appearance of storefront entrances and approaching walkways makes a big impression on visitors.
Making bollards look attractive and consistent with surrounding areas is key. In other words, security doesn't need to come at the expense of site design.
Steel pipe bollards can be painted, but this requires ongoing attention, and does nothing to solve their basic boring profile. Bollards should be painted regularly to prevent bare metal surfaces from being exposed to outdoor environments—especially in wet or high-saline conditions, which invite corrosion. Pipe bollards may also need to be filled with concrete or finished with a cap to prevent moisture and refuse from collecting inside.
Covers are a low-maintenance alternative to painting, and they're available in a variety of materials and styles to suit any location.
What is a bollard cover?
A bollard cover is a protective sleeve that fits over steel posts. They serve the dual purpose of looking stylish and protecting the inner steel pipe from corrosion. Bollard covers come in a variety of sizes, materials, and styles to compliment different settings. The most common—and useful—models come in 316 stainless steel, high density polyethylene (plastic), and powder coated iron, steel, or aluminum.
Stainless steel bollard covers
Stainless steel bollard covers give security posts a modern, sleek look. Thanks to their distinctive aesthetic and superior wear resistance, they are often used to dress up security posts in front of office buildings, shopping plazas, and other modern architecture. Maintenance costs vary depending on the stainless steel grade, street conditions, and how often they are touched. A busy location with lots of pedestrians will probably need a quick weekly wash with soap and water to keep things shiny and fingerprint-free, while more secluded locations only need to be washed a few times a year to stay in good condition. De-icing and salting can damage stainless steel, so pick a corrosion resistant grade like 316 if your location gets lots of cold weather.
Plastic bollard sleeves
Plastic bollard sleeves are inexpensive, durable, and dead-easy to maintain. They come in a variety of colors, from bright, attention grabbing shades with reflective tape, to subtle colors that compliment the surrounding architecture. There is no paint to chip or scratch, which makes them ideal for high-traffic areas with a risk of rough use or vandalism.
Decorative plastic bollard covers
Decorative polyethylene bollard covers imitate the aesthetic of metal bollards without the high-end price tag. They also do less damage to vehicles in minor collisions than the metal bollards they are modelled after. There is usually no paint to chip or scratch, but some fancier finishes might have a texture or surface sheen that can be damaged by heavy wear.
Powder-coated metal bollard cover
Powder-coated metal bollard covers are a high-end option for locations where looks matter. They come in beautiful, distinctive designs to compliment landscaping and architecture. Metal bollard covers look the same as regular steel, aluminum, or ductile iron bollards, but the interior steel security pipe gives them added strength to better withstand impact and protect important areas.
Where to buy bollard covers
Reliance Foundry manufactures a wide range of decorative bollard covers, using a selection of quality materials.
Decorative metal bollard covers are available in ductile iron, steel or aluminum. All of Reliance Foundry’s decorative metal bollard covers are powder coated to protect against corrosion and wear; select from one of six standard colors or enquire about custom color options.
Plastic bollard covers provide cost-effective protection and highlighting available for steel pipe bollards. For the most discerning applications, stylish stainless steel bollard covers are also available.