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Aluminum Finishing

Though aluminum is popular in large part because of its natural resistance to corrosion, most uses of aluminum call for some sort of finishing to ensure its durability. The main methods of finishing aluminum are anodizing, waterproofing, painting, and powder coating. The planned usage of the aluminum largely determines the finishing method you’ll choose to use.

Anodizing is a process developed over 50 years ago that helps to form a protective coating of aluminum oxide on the surface of the aluminum. The durability and lifespan of the finish is directly related to how thick the coating is. In other words, the thicker the anodic coating, the longer it will last. Anodizing is preferred for use in high traffic areas as it won’t peel off like other coatings. It is also a relatively inexpensive method when compared to most painting methods.

Simply painting the aluminum is a preferred method for situations where something other than the standard metallic look is desired. While these coatings offer more latitude in terms of color, the main drawback is their susceptibility to weathering. Over time, even the best pigmented coatings will degrade and need to be reapplied. If you want to paint, it is important to ensure you have paint specifically designed for aluminum.

While liquid paint is composed of pigment, resin, and solvent, powder coatings are simply pigment suspended in a powdered resin. Perhaps the most important advantage of powder coatings is the lack of solvent and therefore its minimal environmental impact. Powder coatings are often used for indoor furniture and outdoor furniture but may peel over time.

When using aluminum for outdoor furniture, the most important consideration is ensuring the aluminum has a proper weatherproofing. Obviously, outdoor furniture is going to be subjected to potentially damaging environmental factors. However, if properly finished, aluminum outdoor furniture will last for years to come.

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