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.
Aluminum Patio Furniture - Cleaning Aluminum - Durability of Aluminum - Aluminum Finishing - Wrought vs Cast Aluminum