Anodizing was first developed over 90 years ago to protect materials from corrosion. Since then, new procedures have been developed to fit the needs of today’s marketplace. According to the Aluminum Anodizers Council, “The anodized aluminum layer is formed by taking an aluminum object, placing it in an electrolytic solution, and passing direct through the objects.” This adds a protective and translucent layer to the metal surface which can be ideal for high traffic areas. Anodic coatings are durable and weather-resistant. Since Anodic Coatings grows integrally from the base aluminum, it cannot peel off. It is essentially a part of the aluminum.
When deciding on an anodized or painted finishes there are a few things to consider. One thing to factor is color choice. Anodizing has very limited color options. Painting has a clear advantage over anodizing as there is limited color availability (clear, champagne, light bronze, medium bronze, dark bronze, and black). Paint has an almost unlimited color pallet and with few exceptions, you can match almost any color.
Anodizing is also very difficult to maintain color consistency, otherwise known as the checker boarding effect. To properly anodize material with consistency you need proper equipment and expertise and even that is no guarantee. For example, different lots of aluminum can anodize in different shades. The checker boarding effect is visible when the final product is installed on the job site.These different shades are clearly visible from ground level. Overall, paint is much easier to maintain color consistency. With the wide variety of color options paint allows you to differentiate your project from others by creating your own signature look.
Some of the benefits of painted products is that they offer great UV resistance, have more consistency throughout the project, a longer warranty life, field touch up capabilities, and protection from the elements. In high traffic areas, painted products can be beneficial for possible replacement parts. If damages was to occur, we can replace or refinish the exact color code to match and color variation will be a lot less in comparison to anodized products. When dealing with a project that has the possibility of salt spray or humid areas, painted products can offer a great benefit by having a protective layer over the metal. This layer tends to be more resistant to corrosion or mortar staining and can be restored easier than anodized finishes. Painted finishes do have some characteristics that should be considered. Flurocarbon paint finishes are softer than anodized finsihes, which make them more susceptible to scratching. Traditional touch-up can remedy minor scratches while more severe damage could require refinishing. Also mica and metallic finishes have a grain direction. Keeping the grain direction consistent is imperative for an acceptable visual appearance.
Painted and anodized products have their distinct advantages and disadvantages. When trying to determine what application fits your job the best please contact Americlad and we will help you through the process to get the best finish possible.