Aluminium is a metal that boasts a huge array of benefits and strengths for a plethora of applications. Formed from bauxite ore, which is a clay mineral found in tropical and sub-tropical parts of the world, it is the third most common element on the planet after oxygen and silicon and actually forms over 8% of the Earth’s crust. Other beneficial properties of this incredibly versatile metal are that it is corrosion resistant, durable yet lightweight, and helps with conductivity in both thermal and electrical applications, as well as being almost 100% recyclable amongst other benefits. With the possibilities created by alloying aluminium with other metals, it can be adapted for virtually unlimited purposes. LA Metals is able to deliver quality aluminium extrusions with a variety of finishes for commercial, domestic and industrial projects.
A wide range of finishes is also available for aluminium extrusions, making them extremely popular for fabrication of all types, both aesthetic and practical. This blog will examine the different types of aluminium finishes that are possible.
1. Mechanical or milled finishing
This is a simple and fairly basic finish which is perfect for quicker production and items that are not for show. It may have a duller appearance and a slight white ‘rust’ effect, although it can easily be polished, buffed or blasted to create a smoother finish.
2. Chemically polished finishing
Chemical finishing involves bathing the piece in an acidic chemical bath, which removes soiling and removes any microscopic fluctuations in the surface creating an extremely bright, highly polished mirror-like finish. A chemical finish can also be used to create an etched, matte finish if required.
3. Polyvinylidene Fluoride (PVDF) finishing
This method applies a resin-based coating to the aluminium and can have colour pigment embedded within it to create a matte finish. This type of finish is highly resistant to corrosion, chemical erosion and fading. It is an excellent finish for exterior applications, such as wall cladding. It can be susceptible to scratches but is relatively easy to re-touch, and as it doesn’t use any volatile organic compounds (VOC) to create or apply, it makes an environmentally friendly option.
4. Liquid paint finishing
This is an attractive option for small batches of items that need to be colour finished, as there is an extremely wide colour selection available. However, this option does contain VOCs, which can be released into the air during the process – potentially cancer-causing – and therefore has to be used cautiously and with due risk management during the application.
5. Sublimination finishing
This method uses a film wrapping technique which is heat treated to create the finished effect. The pattern is transferred from the film as it is wrapped onto the aluminium product. An example of this use is where outdoor furniture, created from aluminium for strength and durability, is made to have a wooden look with the appropriate film wrap.
6. Anodised finishing
The most widely used type of finishing, an anodised finish is created by thickening the oxide layer on the metal to create an extremely durable, corrosion, UV and wear-resistant finish which is ideal for outdoor applications. The thicker the layer of oxidation, the more durable the finished product. This is created by washing, rinsing and then chemically treating the aluminium before the anodising takes place. The finish can be clear or coloured, although the colour range is limited, and can be inconsistent if the products being treated have to be oxidised in sections. The benefits of anodised finish are that it is cost-effective in the long run, as it is extremely durable. It is fade-resistant and environmentally sustainable.
7. Powder coating finish
Essentially this is a finish created by covering the aluminium with paint, but without the solvent. A resin and pigment are sprayed on and then fused by heat treating in an oven to create a smooth and bright coating. The powder coating method ensures a consistent finish and is available in a multitude of colours. It can be used to create different finished textures, and whilst it can be susceptible to fading it has a high UV resistance. The finish is not as hard or durable as anodised finishes, but it is easy to re-apply or even touch up whilst in situ, making it a long-lasting solution. This finish is popular for indoor applications as it is not as durable as other coating methods.
Why use LA Metals for your aluminium finishing needs?
LA Metals has over three decades of experience in producing the highest-quality aluminium finishes for the widest range of applications. Specialising in anodising, polishing and powder coating which are the most durable, cost-effective and environmentally friendly finishes, we are confident that we can provide all of your aluminium finishing requirements. Our finishes are generally completed and shipped within seven working days, guaranteeing you a rapid and professional result.
Get in touch today with one of our friendly experts to discuss your aluminium finishing needs.