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How to Choose Your Structure’s Finish

September 5, 2014

Whether you’re building a greenhouse, sunroom, conservatory, or skylight, aluminum is your best choice when designing the framework if you want a durable, weather-resist structure that will last for years to come. Since aluminum isn’t entirely customizable in regards to color, you will want to select a high-quality architectural finish to make it seamlessly blend into the surrounding structures or property.

Today’s popular finish choices include liquid paint, powder coat, and anodize. In addition to these options, we also offer metal cladding and wood veneering finish options.

Liquid paint is the tried and true, conventional option that is an excellent choice when creating custom colors. This kind of finish is generally used for smaller projects or when a color is not available as a standard powder coat offering.

Powder coating, on the other hand, is a dry film process that uses finely-ground, electrostatically-charged pigment particles and resin that adhere to electrically grounded material. The particles attach to the extrusions and are then fused into a uniform coating using a cure oven. Powder coating is an environmentally-friendly alternative to liquid paint, emitting zero VOCs, and it is more scratch resistant in comparison due to its thick, heavy finish. Solar Innovations, Inc. offers standard and premium, as well as faux wood powder coat options.

Anodizing, quite different than liquid and powder coatings, allows the aluminum to keep its natural look but adds a protective oxide finish. It is done by electrolytic oxidation of the aluminum surface using sulfuric acid for the electrolyte. A current passes through the positive electrode, decomposes water, and liberates oxygen at the surface of the metal; the oxygen then combines with the aluminum to form a transparent and microscopically porous layer of aluminum oxide. The aluminum is then dipped in a hot water solution of metal salts to seal the micro-pores and prevent stains from soiling the structure.

Today’s high-performance finish options are extremely durable, as long as you properly care for and clean the structure. A simple, yearly or bi-yearly cleaning will remove dirt, soil, and other build-up, and it will help minimize the effects of weathering–loss of gloss, chalking, color changes, etc. Once your structure is installed, make sure you read over our warranty information to ensure you properly care for your structure in order to keep the warranty valid.

Solar Innovations, Inc. can create any color or finish to match your structure’s surroundings. With our powder coat booths, wood fabrication shop, and other manufacturing abilities, we are able to decrease price and lead times to provide an overall better experience for our customers. For more information regarding our finish options, feel free to check out our Architectural Finishing Options.