Care and Cleaning to Maintain Anodized Aluminum

It is crucial that aluminum work be carefully protected at the job site, prior to and after installation is complete, and prior to the buildings final acceptance. Installed aluminum work is considered a “finished product” while the other building components are generally in a rough or unfinished state. Most damage to aluminum work will occur during this time.

To ensure a long-lasting anodize finish consider the following items during installation:

  • Remove surface protective coverings. All protective coverings, such as adhesiveStainingAnodize paper and strippable plastic film, should be removed as soon as possible after installation because they can become brittle and unpeelable under sunlight exposure and weather. These conditions can cause staining.
  • Dissimilar materials. Architectural designs often incorporate many different materials, making possible contact between dissimilar materials an important consideration. If questions occur regarding compatibility, the manufacturer of the aluminum products should be contacted.
  • Masonry work. The major source of damage to in-place aluminum components usually comes from the splashing, splattering, or run-down from adjacent or overhead masonry work. Acids used for cleaning operations pose a serious problem for anodize finishes. Any mortar, plaster, concrete, fire proofings, sprays, paints or other wet preparations that inadvertently splash upon the aluminum must be immediately wiped clean as permanent damage can occur in minutes. The affected area should be washed liberally with water. Dried splatterings should be removed with wooden or plastic scrapers (not metal), which will not scratch the surface.
Chemical attack to an anodized finished door

Chemical attack to an anodized finished door

  • Chemical attack. Chemical attack occurs when acid or alkaline materials come in contact with aluminum finishes, especially an anodized finish. The most common occurrence is when mortar or muriatic acid is allowed to dwell, even for a short time, on a window or aluminum building component. If the finish is visually affected, irreversible damage has occurred and the discolored item may need to be replaced.
  • Tar roofing. When tar roofing is applied, the roofing should be graveled on the same day to minimize staining from run-down. Failure to avoid contact with the aluminum will result in staining that is extremely difficult to remove.
  • Avoid contact with strong cleaners. If strong cleaners are used to clean brick work and masonry they should be confined to the area being cleaned. Cleaners strong enough to dissolve mortar spots on brick will surely damage any aluminum finish and possibly the underlying metal. Accidental contact from these solutions should be flushed from the aluminum surface immediately with clean water.

    Poplar Creek Church photo4

    Damage caused to anodized window from brick wash cleaning agent

  • Halogenated solvents. Solvents such as methylene chloride should never be used to clean anodized aluminum.

Although anodized aluminum is extraordinarily resistant to corrosion, discoloration and wear, its natural beauty can be marred by strong chemicals, abuse or neglect. Depending on the geographic location and environmental conditions, varying amounts of soil and dirt will be collected on the aluminum surface, therefore cleaning schedules and frequencies also will vary. More frequent cleaning will be required in heavy industrialized areas than in rural settings. In foggy and coastal regions, frequent cycles of condensation and drying can create a heavy buildup of atmospheric salts and dirt, which can adhere tenaciously. Therefore, more frequent cleaning is required.

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Linetec offers over 30,000 color choices

From Dark Ivy to Copper Anodize, Linetec offers 30,000 color choices and distinctive anodize finishes

With more than 30,000 colors in our palette, the ability to match almost any hue in-house and a range of anodize colors that includes our proprietary copper, Linetec provides long-lasting finishes for architectural aluminum products.

Miami Valley dd logo 1Linetec’s finishes are specified on windows and curtainwall, column covers, canopies and panel systems, in thousands of building projects every year. The assortment of durable finishes may be requested as liquid or powder coatings, or as eco-friendly, VOC-free anodize. With the 100% air capture system and regenerative thermal oxidizer, VOCs from the paint process are captured and destroyed so there is no adverse environmental impact.

To precisely match customers’ color needs, our in-house blending laboratory features unsurpassed technology in paint blending and dispensing operations, encompassing several high-performance paint manufacturers. In our laboratory, computers scan samples and provide the recipe of tints and bases to match anything from a piece of metal to a swatch of fabric.

Colors and forms affect how we go about our everyday lives. Bold hues are coming forward in architectural design. Warm, pearlised painted aluminum is starting to take a stronghold. Brushed and polished aluminum finishes also have emerged as a newer trend.

The proprietary, copper anodize finish continuous to attract building teams seeking a distinctive look. “Architects appreciate this unique finish for a wide range of projects: from eye-catching modern designs to historic restoration projects that will never patina,” adds Schroeder. This exclusive, eco-friendly finish allows aluminum to present the look of real copper without such shortcomings as salt run-off stains, galvanic corrosion and patina.


Photos courtesy of Dri-Design

Linetec’s eco-friendly anodize process creates an aesthetically appealing, matte finish. As slight imperfections can be common with secondary billet, the eco-friendly process is well suited for products manufactured with recycled aluminum. Materials with recycled content may assist building projects seeking certification through the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED® Rating System™.

With respect to green building goals, the anodize process contains no VOCs. When it is time for the installed architectural product to be removed, anodized aluminum is 100% recyclable, lending itself to post-consumer recycled content during demolition or restoration of the building.

 For color cards and more, please contact Linetec at 888-717-1472, or


Bending and Forming of Anodized Aluminum

anodize half circles-clearerAnodized finishes provide outstanding surface properties including excellent resistance to abrasion, erosion, and ultraviolet light degradation. These finishes are highly durable, have an exceptionally long life expectancy, and require only minimum maintenance.

Anodic films are very hard, and as a result, most post-production bending of anodized aluminum causes the film to “craze,” which produces a series of small cracks in the finish. It is recommended that all forming and bending be done prior to anodizing.

Anodizers likely will not warrant parts that have been post formed.