Feature article in Products Finishing helps in “Choosing the Right Finish”

IMG_0084-webProduct Finishing magazine’s December issue features an educational article on “Choosing the Right Finish for Coastal Projects” by Linetec’s Tammy Schroeder.

As the company’s senior marketing specialist and a LEED Green Associate, Schroeder has authored dozens of educational articles and presentations about painted, anodized and specialized finishes to meet the needs of many climates and geographies.

Click here to read this most recent article describing optimal, durable finishes for aluminum architectural products facing some of the most challenging conditions.

In addition to offering guidance on selecting high-performance finishes and avoiding corrosion, the informative piece also shares steps for proper maintenance to ensure an ideal appearance for years to come.

To learn more about how Linetec can support your next project and fine-tune finishes for its climate, please contact us for personalized service.

Protecting Aluminum Finish During Building Construction

RichmondCtyCourthouse-1In the November issue of Glass Magazine, Linetec’s Tammy Schroeder shares tips on “Protecting Aluminum Finish During Building Construction.”

High-performance paint and anodize finishes for aluminum add durability and color flexibility to meet architectural requirements. To ensure a resilient finish, the article offers 11 points to consider during storage and installation.

Click here to read the full story.

In addition to the 11 tips, Tammy reminds us to extra care to protect finished aluminum material after installation and prior to the building’s final acceptance as most damage to aluminum work will occur during this time.

Significantly reducing the opportunity for damage, Linetec partners with customers from the earliest stages of their projects through final completion. Please contact us for personalized service.

How do you clean anodized aluminum?

CherryAirport09Anodized architectural finishing gives a tough and long-lasting surface to aluminum. This is particularly useful for high-traffic areas of a building, where hardness and abrasion resistance is vital. While anodize is as hard as sapphire (the second hardest substance in the world), it still requires regular maintenance and care.

Although anodized aluminum is exceptionally resistant to corrosion, discoloration and wear, it can be marred by harsh chemicals, abuse or neglect. Periodic maintenance inhibits long-term accumulation of soil, which can accelerate weathering of the finish.

It depends on the weather

The environment of the building will influence the cleaning frequency your anodized surfaces require. Factors such as smog, condensation or low rainfall areas can contribute to a surface needing more frequent cleanings to remove salt and dirt build-up. Areas that have seasonal rainfall to help remove water-soluble deposits and soil will require cleaning less often.

TampaMuseumofArt-close-up-webIt depends on the placement

Regardless of climate, recessed and sheltered areas usually become more heavily soiled because of the lack of rain-washing. Overhangs, bottoms of fascia panels and sheltered column covers are particularly susceptible to soil build-up. If not addressed, this can lead to accelerated weathering of the anodized finish. Integrating this as part of the building’s overall maintenance schedule is the most efficient and economical way to make sure soil and salt build-up is kept in check.

It depends on the build-up

The severity and tenacity of the soil build-up will determine progressively stronger cleaning procedures that can help maintain a building’s anodized surfaces. Be cautious. Experiment on a small area of the building, using stronger methods until you find the one that works.

  • For light soil, flush the surface with water using moderate pressure. Let it air dry and check to see if the build-up still remains.
  • If the build-up remains, move to scrubbing with a brush or sponge while spraying with water.
  • If, and only if, that does not remove the build-up, then add a mild detergent cleaner to the scrubbing.
  • If heavy surface soil persists, add an abrasive cleaning pad to the mild detergent washing. Be sure to always scrub in the direction of the metal grain.
  • If detergent is used, rinse the surface thoroughly, multiple times, with clean water after scrubbing, to avoid detergent residue building up in place of soil.

It depends on the cleaner

Methyl ethyl ketone (MEK) or similar solvents should only be used to remove oil, wax, polish or similar material from your surface. Extreme care must be exercised to keep MEK from damaging any organic sealants, gaskets and finishes around anodized surfaces. If the anodize is protected with a clear, organic coating, do not use MEK solvent, as it may deteriorate or remove the coating completely. Do not use aggressive alkaline or acid cleaners on or near anodized aluminum.

It depends on deterioration

Even if well maintained, architectural finishes, including anodize, could eventually need repair. There are solutions for both minor and major damage and deterioration of anodize, so plan accordingly. For small scratches and rub marks, minor touch-up paint can be used. The paint should closely match the color of the factory-applied anodize finish. Use caution when applying touch up paint to the damaged area. Be aware that the touch-up paint will not be as hard as the original finish and is not intended for areas larger than a few square inches.

harsh-chemical-damage-webWhen larger anodized areas are damaged beyond what a simple touch-up can fix, it is time to call in a professional. Large, full-service finishing companies often employ field service workers who are able to prepare and apply architectural paint finishes in the field. The coating used should meet the American Architectural Manufacturers Association’s AAMA 2605 specification and be tinted to match the existing finish. This can be a difficult goal, particularly if only a portion of the existing surface is being refinished or the finish has already experienced some fade. Be certain to ask for an onsite sample to approve of before the full project begins.

Learn more about anodizing and its care and maintenance by clicking here. For personalized assistance in selecting or repairing anodize finishes for your aluminum building products, please contact Linetec’s regional sales managers, email sales@linetec.com or call 888-717-1472.

Shining the spotlight on Brushed Stainless anodize

LinetecBrushedStainlessAnodize-web2Those of you who have visited us at this year’s industry events were treated to a preview of our new proprietary Brushed Stainless anodize finish. We are excited to announce that this finish is ready for the spotlight and for your specification.

Stainless steel has long been used in the architectural construction industry for its luster, richness and highly reflective appearance. This unique look could only be found in stainless steel until now.

Our new Brushed Stainless anodize finish emulates the clean, bright surface that architects and specifiers find desirable in stainless steel. Helping enhance and protect architectural aluminum products, Brushed Stainless anodize creates a similar look on aluminum offering a more cost effective, lightweight option.

BS-banner-webDue to cost, stainless steel can be value-engineered out of a project. Our new Brushed Stainless finish offers the popular look of stainless steel at less cost and almost one-third the weight of actual steel, with greater fabrication flexibility and all the strengths of anodize. It resists fingerprints and scratching, and requires minimal maintenance including in high-traffic areas offering excellent wear and abrasion resistance.

A high-performance anodized finish has an extremely long life span, has exceptional stability to UV rays, is non-hazardous and produces no harmful or dangerous by-products. In line with Linetec’s core value of Environmental Responsibility, Linetec has implemented the newer electro-polishing technology to achieve the highly reflective aesthetic properties of stainless steel on aluminum.

Linetec’s anodize finishes meet the requirements of the American Architectural Manufacturers Association’s stringent Class I specification standard, AAMA 611-14. The anodized aluminum resists the ravages of time, temperature, corrosion, humidity and warping, for a long product life cycle. Anodized aluminum may be specified with recycled content and is 100 percent recyclable.

shutterstock_flat sheets-webFor more information on our new Brushed Stainless anodized finish, or for personalized assistance in selecting and specifying the right coating for your aluminum building products, please contact Linetec’s regional sales managers , email sales@linetec.com or call 888-717-1472.

Building Enclosure features “Preventing coating failures”

Helping ensure the best finish for architectural aluminum products, Linetec’s Tammy Schroeder recently authored “Preventing coating failures.” Published in the July issue of Building Enclosure magazine, the article addresses the benefits and cautions of selecting paint and anodize finishes.

5-webWith proper consideration and application, finished architectural aluminum will retain its intended look and long life with minimal maintenance. A durable finish helps provide the desired performance in the harshest environments, including the highly corrosive seacoast. These qualities reduce the need to replace materials and components, conserve resources, optimize labor and save money.

Click here to read the online article.

Need help selecting the right coating for your project? Please contact us for personalized service.

Anodize Nickel Test

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Nickel Test

When extreme hardness is required for aluminum building components, such as in high-traffic areas, like entranceways and railings, an AAMA 611-14 anodized aluminum finish should be specified.

The hardness of anodized aluminum rivals that of the diamond.

This “Nickel Test” demonstrates why a Class I high-performance anodize coating is the perfect choice for exterior architectural applications.

How does aluminum become anodized?

LinetecAnodize_web-300dpiAnodizing is the most durable and long-lasting option for finishing architectural aluminum building products. An electrochemical process, anodizing produces a finish that resists the ravages of time and environment. However, there are important things to note about color selection for anodized aluminum.

Linetec’s two-step electrolytic anodizing process , where the anodizing and coloring of the aluminum occur in two separate steps, involves:

  • first placing the aluminum in a solution of sulfuric acid and water, then charging it with electrical current to form aluminum oxide on the surface.
  • then after anodizing is complete, parts can be immersed in a bath containing an inorganic metal such as tin, cobalt or nickel, which is deposited in the anodic pores to achieve color.

anodize-ring2-webAs a result, anodized finishes’ color choices range from clear to champagne to a variety of bronze tones to black. Linetec also offers a copper anodize, which involves an additional color tank, using actual copper to color the aluminum while isolating the copper in the coating. This process makes the copper color very stable and consistent.

Anodic oxide is not affected by ultraviolet light and is resistant to scratches, which help ensure color stability.

Due to the chemical process used to create an anodized finish, the possibility of color variation can be a concern during its application. Here are some factors to keep in mind to minimize the variation from your desired color:

  • Single source it. While the aluminum is anodized during the process, other metals (silicon, zinc, magnesium, etc.) present in the aluminum alloy can respond differently, resulting in unwanted variation of color. Reduce this risk by having all metal used for a project come from a single source/extruder, and from one lot of material. Also, avoid using aluminum with different alloys, as it will not yield uniform results.
  • Request a range sample. Because it is impossible to know the effect non-aluminum metals in the material will have on the final product’s color, be sure to ask your anodizer for a range sample before sending them your product for finishing. An anodize range sample is two anodize color chips for the same color, with one showing the lightest extreme of appearance to be expected on the finished parts and one showing the darkest. Be aware that the lighter the anodize finish, the more noticeable the range. Be sure to speak with any potential anodizer to see what range of variation they can guarantee. AAMA’s industry-leading standards specify that the range should not differ by more than 5 Delta E. A quality anodizer may be able to keep the range of a color even lower.
  • Bend then finish.  Anodic films are very hard, and as a result, most post-production bending causes a series of small cracks in the finish that give it a spider-web appearance. To avoid this, have as much bending and forming of the material completed before it is sent to receive its finish.
  • Weld with care.  If your metal has any welds on it, the anodization process can cause a halo effect of localized discoloration around them. Welding with the proper 5356 alloy welding wire and the lowest heat possible helps minimize this.

Select an aluminum finisher that utilizes automation in its anodize process to reduce inconsistencies. An automated system controls and monitors the process, including tank sequencing, chemical add, voltage, current, time and temperature, which ensures the most consistent anodize finish possible.

Learn more about anodizing by clicking here. For personalized assistance in choosing an anodize color for your aluminum building products, please contact Linetec’s regional sales managers, email sales@linetec.com or call 888-717-1472.