Four Common Benefits of Anodizing Aluminum Railings & Architectural Metal Products
Railings are a key architectural element, providing not only aesthetics but also safety. A million considerations come into play when selecting the final design for your building, including selecting the best railing finish for your unique project and environment.
Anodizing is a popular finishing process used in the architectural industry to enhance the durability and appearance of metal products such as railings. Common metal products, in addition to railings that are anodized include glazing systems such as curtain wall, window wall and storefronts, roofs, trellises, and sunshades to name a few.
The anodizing process involves creating an oxide layer on the surface of the metal, which not only adds a protective layer but also provides a decorative finish. The manufacturing process involves several steps that starts with cleaning the metal to remove any dirt, grease, or other contaminants that may be present. The metal is then placed in a chemical bath and an electrical current is applied. This causes the metal to oxidize and creates a layer of aluminum oxide on the surface. The thickness of the oxide layer can be controlled by adjusting the electrical current and the duration of the process.
So why anodize? There are several advantages of using anodized metals for commercial railings and other architectural metal products. In this blog, GRECO explores the following common benefits of anodized metals; Durability, Maintenance, appearance, and Cost
One big advantage of anodizing metals is that it improves the durability of the metal. Anodized metals are highly resistant to corrosion, wear, and weathering. This is because the anodizing process creates a dense and hard surface layer that protects the metal from environmental factors. This makes anodized railings ideal for outdoor use, where they are exposed to harsh weather conditions and other environmental factors.
Anodizing metals require minimal maintenance. The hard and durable oxide layer that is created during the anodizing process protects the metal from scratches and other damage. To put this in perspective, the anodized aluminum surface hardness rivals that of a diamond. The Moh scale of mineral hardness rates a diamond at 10, and anodized aluminum at 9.
This means that anodized railings do not require regular polishing or repainting to maintain their appearance. This is an essential consideration for architectural railings where regular maintenance can be difficult and costly.
Brantley High School in Altamonte Springs, FL is a notable case where GRECO supplied customized anodized picket fencing and a walkway canopy, which not only created a uniform appearance but also requires minimal upkeep.
Anodized finishes are available in a wide range of colors and textures, making them highly customizable and suitable for a variety of design applications.
A clear anodized finish is the most popular choice for metal railings because it provides a clear, silver-like appearance that is similar to untreated aluminum. Anodized finishes can also be combined with other techniques such as sandblasting, to create unique and textured finishes.
Different color options can be obtained through anodizing metals, depending on the type of metal and anodizing process used. These colors can range from clear to black, and include shades of silver, gold, and other colors. It is recommended to consult with your railing manufacturer to determine the specific color options available.
Check out GRECO’s Aluminum Railings product offerings and you’ll see a vast variety of customized railings. These pops of color and unique shapes can help bring company brands to life, adding to a building’s ambiance and status as a landmark within the community.
The durability of anodized aluminum railings also means less maintenance costs, with railings resisting the damage of time, temperature, corrosion, humidity and warping. These elements are particularly harsh in South Florida, where all anodized aluminum should meet the Class I specifications of AAMA 611-14, which includes a minimum of 10 years color retention and 3,000 hours corrosion resistance. That said, GRECO’s engineering team will help you understand the unique building specifications and product performance related to your project’s location.
Learn More About Anodizing
To see how the anodizing process works, view GRECO’s “Finishes & Coatings” YouTube playlist to view Hydro’s video “What is Aluminum Anodizing and How Does it Work | Anodizing Process Overview.”
The Aluminum Anodizers Council (AAC) is also a great resource for information related to anodized aluminum. The ACC serves as the leading international trade association for companies involved in aluminum anodizing. Their primary aim is to provide education, advocacy, and promotion for their members and end-users of anodized aluminum.
Anodized aluminum railings provide a durable, low maintenance, customizable,, and cost-effective option for commercial railings, and are just one of the many high-quality metal products and finishes offered by GRECO.
At GREGO, we assist with your commercial railing or architectural metal product design with pre-engineering support, product evaluation, test reports, product details, and specifications. We save designers time with our experience and expertise, providing the highest level of design, engineering support, and detailed drawings specific to your project. We work closely with architects and designers to ensure the right product for the job. To contact GRECO and our support teams, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 800.363.7245.