What methods are used to color aluminum windows?
- Powder-coated finishing
- PVDF finishing
Aluminum windows appear in a wide range of colors, but did you ever wonder how they came to be that way? There are many ways to color aluminum windows. From powder coating to sublimation, many professionals use these methods to add a touch of design to your window.
However, what many don’t know is that coloring an aluminum window is about more than just aesthetics. It’s also a method of protecting and finishing. Without a protective layer, the aluminum is entirely exposed to the elements, and eventually, a chemical reaction called oxidization will occur. Over time, this oxide collects and becomes more prominent on the aluminum.
What is mill finish?
When an aluminum extrusion is created, its raw form is called mill finish.
Mill finish retains many of the original properties of cast aluminum, with its natural appearance depending on the specific metals used in its production. In general, it is characterized by flat and even surfaces with a few soft, white oxidation spots and maybe even dye and tooling marks.
While it is entirely possible to make a window or door in mill finish, the entire surface is going to be exposed and therefore unprotected. If you want to preserve the integrity, appearance, and durability of your aluminum extrusions, it’s best to add this layer of protection—and fortunately, it looks good as well.
Now that we’ve discussed architectural aluminum in its rawest form, let’s take a look at how it’s colored and protected with finishes.
Anodizing aluminum involves applying a coating of oxide that, in contrast to the natural oxide that forms when the metal is exposed to the environment, is both attractive and protective. It enhances the durability and corrosion resistance of aluminum.
This coloring method has been used to finish aluminum as early as the 1930s. It’s the only finishing process that virtually replicates the appearance of untreated aluminum, though other shades of the metal are available.
Anodized aluminum does not come in many colors, unlike its powder-coated counterparts, but it remains very popular with architects to this day because it offers high protection and retains aluminum’s original metallic appearance.
Powder coating is the most familiar kind of finish for most people, thanks to its very wide range of over 200 possible colors. The coating material is made from various resins and polymers and is often combined with pigments, flow modifiers, curing agents, or other additives.
The coating is similarly applied onto the aluminum to spray paint. The method is called electrostatic spray deposition, and in it, a powder spray tool precipitates the particles of coating onto the aluminum.
At AMC Aluminum, we powder-coat our aluminum profiles through an ISO Taiwan-made machine and utilize 3 stations of quality checking including the micron, scratch, and punch test. All this is to ensure that our aluminum windows and accessories have excellent quality, durability, design, corrosion resistance, and cost-effectiveness.
PVDF treatments use a combination of Polyvinylidene Flouride and acrylic resin. It is a method that is similar to powder coating, except instead of dry powder, it uses wet paint.
PVDF is more expensive than both powder coating and anodizing, although PVDF offers better protection as a surface coating. It’s not as scratch-resistant as the treatments mentioned above, but it provides exceptional resistance to sunlight and so is a popular choice in very intensely sunny countries.
Sublimation is the transfer of dyes onto the surface of an aluminum extrusion to create the effect of wood, granite, marble, or just about any other design. It’s widely used for consumer products like kitchen counters, benchtops, aluminum household goods, furniture, and fixtures.
The extrusion is first coated with powder-coating and then wrapped in a bag that contains the design. Air is vacuumed out of the bag to create an airtight seal, such that the pattern is “stuck” onto the aluminum. The extrusion is then baked so that the design transfers onto the aluminum, creating a very authentic appearance with a long service life.
This article discussed four of the most common ways to color aluminum windows. While there are other ways to color aluminum, these four are the methods used for architecture and building design.
Among the wide varieties of aluminum windows, those that are finished in powder coating are the premium choice for many homeowners. Here at AMC Aluminum, we provide our customers with the best powder-coated aluminum windows in the Philippines. By doing so, we ensure their longevity, versatility, and attractive design.
To know more about the colors and finishes we offer or get a quote on powder-coated aluminum windows for your home, office, or establishment, contact us today.