Anodized Aluminum Building Facade
Part of our work is to assess the condition of buildings for our clients. We have recently heard that anodized aluminum panels on the outside of a building would last only about 50 years before they have to be re-anodized to the tune of about $1M. My research, so far, has yielded no information either pro or con. I’m a structural engineer and I’m not all that knowledgeable about anodized metals, but I’m guessing that an anodized panel would last as long as the building, although it might fade, or become stained. Is there an estimated useful life (EUL) for architectural anodized aluminum? J.M.
I’ll give you the short answer and if you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.
Generally speaking, a Class I architectural anodized finish, as designated in AAMA 611-92, is considered a 100 year finish if it has been processed meticulously to the process standards. The conditions under which the parts are anodized and sealed will ultimately tell the tale as to whether the anodic coating will last that long.
It’s not quite as simple as that, however, because the local environment can affect the useful life of the finish, as well (just as it affects paint, masonry, etc.). Stained, or even mildly oxidized (corroded), architectural anodized aluminum can most often be cleaned and restored without the necessity of removing and re-anodizing, which is impractical. There are professional companies out there who do this and the results are most often quite remarkable.
The year 2020 will be here before you know it, signaling the beginning of a new decade and bringing changes to the world as we know it.
Many industries that require innovative solutions in cost reduction and weight savings are turning to aluminum as a substitute for stainless steel and other carbon steel alloys for parts and components.
Benefits of anodizing include durability, color stability, ease of maintenance, aesthetics, cost of initial finish and the fact that it is a safe and healthy process. Maximizing these benefits to produce a high–performance aluminum finish can be accomplished by incorporating test procedures in the manufacturing process.