PRODUCTS

Paint & Finishes

Over the years, the demand for a greater variety of finish types and colors for aluminum frames has resulted in new technologies with more choices. These new choices have complicated the selection of finishes. One finish may be more desirable than the next, depending on what characteristic you are looking for.

First some education on the two ways of applying a finish to aluminum: anodizing and painting.

Painted Finishes
Paint Colors

Kynar 70% (Std 2-Coat, Non-Exotic) – Special Order

Kynar 70% XL (Custom 3-Coat, Exotic) – Special Order

Kynar 70% Metallic (Custom 4-Coat) – Special Order

 

The painting process we use to coat our products is unlike typical painting. If cared for properly, the factory finish can last a lifetime (Care & Maintenance Instructions). A brief explanation of the wet paint process follows:

 

First, every stick of aluminum is sanded by hand to remove surface debris before it is chemically pre-treated to allow the paint to bond.

 

Second, the paint is applied by robotic arms while it is electrically charged. Most colors require two coats to achieve proper quality but brighter colors require a third clear, coat. The only paint Fleetwood offers is best known as Kynar 500. This paint has a unique ingredient of 70% fluoropolymer resin, which is designed to retain color integrity in the harshest environments.

 

Finally, each stick of aluminum is heat-treated at about 400°F to cure the paint, and then packaged and delivered to production. If any extrusion requires a thermal break, we insert the thermal material (polyurethane or polymide) before delivering to production.

 

Custom finish aluminum is stunningly beautiful. Customers choosing such finishes need to be aware of the process and the inherent risk of delays. In some cases, delays may add 4-6 weeks to the production time when extrusions are rejected by Fleetwood’s Quality Control.

Anodized Finishes
Anodized Finishes
Clear Anodized, Class I – Stock
Dark Bronze Anodized, Class I – Stock
Custom Earth Tones – Special Order

 

One of the unique traits of aluminum is its ability to be anodized, a process like no other. There are several grades of anodizing but Fleetwood uses the best: Class I. Among many other notable uses, the U.S. military also uses it on their aircraft to protect against corrosion. If cared for properly, anodizing can last a lifetime (Care & Maintenance Instructions).

 

What is involved in the anodizing process?

 

First, we apply a proprietary treatment to all surface areas of the aluminum to remove cooling lines and other natural imperfections. Fleetwood is the only aluminum window manufacturer that provides this level of quality.

 

Second, each stick of aluminum is cleaned in multiple bath solutions to prepare it for anodizing.

 

Third, each stick is submerged in a bath of electrically charged hydrochloric acid. The chemical reaction changes aluminum oxide to aluminum hydrate in the grain of the aluminum, creating an exceptionally hard surface.

 

Finally, each extrusion is dipped into a chemical solution that seals the new, harder anodized surface. Anodizing is naturally “clear” so if an earth tone color is desired, the clear anodized metal is dipped in a color tank before sealing. Fleetwood offers a Light Bronze, Medium Bronze, and Dark Bronze, the latter of which is a stock finish. Custom anodized metal is not an exact science and variations will exist from part to part. If precise color matching is required, we recommend paint.

CUSTOM FINISH VOLATILITY

Fleetwood is the only manufacturer in its class to offer so many custom colors and finishes. Though the beauty of these finishes is undeniable, the process is susceptible to delays, which are sometimes necessary in order to make sure the finishes are perfect.

Watch Video
Galvanic Corrosion
Defined: An electro-chemical reaction in which one metal preferentially corrodes if bonded to a dissimilar metal by an electrolyte (e.g. salt water).

 

If two metals have differing electrode potentials and they are bonded by an electrolyte, the reaction from the electrolyte causes the more noble metal (the cathode) to remove mass from the more active metal (the anode).

 

For galvanic corrosion to occur, three elements are required. Removing one makes the reaction impossible.

  1. Dissimilar metals (cathode and anode)
  2. Metal-to-metal contact
  3. A conductive solution (electrolyte)

 

 

Corrosion rates might increase in the presence of greater electrode differences. The “galvanic series” has been developed to list the various metals in order from most noble to most active:

For example, if a noble metal like titanium is bridged by an electrolyte (like water) to an active metal like zinc, galvanic corrosion will likely occur.