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.

Paint
Paint Colors

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

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

 

Painting is where most of the advances in finishing technology have been developed in recent years. Fleetwood promotes only finishes that meet the AAMA 2605 specification, which is the best available in the market.

 

AAMA 2605 is the highest grade paint and is made with a fluoropolymer resin and marketed as 70% Kynar. Kynar paints are excellent in regard to retaining their color in harsh environments. They are typically applied in a two-coat system, but, depending on the color a third or even fourth coat may be required. These third and fourth coats are only needed for some exotic and metallic colors. Kynar paints also have a “Teflon” like surface and are easily cleaned.

 

Chemical resistance and resistance to sunlight are the strengths of Kynar coatings. Kynar paints are tested under the South Florida sun for durability and offer the best color, gloss retention and corrosion resistance. They are also the softest and will scratch or mar more easily than an anodized finish. Fleetwood offers thousands of standard Kynar colors that can be selected from most any paint catalog. Simply give Fleetwood the UC Number and it will be matched to your satisfaction. As well, Fleetwood offers designer colors that are created by you or your design team. Once you have created your unique color, Fleetwood only needs a physical sample.

 

When considering paint over anodizing you have to be realistic about its nature. By nature, paint is consistent in finish color and sheen whereas anodizing is inconsistent in both. However, it is this irregularity that exudes the natural “character” of anodized finishes. As one looks at an anodized finish they are actually looking at the metal surface behind the finish whereas painting hides these imperfections. Get samples of both before you make your final decision. Our Authorized Dealers have samples to show you and upon request we will be happy to mail you some.

 

Costs
Many factors have to be considered in the costs of each finish. Not only is there the cost of the actual coating, but also there is whether the window manufacturer considers that finish stock or custom. Stock finishes are what a manufacturer has on the factory floor. Material comes off the shelf, and any material that is left over goes back on the shelf.

 

Custom colors must be shipped to a custom finish applicator. Unused material is recycled. Applicators have minimum order requirements. Many painters have their own standard colors, and using one of them will not reduce cost but it will save time. Each custom color has its own recipe and when a new color is being formulated it takes an extra two weeks.

 

Custom colors requiring only two coats are the least expensive. Earth tones are the most popular color range offered in this system. Then come the bright whites and micas. Micas have a metallic look, and, because the sparkle is achieved by the use of pearlescent mica flakes, a third topcoat is not required.

 

Next in the scale of costs are the exotic and ‘XL’ metallic colors. Bright yellow, orange, blue, green, red (and more) are examples of exotic colors that require a third coat. Some very bright colors even require a fourth coat. Metallic colors that achieve their sparkle with aluminum flakes require a third coat.

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

 

Anodizing is an electrochemical process of converting the aluminum surface to aluminum oxide (controlled corrosion). Each extrusion is treated in a series of baths: 1. Cleaning 2. Etching 3. Desmutting 4. Anodizing 5. Coloring (if needed) 6. Sealing. Rinsing is done between each step to minimize chemicals being transferred into the next step.

 

The anodizing step involves passing an AC current through the extrusions, using the sulfuric acid as a medium. The oxide layer is formed and pores are created. For colors, the element is trapped in the pores then sealed. This process produces a hard surface that is long lasting, resists scratching and abrasion, and provides excellent protection from the sun’s ultraviolet rays. Because this coating is an integral part of the aluminum, it will not peel or chalk, but, because the surface is still aluminum, it has minimum resistance to alkaline and acid.

 

An anodized finish can have a rich aluminum tone called clear anodized, or an earth tone color can be added. Anodizing gives aluminum a deeper, richer metallic appearance that is not possible with paint. Anodizing is less affected by sunlight than paint. Because of variables such as temperature, aluminum composition, etc., slight variations in color and gloss will exist. This is to be expected, and it is important that this characteristic be considered when choosing anodizing. The unique process of anodizing reveals the natural character of extruded and fabricated aluminum, especially Clear Anodize. To accentuate the natural beauty of clear anodizing Fleetwood adds a unique, proprietary process before anodizing. The process manipulates the aluminum surface to soften “cooling lines” commonly found in most aluminum products. If exact color uniformity is required, painting is a better choice. One reason clear and dark bronze have become the industry standard anodized colors is because they have the least amount of color variation and are therefore easier to reproduce and match earlier batches.

 

The American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA), in its performance specification AAMA 611, designates anodized coatings as Architectural Class I and Architectural Class II. They represent the thickness of the anodized coating. Commercial Class anodized material has an average of .2 mil coating thickness, while Class I is .7 mil or greater. Thicker anodized coatings are less susceptible to weathering and more resistant to corrosion and scratching. Fleetwood’s stock Dark Bronze and Clear anodized are Class I.

 

To keep your anodized windows and doors looking new, follow Fleetwood’s Care & Maintenance Instructions.

 

When considering anodizing over paint you have to be realistic about its nature. By nature, paint is consistent in finish color and sheen whereas anodizing is inconsistent in both. However, it is this irregularity that exudes the natural “character” of anodized finishes. As one looks at an anodized finish they are actually looking at the metal surface behind the finish whereas painting hides these imperfections. Get samples of both before you make your final decision. If a custom shade is desired (Medium Bronze or Light Bronze), expect a full shade variation on each side of the ordered color. Our Authorized Dealers have samples to show you and upon request we will be happy to mail you some.

 

As illustrated in the three images below, even dark bronze anodizing appears to change color under different light and angles. The fourth image is of natural wood flooring that shows desired color changes from plank to plank. Similarly, anodizing is a natural material and is therefore an artistic finish.

 

color variation1  color variation2  color variation3  wood flooring

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.