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Painted vs Anodized

With all the different types of coating products on the market today it is very important to note the differences between them and understand the advantages of them both. Visual appeal, durability, coloration, and cost all play a role in deciding what product fits your need the best. Here at Americlad/Quality Metalcrafts, LLC we specialize in painted and anodized products, but want to give you accurate information and the knowledge to understand their unique differences.

Anodizing was first developed over 90 years ago to protect materials from corrosion. Since then, new procedures have been developed to fit the needs of today’s marketplace. According to the Aluminum Anodizers Council, “The anodized aluminum layer is formed by taking an aluminum object, placing it in an electrolytic solution, and passing direct through the objects.” This adds a protective and translucent layer to the metal surface which can be ideal for high traffic areas. Anodic coatings are durable and weather-resistant. Since Anodic Coatings grows integrally from the base aluminum, it cannot peel off. It is essentially a part of the aluminum.

When deciding on whether to go with anodized or painted finishes there are a few things to consider. One thing to factor is color choice. Anodizing has a very limited color choices. Painting has a clear advantage over anodizing as you are not limited to the six finishes: clear, champagne, light bronze, medium bronze, dark bronze, and black. Paint has an almost unlimited color pallet and with few exceptions, you can match almost any color.

Another drawback with anodizing is that it is very difficult to maintain a color consistency or otherwise known as the checker boarding effect. To properly anodize material with consistency you need proper equipment and expertise and even that is no guarantee. For example, different lots of aluminum can anodize in different shades. The checker boarding effect is visible when the final product gets installed on the job site, these different shades

are clearly visible from ground level.

The checker boarding effect is visible when the final product gets installed on the job site, these different shades are clearly visible from ground level.We can try to control that shade by using material from the same lot of aluminum but we can’t say for certain that it’s going to anodize the same. Overall, paint is much easier to match with different lots of material.

With the wide variety of color options paint allows you to differentiate your project from others by creating your own signature look.

Some of the benefits of painted products is that they offer great UV resistance, have more consistency throughout the project, a longer warranty life, field touch up capabilities, and protection from the elements. In high traffic areas, painted products can be beneficial for possible replacement parts. If something were to happen, we can go back to the painter with that exact color code to match and color variation will be a lot less in comparison to anodized products. When dealing with a project that has the possibility of salt spray or humid areas, painted products can offer a great benefit by having a protective layer over the metal. This layer tends to be more resistant to corrosion or mortar staining and can be restored easier than anodized finishes.

Some drawback to painted finishes is even though they are resistant to damage they can still be scratched. Depending on the damage it could be fixed with touch up paint. Another issues we run into is metallic finishes. When the painter applies a metallic finish there is a distinct grain direction. This grain direction will reflect light differently on the final product. If you were to install a metallic painted wall panel system where the grain direction was applied in different directions, the wall would appear to have different shades of the same exact color throughout the job. Of course, with a well thought out, proper application of the product, this is non-factor.

Painted and anodized products have their distinct advantages and differences. When trying to determine what application fits your job the best please contact Americlad and we will help you through the process to get the best finish possible.

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