by Ron Joseph
Protect Aluminum Panels from Scratches
Q: I would like to ask how I can protect aluminum panels with a brush finish from scratches. What can I apply that can last for a long long time?
A: The type of coating you apply depends on where and how the brushed aluminum object will be used. Will it be exposed outdoor? What is the object? Is this for a few panels or many? Will the panels be exposed outdoors, and if so what type of environment?
As soon as you reply I will try to give you a recommendation.
Q: These aluminum panels will be part of a stair guard rail in an indoor basketball court. There are eight 4’-6”x3’-0” brush finished aluminum panels. I don’t want the panels to get scratches from the basketballs. What can be specified to treat these panels? Thank you.
A: You should be able to apply a clear, two-component (liquid) polyurethane to the brushed aluminum. Preferably, I would pretreat the aluminum with a non-chromate adhesion promoter, similar to products supplied by Henkel Surface Technologies, Chemetal-Oakite, etc. This is a standard type finish for custom coating job shops in the LA area. Alternatively, you can go to a powder coating shop and ask them to apply a clear powder coating. Again, this is a common type of finish with which the custom shops are familiar.
You might like to make a few phone calls to custom shops in your local area and get prices for both liquid and powder coatings, but I venture to guess that they will quote less for powder coatings. Both finishes will give you extended mar resistance. Finally, I suggest that before you have the panels coated, take a look at what the finish will look like after the panels have been coated. Custom coating shops will be able to show you.
P.S. There is no shortage of coating shops in the LA area.