Aluminium is among the most flexible design materials available, being both durable and lightweight, it’s a maintenance free alternative for a range of applications. Combine these aspects with its fire resistance and finishing options, and aluminium becomes a hugely attractive option for feature wall, ceiling and facade linings.
Sculptform offers a variety of aluminium finishes for our Click-on Battens, Click-on Cladding and Facade Blade systems, and often designers need to make the hard decision between whether to choose a powder coat, anodised or a wood finish.
Covered in this article –
- Pros and cons of powder coat, anodised and wood finishes
- Project images
- The process behind each finish
Find out more below, or contact us to discuss how aluminium can help your design.
Overall benefits of aluminium
Aluminium has strengths which are constant, no matter which finishing option is used. These benefits are examples of why aluminium is a valuable material choice for feature linings on walls, ceiling or facades.
Aluminium battens satisfy fire requirements for most projects due to their extremely high level of fire resistance. Contact us to discuss the certification required for your project.
Aluminium is the ultimate recyclable material. Finishing options for our aluminium battens and blades emit very low volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and all profiles are easily recyclable.
Aluminium is available in up to 6-metre lengths, allowing for large spans between fixings. The strong yet lightweight properties of aluminium give it the unique ability to span lengths, and being a man-made material ensures that the necessary lengths are always available.
Virtually zero maintenance
Aluminium linings on feature walls and ceilings require very little to no maintenance, giving clients peace of mind for the future of their building.
Anodised aluminium provides a unique metallic finish with levels of variation, which can either help or hinder the design and needs to be considered when choosing this finish.
What is anodising?
Anodising is an electro-chemical treatment of the aluminium resulting in a hard durable finish that maintains the beauty and natural metallic lustre of aluminium while reinforcing its natural ability to withstand the elements. Anodising is an integral finish, that cannot flake, peel or blister.
Aluminium anodised finishes, result in the controlled formation of an oxide layer which is much harder, more durable and about a thousand times thicker than the thin oxide layer naturally formed. It has excellent tolerance in coastal environments and its appearance proves popular in architecturally designed features.
The anodisation process involves submerging the aluminium in an electrolytic solution bath, then passing an electric current through. This process thickens the corrosion resistant oxide layer on the surface of the aluminium.
Why use anodised aluminium?
- Beautiful variation
Anodised aluminium provides a small amount of variation, as the chemical process for each batch varies slightly. This avoids the extreme consistency of other finishes like powder coating, without disrupting the overall aesthetic.
- Extremely durable
The finish on anodised aluminium will never peel or chip, as it is part of the material rather than a traditional coating. The coating also creates a surface much harder than other finishing options.
- Metallic Look
The anodisation process can deliver unique metallic colours which are difficult to achieve with other finishes.
Reasons to avoid anodised aluminium
- Easily scratched
The beautiful metallic finish of anodised aluminium is susceptible to scratching, especially during installation. These scratches can stand out and affect the overall look of the project.
- Inconsistent colouring
The process of anodisation provides colour to the aluminium, which can have small amounts of variation between batches or even between each piece. This differentiation makes anodised aluminium a more ‘authentic’ material, however, it should not be used if a consistent finish is required over the entire project.
Powder coated aluminium
Providing an incredible variety of colours, powder coated aluminium gives an extremely consistent finish that is resistant to scratching.
What is powder coating?
The process of powder coating aluminium involves baking a coloured powder onto the surface of the metal. A spray gun applies an electrostatic charge to the particles of the powder, then applies them to the grounded metal, which they are attracted to. After application, the aluminium enters a large curing oven where a chemical reaction takes place within the powder and creates the consistent powder coated finish.
Why use powder coated aluminium?
- Huge range of colours available
Sculptform can provide powder coating in almost any colour, with matt, gloss or even textured finishes available. Our range of colours is available here. If a custom colour is required, we can provide any powder coat colour from the Dulux or Interpon range.
- Scratch resistant
The powder coat finish on aluminium is extremely scratch resistant and robust enough to be used in high-traffic areas.
- Consistent Colouring
Each and every powder coated aluminium surface will have the exact colouring required, ensuring a consistent look over the whole project.
Powder coating is an inexpensive and flexible solution for providing the required finish on aluminium.
Reasons to avoid powder coat aluminium
- The thickness of the coating
The powder coat finish can look ‘thick’, which causes a higher gloss finish. The flat colouring of powder coat can also be seen as unappealing and disruptive to the overall aesthetic.
- Extended lead times
Powder coating requires a longer lead time than other finishes, as it is not performed within our factory.
Sculptform offers two options for wrapped aluminium, our Wood Finish Aluminium range and our Real Timber Veneer.
How does wrapped aluminium work?
For both options a thin veneer is wrapped around our aluminium products. Wrapping takes place in our Australian factory, allowing us to ensure the signature Sculptform level of quality.
Why use Wood Finish Aluminium?
- A variety of applications
Our wood finish range can be used for interior or exterior applications, allowing for seamless transitions between areas.
- Resistant to fade
We have weather tested our wood finish wraps and found that they are up to three times more resistant to fade than other wood look aluminium products on the market.
- A timber aesthetic
While not being real timber, our wraps provide the natural look of real timber battens.
- A range of species
10 colours are available in our wrap range, each matched to a real timber finish.
Why use Real Timber Veneer
- Its real timber!
While our wood finish options can match the timber aesthetic, the variation of real timber is extremely hard to replicate. Our real timber veneer can provide this level of variation, giving the authentic look and warmth of timber.
- A consistent palette
With White Oak, Walnut, Blackbutt and Spotted Gum species available in real timber veneer, you can easily match the timber colour palette of the rest of your project.
Interested? Have any questions?
Contact our support team at email@example.com or give us a call on 1800 008 828.