Mechanical – Being a relatively soft metal, aluminium can easily be altered by using abrasive methods including but not limited to polishing, buffing.
Anodising – The metal is immersed in usually dilute sulphuric acid. This process thickens the natural oxide layer to provide greater protection. The dense layer is an integral part of the aluminium and cannot peel or flake. Anodising aluminium can be highly aesthetically pleasing a well as offering protection. Aluminium can be polished, chemically brightened and anodised to give a beautiful mirror finish (like chrome). Although natural satin silver is most popular and most cost effective coloured anodising is also possible and available in a wide range of colours from black, bronze, gold to red, green, blue or even pink!
Powder coating – A surface treatment which is simply put, paint without solvent. It provides excellent UV protection which makes outdoor use possible. With a normal thickness of 60 – 80 microns, and applied correctly, it is very durable and the life expectancy can easily be between 15 – 20 years.
Although most of the coatings may look similar, special care should be taken when deciding on which finish to apply. Factors such as lifespan, quality over time, abrasion resistance and proven standards should be considered before applying any finishing.