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Anodised vs. Painted

Anodising is a transparent transformation of the surface of the aluminium which preserves the authentic metallic aspect of the aluminium  but enhances the surface to create a hard, very durable layer designed to meet the challenges of an increasingly harsh environment.

Anodised alumnium remains pure aluminium with, therefore, preserves all the tactile qualities of an authentic metallic finish. It can be repeatedly recycled through simple re-melting.

The anodic film can be combined with colours but remains transparent, so that the metallic aspect remains unchanged. A number of these colours are achieved using a technology which ensures that there will be absolutely no fading over time.

Anodising is self-repairing, so that any damage to the metal or any cut surfaces will ‘heal’ naturally. It is hard and very smooth resulting in low building maintenance costs. The anodised surface may be safely cleaned with solvents to remove graffiti. It is highly resistant to scratches or chips.

Paint is purely a coating on the surface of the metal. In aspect and feel, painted aluminium cannot be distinguished from any other painted material, such as steel. It does not feel metallic to the touch.  Painted aluminium requires further processing before it can be recycled. Painted aluminium cannot resist solvents designed to remove graffiti.

Metallic colours are designed to copy the true metallic sheen of anodised aluminium but the ‘showroom’ effect soon wears off. Paint  can easily be scratched or chipped. Damage to the painted surface is likely to lead to the development and propagation of corrosion under the paint. Paint has higher building maintenance costs than anodised.

Like any organic coating, paint in whatever quality and from whatever supplier, is guaranteed to fade and ultimately guaranteed to fail because it is simply a coating.

It does not look the same and it does not feel the same as anodised aluminium. The paint industry has for years tried to convince the market that paint can compete with or even is anodised aluminium using misleading product names, bogus guarantees and trying to develop more ‘authentic’ metallic colours – but paint is always just paint.

We do not say that paint is a bad product – in certain qualities, it is cheaper than anodised - and so it should be. It is available in hundreds of colours – most of which no one actually wants.

No surprise then that when Apple were looking to create the Ipad – the iconic consumer product – and wanted to convey an impression of quality, modernity and integrity as well as to protect the product from surface damage in daily use – they chose anodised aluminium.

Whatever the aluminium painting industry may say and whatever they do, paint is not and will never be as good as anodised.


Benefits of anodised aluminium for architectural applications (PDF)

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