How much maintenance does aluminium require?
Already inherently durable, most architectural aluminium products are additionally pretreated and coated, allowing them to further endure difficult environments.
But because pollutants and contaminants can eventually take their toll, periodic cleaning is recommended to preserve a decorative finish almost indefinitely. For anodised aluminium facades, a simple pressure wash is often enough. For powder coated aluminium, a mild detergent solution can be used.
Always, however, consult a technical consultant at a leading coating manufacturer such as Dulux or Interpon for project-specific maintenance solutions.
How concerned should we be about fire with aluminium?
Aluminium is classified as a non-combustible construction material. While not flammable, it will melt when subjected to temperatures above 600°C.
This meltdown, however, does not release harmful gases into the air during a fire. In fact, it is calculated to allow heat and smoke to escape from a burning structure, resulting in less structural damage.
Does aluminium corrode?
Left untreated, aluminium already resists corrosion admirably because of the thin layer of aluminium oxide that naturally forms on its surface when exposed to air. When it is anodised, the thickness of this protective layer is magnified by several degrees.
In severe environments, potential corrosion problems can be managed with proper architectural planning and a pragmatic maintenance program.
Is aluminium durable?
Aluminium is alloyed with (among other elements) magnesium, silicon, and zinc to increase its strength-to-weight ratio, corrosion resistance, and UV-shielding properties.
In "Aluminium and Durability: Towards Sustainable Cities," Michael Stacey (Chair in Architecture at University of Nottingham, Director of the Architecture + Tectonics Research Group + MSA) uses numerous case studies of buildings, some of them decades old, and concludes that “aluminium-based architecture… is performing well in our towns, cities, and rural landscapes. The durability of this aluminium architecture should be recognised and celebrated.”