Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Aluminum Fences & Railing - Why an Architectural Grade Powder Coat is So Important


If you browse our online fence supply store , you'll probably notice that the Regis Ornamental Aluminum Fences and Westbury Aluminum Railing that we sell feature an AAMA Verified Architectural Grade Powder Coat and a lifetime warranty to protect against fading, rusting, chipping, and cracking.  We think that this is such an important feature, yet some people might assume that this is the norm in the aluminum fence industry, it isn't, and we're going to tell you why you should care.

So what if my aluminum powder coat isn't AAMA Verified?


Would you buy a diamond if it didn't come with 3rd party certificate verifying its authenticity and quality?  How about a used car without a vehicle history report?  Then why would you buy an aluminum fence without a VERIFIED powder coat and a lifetime warranty to back it up?


Industry standards and independent testing are an important way to establish a benchmark upon which to build trust in a product. They provide the definition of what's good, better and best according to an entire industry, not just a single company. And while they're not always perfect, 3rd party verified products that follow industry standards can provide an enhanced sense of trust and reasonable expectation of performance.

The two aluminum coating samples below underwent an accelerated weathering test equivalent to 5 years exposure in South Florida.  The sample on the left is a typical polyester powder coat commonly used by aluminum fence manufacturers.  You can see that nearly all of the original gloss is gone and a significant amount of fading has occurred.  The sample on the right is the Verified AAMA 2604 powder coat used on Regis Aluminum Fences and Westbury Aluminum Railing.  While some fading is visible, the sample still retains most of its original color and a much higher percentage of gloss . 



About the AAMA and Their Coating Standards


The AAMA (American Architectural Manufacturer's Association) is composed of companies that manufacture products used in certain residential and commercial building products like windows and doors. They establish a set of performance tests that all manufactured products must undergo if they wish to display the AAMA certification label. They also offer accreditation for 3rd party laboratories that want to perform AAMA verification services.
There are 3 levels of AAMA coating testing: AAMA 2603-02, AAMA 2604-05, and AAMA 2605-05 listed in order from least rigorous to most.   The testing requirements, which can be found here and on the AAMA website, are too detailed to list in this blog, but suffice it to say that they were designed to test that a coating performs (ie. maintains its color and gloss) to a measurable level when exposed to UV, weathering, and chemicals.

Make sure that your fence doesn't turn into this.

In summary, a high quality powder coat is the best way to ensure that your aluminum fence maintains it's color and shine for years to come; and, in our opinion, the best way to ensure a quality powder coat is to have it independently verified against the AAMA standards.
For more information on aluminum fencing products, check out our Understanding Ornamental Aluminum Guide

No comments:

Post a Comment