Aquatic anodising gone wrong

Professionals don’t let professionals specify the wrong aluminium finish for a project

It’s complicated. As with much in life, determining the correct anodising product for a project needs to factor in a lot of variables.

  • will the system be installed internally or externally?
  • will the system be installed in a wet area, like a bathroom or kitchen?
  • will the system be installed in a marine environment, tropical environment or industrial area?

The answers to these questions dictates the appropriate finish for an aluminium system.

  • mild interior atmospheric classification = 10 micron layer and a 12 month cleaning schedule
  • moderate interior atmospheric classification = 10 micron layer and a 1 to 3 month cleaning schedule
  • mild exterior atmospheric classification = 15 micron layer and a 12 month cleaning schedule
  • moderate exterior atmospheric classification = 15, 20 and 25 micron layer and a 9 month cleaning schedule
  • severe exterior atmospheric classification = 25 micron layer and a 1, 3 or 6 month cleaning schedule
  • tropical exterior atmospheric classification = 25 micron layer and a 6 month cleaning schedule

When someone chooses micron layer not suited to the environment, things can go wrong. Very, very wrong.



We came across an example of this recently with a system that had been installed in an aquatic centre.

As the images demonstrate, the aluminium was shockingly corroded and completely falling apart. All in all, the state of breakdown was entirely unacceptable given the age of the centre.

Despite the system being installed in a facility with a severe atmospheric classification, indicating a 25 micron layer, our tests on the samples indicate the aluminium received only a 12 micron layer of anodising. The aquatic centre environment is severe and the breakdown of the aluminium is extreme. However, buildings in coastal environments and heavy industrial areas exhibit similar, although somewhat less extensive, deterioration. Getting the specification correct for anodising of an architectural project really is vitally important to the longevity of a structure.

To aid you in specifying anodising and powder coating, our team developed these handy selector graphics.

Team EDGE and EDGE Consult can offer consultative support, as well. Contact us to meet with one of our experts.

In addition to specification, it’s crucial the maintenance recommendations be followed.


Think of it like a car

If a vehicle does receive the right protective coating and manufacturer maintenance standards aren’t completed, the metal will show it.

Let’s say you and your neighbour each buy a new, same model BMW. You park your car in the garage. Your neighbour parks his car on the street leaving it exposed to the elements and vulnerable to pollution, animals, wind, kids playing ball, other cars, etc. You wash your car once a month, removing debris and contaminants. Your neighbour washes his car once or twice a year. Even though you both purchased the same high performance vehicle, after a few years, you’ll have two totally different cars.

Surface finishing for aluminium window and door systems is just the same. The first step is getting the right finish for the environment. The second step is following the ongoing care and maintenance requirements.

The good news is, by getting both right, you get a beautiful finish with vibrant colour on window and door systems that perform fantastically for years and years and year.