Saturday 13th November, 2010
As powder coated aluminium increasingly features at roof systems company Ultraframe, Marketing Manager Mark Hanson outlines the areas that fitters need to be aware of when handling these products.
At the core of Ultraframe’s roofing systems is extruded aluminium structural profiles that carry all wind ,snow and live loads. Traditionally, the external capping material has been uPVC. Easy to handle, and very forgiving it has been the material of choice for 25 years.
Now due to a number of drivers, aluminium is becoming more popular as the finish of choice externally. It starts from a very low penetration levels and whilst it will undoubtably grow in volume, it’s difficult to see penetration levels threatening the dominance of uPVC.
The drivers that are increasing penetration are numerous and include;
- a desire for a wider choice of colour
- shorter lead times for the tooling of new products
- planners and conservation officers shaping material choices
Ultraframe has on the market it’s Cornice, a decorative fascia that hides the uPVC gutter and gives the conservatory a whole new look – the company has also a full aluminium roof available now too.
One of the adjustments that retailers have to make when using aluminium, is that the lead time is usually slightly extended. When the painting process is understood, it’s easier to understand and make allowances for this.
The Cornice or roof need to be factory fabricated and then the roof dismantled before the parts are sent for powder coating. The first part of the process is cleaning, which is critical to ensure good paint adhesion. A multistage process of immersion tank dipping and then drying is used to prep the profiles.
Once clean,the profiles are suspended from a jig and passed through a paint booth where the powder is applied by spray guns. Once the powder is applied it passes through a curing oven where the particles melt and fuse together to form a smooth, uniform durable finish.
Retailers can choose from an extensive palette, based on the German colour reference system RAL, established in 1927. There is a choice of gloss, satin or matt finishes and metallics are available too .For external usage – obviously roofs – polyester powders are used to 50-80 microns depth.
Whilst durable and with guaranteed coating lifetimes of up to 40 years, there is additional care and attention needed at the fitting stages.
This six point checklist might prove useful to those fitting/handling powder coated aluminium products;
1. General Handling. Care is needed from the moment the delivery takes place– always carefully inspect upon receipt and mark the delivery note accordingly if there are issues Be careful when storing in workshps and tieing on to van racks. Be aware of any knives being used to slit packaging and duly cautious – like any other product – when manually handling long lengths
2. Install using the correct tools and protective coverings. For example, Ultraframe recommends a timber block be used when tapping products into place. Always be aware of the impact of swarf on the coating
3. Grease marks,dirt and mastic spillage may be removed using white spirit which will not softon the paint. Under no circumstances should additional filming be undertaken or clear lacquers applied.
4. Should any site cutting or drainage slots need cutting the cuts should be coated with an air drying paint system including a primer/corrosion inhibitor and a top coat and/or a suitable gap sealant to prevent the onset of corrosion – this is critical in marine or other aggressive environments.
5. Should the paint be damaged and bare aluminium is the result, carefully;
- use fine 120-360 grit abrasive paper
- clean with wipe spirit
- ensure surface is dry – apply a thin priming coat with a fine brush
- apply air drying top coat with the fine brush
6. Some gaskets used by alternative providers have been manufactured with silicones or have used silicone sprays in the extrusion process – this can be a problem when self cleaning glass is used, however with the Ultraframe system, all the gaskets have been approved by Pilkington for use with their Activ glass.
It should be noted that polyester powder coatings are not maintenance free – the extent of cleaning depends upon the local environment and on the attitude of the consumer ( think cars here…..if the consumer wants a finish like that, more regular cleaning is needed and ikt’s important to manager their expectations). All paints will ‘chalk’ to some extent and their will be a reduction in gloss level over time – this can be restored using a renovating cream like CIF or perhaps T-cut. Once dry, buffing can take place - for added protection, a wax polish can be applied up to twice per year.
And so, with just a little bit of pre-planning and attention to detail on site, aluminium trimming components can look stunning. Ultraframe will continue to invest its aluminium suite.
View a copy of this article as it appeared in Conservatory Magazine
Ultraframe deliver innovative and top quality conservatory roof systems for the trade which suit all styles, all applications, all consumer types and which offer excellent value for money.
The market leading company invests heavily in research and development to provide the most technologically advanced and stylish conservatory roofing solutions, maximising light and space. Ultraframe are at the forefront of conservatory design and its systems are mainly used in the home improvement sector but also in new housing and commercial applications in the UK and Europe.
In 2006 the privately owned Latium Group, which has many interests within the glass & glazing and home improvement markets acquired Ultraframe. The Latium Group is owned by entrepreneur Brian Kennedy.
For further media information:
Ultraframe (UK) Ltd