Why Use Aluminum for Exterior Elements?
Our last blog was about the differences between steel versus aluminum but this blog dives deeper into why aluminum is the ideal choice in the Division 10 sun protection space.
Aluminum is a long-lasting material because it will never rust. Steel rusts quickly, especially when exposed to oxygen and moisture. A high affinity to oxygen is the key to why aluminum is so resistant to corrosion. Exposure to air allows aluminum to form a thin film of aluminum oxide. These natural properties make aluminum an excellent material to be used in exterior sun protection and decorative elements.
As a naturally occurring ore, aluminum is 100% recyclable, permitting the material to be used over and over again. Due to its high durability, the material also never loses its value as it’s reused. Today, nearly 75% of all aluminum ever produced is still in use. The aluminum industry as a whole is working to reduce its carbon footprint and provide a better future for everyone.
Compared to aluminum, steel is a man-made alloy but it can also be recycled to give it a new life. Even so, steel rust requires a chemical treatment to remove rust and requires more heavy maintenance. If rust is not cared for, it can bleed onto final finishes and concrete, even flowing as runoff into the water supply.
Aluminum can be welded or mechanically fastened, making it a very versatile material to create different opportunities for unique aesthetics in the construction space. Aluminum is three times lighter than steel and just as strong. This weight difference makes the material more flexible to work with in the field and easier to install.
Steel’s heavier weight requires the highest safety measures of any material when welded in the field. As mentioned previously, aluminum’s properties require less maintenance over time so the end user is much less impacted.