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Selecting Aluminum Finishes for Coastal Areas by Tammy Schroeder Photos © Photos courtesy Super Sky Products Enterprises COASTAL AREAS ARE BEAUTIFUL LOCATIONS FOR COMMERCIAL AND RESIDENTIAL BUILDINGS, BUT ALSO POSE THE GREATEST CHALLENGES IN PROTECTING EXTERIOR- FACING ARCHITECTURAL ALUMINUM PRODUCTS FROM CORROSION. ALUMINUM WINDOWS, STOREFRONTS, ENTRANCES AND CURTAIN WALLS, SUN SHADES, CANOPIES, SKYLIGHTS, COLUMN COVERS, RAINSCREENS, AND EXTERIOR PANELS ALL INTEGRALLY CONNECT TO A BUILDING’S FAÇADE. WITHOUT PROPER PRECAUTIONS AND FINISHES, CORROSION TO THESE COMPONENTS CAN DAMAGE THE BUILDING ENVELOPE’S STRUCTURAL INTEGRITY, LEADING TO SYSTEMIC FAILURE. Specifiers can successfully select a painted coating or anodize finish meeting a project’s required performance and long- term durability by carefully considering the building’s location and function, the owner’s desired visual appearance and environmental attributes, and the architectural aluminum products’ proximity to dissimilar metals. What defines a ‘coastal’ environment has been debated for decades. The American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA) Coastal Corrosion Task Group continues to discuss the definition for sites far from saltwater, but still with high atmospheric alkaline concentration (e.g. Detroit and Dallas). The Qualicoat Standard, the specification for coated architectural aluminum in the United Kingdom and Ireland, defines coastal as within 5 km (2.8 mi) from any coast or tidal estuary. 12 the construction specifier | march 2013 CS_Mar2013.indd 12 2/14/13 9:59:55 AM