How to Clean Aluminum Siding

Clean Aluminum Siding

It is essential to Clean Aluminum siding to maintaining the beauty of a facility and make it look fabulous like its first day of construction. Aluminum Siding is one of the most popular choices for building facades across Canada and the world. The durability and versatility of this cladding system are some of the many reasons behind its popularity. Aluminum sidings can last long if cleaned and maintained correctly. However, many homeowners who choose this type of cladding material do not know how to clean aluminum siding. For getting the most out of this product, it is required to invest some money and time to keep it looking like it is straight out of the factory. There are various methods available to clean aluminum siding, and each one has its unique advantages and challenges. However, all systems follow one principle, which is introduced in this article.

Methods used for Cleaning Aluminum Siding

Before choosing the appropriate cleaning method for aluminum sidings, it is essential to learn about techniques used for the purpose. The followings are a few of the practical cleaning systems that can wash the building’s cladding material thoroughly.

Rinsing: Like running a dishwasher on the rinse cycle before using the standard process to have better results, it is necessary to deliver a quick rinse before performing the metal siding’s primary cleaning. The rinsing can be accomplished with a well-directed stream of water from any source of water, especially from a hose. It is crucial to direct the spray in a downward direction over the cladding material. Suppose the spraying is done in the upward drift. In that case, it will cause water penetration under the material by gaining entry in the drainage holes located under the lower section of the aluminum siding. This can also happen in the ACM panel cleaning process. Most of the grime and dirt will fall be cleaned with a simple rinse. However, it is recommended to work from top to bottom.

Hand Washing: The easiest DIY method to clean aluminum siding is hand washing. By using this technique, homeowners can remove any dirt remaining on the building’s cladding. Utilize a bucket of warm water with cleaning solutions along with a soft-bristled brush and start scrubbing any grime existing on the siding. It is essential to clean with the length of the siding product, starting at the top and proceeding downward. For preventing the surface from drying out, it is better to do the cleaning in few meters from top to bottom and then do the rinsing. Wash dirt and soap off using a hose, directing the stream in a descending trail. If there are still stains on the product’s surface, it is required to use the mildew or pressure washing method.

Mildew: If there are stains caused by mold, it is practical to use a solution of one part bleach and four-part water and then spray the mixture on the spots. The cleaning method for removing mildew will often be required in more humid areas. Scrubbing with just a simple soft brush and water with detergents will not obliterate the mold thoroughly.

Pressure Washing: For more persistent stains, using a pressure wash to clean aluminum siding will be necessary. These machines can be obtained or rented at affordable prices from home improvement centers. Utilize a pressure washer that accommodated the mixing of the water and the cleaner together. Never use potent pressure due to the potential damages it can cause to the cladding material. This technique will remove every dirt, and it requires top to bottom workflow.

Choosing a Cleaning Method

The essential step to clean aluminum siding or other cladding products including ACM panels is choosing the suitable method for the material. As told, various systems can be used to complete the cleaning process with the best results. There are primary tasks to do before starting the process, which is as followed:

  1. Check for Rotting or Loose Panels: It is essential to remove or replace siding panels or recyclable ACP materials that show signs of damages or rots. Always nail and fix considerably loose boards. Always avoid using the pressure washing method until the fixing and repairing are done completely. Pressure washing can increase the instability and push water through the aluminum siding and soak into the building’s structure. If the homeowner is not confident with the DIY repair process, it would be best to contact a trustable siding contractor.
  2. Check the Aluminum Siding for Mildew: The second thing to check is to look for green, grey, or black stains while examining any grooves and the bottom of the cladding when the owner decides to clean aluminum siding. This step is essential for the area of the building that does not get much sunlight. For destroying and cleaning mildew, using the most potent cleanser is required. Even pressure washing will not prevent decay from growing back quickly.
  3. Look for Chalking on the Siding with Paint Finish: The last step for choosing the best method to clean aluminum siding is to put work gloves on and rub gloved hands on the surface of the cladding material. Consider using the pressure washing technique if there are signs of chalking, dirt, or grime on the gloves.

Rainscreen Construction Principle (Part II)

Rainscreen Construction Principle

Rainscreen Construction Principle basic idea is to have an exterior surface or cladding layer that can break the force of sideways, wind load, water movement, resulting in preventing water penetration into the building’s structure. For most of the buildings, from modern to traditional ones, water is the biggest enemy. However, producing a complete watertight cladding system is challenging. Thus, manufacturers started working on the rainscreen construction principle decades ago to provide better protection for the constructions in the city. Rainscreen comes in different styles and types. One of the most popular types is the ACM panels or ACP materials used widely in the modern era. These particular products offer numerous advantages along with their waterproof characteristics.

In the rainscreen construction principle part 1, we discussed the basics of these practical systems and their structure that engineers designed for better watertight characteristics. This article covers essential information about this principle that anyone in the building industry must know.

Rainscreen Construction Principle Types

The rain screen construction principle is based upon two distinct and separate barriers on the building’s cladding. The outer barrier controls most rainwater while the inner leaf performs multiple functions, including moisture and air barrier, insulation, and the structural wall. The outer section allows the water to penetrate through open joinery, and the volume of the penetration depends on the design principle. This is where two distinct types of products come into the picture: the Drained/Back-ventilated and Pressure-equalized/Compartmented systems.

Both rainscreen systems are available in ACM panels cladding materials and different siding for the facade. They use the principle of controlling water leakage without stopping it from penetrating through the exposed outer surface completely. However, the internal design of both systems functions differently based upon the approach. Moreover, the Rainscreen construction principle has been generalized and consolidated into one unified product in specifications combined with both types’ characteristics. For complicating and confusing matters, the water, and air resistance standards from the traditional building cladding systems are applied to these modern designs and specifications of the exterior material’s exposure. Placing the water and air tightness codes on the outer surface of the barrier contradicts the underlying fundamentals of the Rainscreen Construction Principle. Now let’s get to the fundamental of each system.

Pressure-Equalized/ Compartmented Rainscreen

In this article, we focus on the Pressure-equalized rainscreen principle, which is very design intensive. Please read the third part of this article to learn about Drained/Back-ventilated systems for ACM panels.

Pressure-equalized systems are susceptible to design variations and deviations from their design principle. The openings in this system are created uniquely for both static and dynamic pressure equalization allowance across the rainscreen. The essential factor that separates this system from the D/BV principle is the design and the use of the compartmented method within the cavity. The reason behind the compartment is that the pressure equalization can only happen within limited periods and in the case of controlled volume behind the Rainscreen system. This equalization is essential due to the none-uniformity of wind loads, constantly changing across a single cladding of a building.

The vent numbers and their geometry calculation depend on the cavity volume, allowing sufficient airflow in and out of the internal equalized area quickly enough to respond to the ever-changing wind loads. This promotes the pressure differences between the ACM panels or other types of panels used in the system and the internal compartment pressure resulting in equalizing the air pressure on the external cladding and the inner sides of the building facade. If the conditions exist properly, forces causing water movement will decrease; if not, they will be eliminated.

The effective area of the vent holes in this type of rainscreen construction principle depends on three factors which are:

  • The airtightness of the air barrier on the inner section
  • The stiffness of the cladding material and its inner leaf
  • The volume of the compartments that make up the internal air space

The compartments are the essential elements of a proper pressure-equalized rain screen principle. They come with crucial properties, characteristics, and functionalities. Followings are the reasons why these elements play an indispensable role in the PE systems:

  • They control lateral and vertical airflow.
  • They size the volume of the space that the vent openings must be designed for facilitation.
  • The most crucial role of compartments is limiting water infiltration and controlling the water drainage when air-pressure disequilibrium occurs.

The characteristics above show that rainscreens with non-compartmentalized cavities cannot be pressure equalized. However, many of this system’s construction factors and elements are almost similar to the drained/back-ventilated rain screen construction principle. Still, they have several significant and essential differences, which we have discussed in the third part of this article.

Rainscreen Construction Principle (Part I)

Rainscreen Principle

Rainscreen principle is an industrial product that is used widely in residential and commercial facilities for various purposes. This product utilizes the open rainscreen principle and is a subset of the screened-drained classification of wall designs. It incorporates all essential characteristics that the building industry requires. Additionally, the authentication of the open rain screen is its capability of equalizing air pressure and ventilation allowance.

What is The Rainscreen Principle?

The rainscreen product and principle, as today’s industry knows, owes much of its development to such men as Birkland and Garden. However, the terms open rain screen principle, and rain screen appeared in the 1960s. These respectful men examined five primary forces that cause rainwater infiltration in a wall. They also looked at the existing wall designs and materials that used cavities and interior drainage to control water departure. Thus, they found that if all of the five forces behind the water infiltration through a cladding can be eliminated or controlled, then the rainwater or the water present on the wall will not penetrate the building.

It is essential to note that it is not conceivable that architects or building designers can prevent the exterior section of the facility from getting wet nor guarantee that no openings will develop to permit the entrance of the water. However, researchers prove that incorporating an air chamber into the wall or joints where the air pressure is equal to that on the exterior can prevent rainwater infiltration. In essence, the external layer is an open rain screen that damages the wetting of the facility’s primary wall or air barrier.

Engineers have reasoned that the air pressure difference existing between the exterior and the interior of the wall system results in air currents that carry the moisture or water into the building’s Cladding. Unfortunately, at the first stage of rainscreen development, manufacturers could not produce products to provide a strategy to relieve air pressure differences that the Cladding was experiencing. If any building designer created a moderate pressure, it was incidental. Air pressure was the cause of water infiltration that many had not considered at the time. However, years of research and studies have shown that this force is the dominant contributor to water leakage.

Structure of a Rainscreen

As told, rainscreen provide air ventilation due to their unique structure. This product features three primary components:

  • A screen or outer layer.
  • A pressure equalization chamber with a perfect sealing system on all sides except at the vent.
  • A vent or opening that connects the air chamber to the exterior.

More specifically, for countering other forces that can cause air infiltration, a rain screen has other practical features. Therefore, manufacturers create products that have a more comprehensive design to develop the rainscreen principle fully. The structure of a fully developed main screen contains:

  • Screen or Cladding- the screen is a durable material that is exceptionally non-porous and is generally in the form of a panel. This section of a rain screen allows the water to run off both sides of the product.
  • Open Joints or Air Vents- this section of a rain screen includes gaps for ventilation. The product features a labyrinth type of interlocking dry joints for controlling momentum, surface tension, gravity, and capillary action forces. For better sealing and more efficient protection, it is possible to use wet seals such as caulk behind the Cladding.
  • Air Flow Toward and Out of PECs (Pressure Equalized Chamber)- the primary wall of the rainscreen products is divided into much smaller self-contained chambers. Each PEC size is determined precisely and as airtight as possible. The more profound and more extensive the section is, the more air intake is required. Thus, bigger vents will be needed.
  • Chamber Baffles- these are the sidewalls of the pressure equalized chambers that should resist the pressure and wind loads inside the section. Thus, they need to be relatively airtight. Chamber baffles can be any divider such as a structural connector or clips that support the Cladding.
  • Air and Moisture Barrier- these barriers create an airtight blockade between the chambers and the inside of the facility. They must be strong adequate to handle the exterior loads from wind and pressure. Some materials can double the air and water barrier for better sealing characteristics.
  • Drip Edges, Flashing, and Drainage Channels- drip edges and flashes funnel water out of the pressure equalized chambers and run away from the facility. In addition, rainscreen panels may have feature channels that evacuate liquids that drain along the surface or the back sides of the cladding material such as ACM panels.
  • Waterproof insulation- This particular section is optional, and many manufacturers do not utilize them for creating and installing buildings rainscreen panels.
  • Inner Wall Structure

If you want to know more about Rain screen principle, you should read the Rainscreen Construction Principle (Part II) article.

The Best Properties of ACM Panels

The Best Properties of ACM Panels

The Best Properties of ACM panels are what the building industry requires to improve cities and facility’s attractiveness and durability while satisfying construction regulations and standards. Aluminum composite materials or panels are modern construction and decorative products first invented in Germany in the 1960s. These materials take other traditional material’s place, such as cement and wood, in the market.

The best properties of ACM panels made other substances no so significant in the construction industry. Additionally, older and traditional materials are not environmentally friendly products, and they get damaged or even destroyed easily. Thus, architects and builders need new and valuable products to improve facilities with higher quality and resistance. ACM panels are the ideal solution since they provide a wide array of benefits.

What are Aluminum Composite Panels?

Before getting to the best properties of ACM panels, it is essential to know what exactly are aluminum composite panels. Like other composite panel materials, these products are made up of three necessary yet thin layers, including two Aluminum layers and one primary core material. Customers demanding projects can change the core substance since it can vary the product’s fire exposure behavior. For example, the core material may be a solid mineral or honeycomb filling, but the standard ACP products feature polyethylene or considerably combustible polyurethane substances.

The combustibility of the core material made issues for the past few years. Thus, manufacturers decided to change the core material for exterior cladding applications to prevent feature disasters. ACM panels are practical for applications where the project requires a mix of high structural materials. As a result, manufacturers create products with different yet high quality by using the correct core substance. The quality and the best properties of ACM panels have made various companies and manufacturers invest in the production process. The world statistics estimates that more than two hundred companies are active in the aluminum composite panel industry, and the numbers are still growing day by day.

Know the Best Properties of ACM Panels to Understand Their Value

As told, many companies and manufacturers spend their money on developing factories to create ACM panels. However, customers often want to know the reason behind this large-scale investment. ACP materials come with various advantages that made them famous. The best properties of ACM panels include:

Lightweight Characteristic:

ACM panels are one of the most lightweight construction materials in the building industry. This property of ACP materials makes them the ideal choice for cladding applications. Additionally, compared to other traditional materials such as brick, stone, and even other composite materials, ACM panels are considered the lightest.

High-Quality Surface:

Manufacturers and factories coat and cover ACM panels with two kinds of substances which are fluorocarbon and polyester. These two substances allow developers to create a high-quality product with a perfect surface. Additionally, aluminum composite panels are hard to break and can handle harsh external conditions for decades.

Durability:

One of the best properties of ACM panels is their durability. Every construction material should long last, and ACP manufacturers are aware of that. Thus, with the mix of zinc, magnesium, copper, and aluminum, they create stable products for cladding. This specific advantage of these panels shows up in advertisement projects where durability is in priority.

Fire Resistance:

Modern era construction regulations require so many different properties and factors. One of the common significant factors is the level of fire resistance of the building. Thus, if homeowners use fire-resistance materials, they can benefit from lower taxes. Modern Aluminum composite panels are covered with fire-retardant materials, which make them more fire-resistant products. Therefore, even if the product catches fire, it will not spread to other portions of the facility.

Sound Insulation:

Due to the sound pollution increment in the modern age, buildings require cladding materials to improve sound insulation and provide a more relaxed area for occupants and workers. Aluminum composite panels are the best materials for noise reduction purposes. This property is due to the arc type core in these materials, taking the sound waves and providing acoustic properties.

Thickness:

ACM panels are available in different thicknesses to satisfy any demanding project. Their gauge can be changed equivalent to the customer’s usage. Additionally, the core substance can affect the depth and the width of the panels. The overall thickness of ACP material varies from 3 to 6 millimeters. Generally, for cladding systems, manufacturers produce these materials with a thickness of more than 4 millimeters.

Flexibility:

ACP materials are famous for their flexibility and easy fabrication process. Manufacturers can easily bend, cut, fold and shape them. Thus, designers and architects can create limitless exteriors for buildings depending on the customer’s desires. Even if a piece of ACM is damaged and requires replacement, the homeowner can change only the panel with a problem since it is easy to install.

Among the best properties of ACM panels, other characteristics can be considerably beneficial for the construction industry, including being cost-effective, weather resistance, corrosion resistance, environmentally friendly, flat, and available in various colors and finishes for more satisfying designs.