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 rainscreen 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.

How Can You Paint Aluminum Sidings?

Paint Aluminum Sidings

Aluminum Sidings are popular cladding material covering a wide range of applications from industrial to commercial construction projects. Due to aluminum siding’s various advantages, including extreme weather durability, minimum maintenance requirements, and aesthetics, designers prefer to utilize them instead of choosing other types of cladding materials. These sidings can last for a long period of time, but when buying a home with aluminum sidings facades, customers may encounter surfaces with peeled paint. However, this issue should not be a concern, and by using some painting supplies and elbow grease, painting these products will not be a daunting task. Thus, it is more cost-effective to paint the material rather than replacing it with a new siding. The painting process is relatively straightforward, and most homeowners can do it without professional assistance.

Equipment and Tools Required to Paint Aluminum Sidings

There are some few tools and pieces of equipment that are necessary to complete the aluminum siding painting process, including:

  • oil-based primer- for sealing any porous surfaces and allowing the paint to cover the aluminum siding better
  • acrylic exterior paint- for better bonding on the aluminum
  • synthetic fiber brushes- are the only brushes that are practical when working with acrylic paint
  • lambswool paint roller- can maximize coverage of the surface area
  • ladder- for reaching and having access to the higher parts of the cladding
  • plastic paint bucket- are helpful when using a ladder during the job since the painter can hang it nearby using its handle
  • plastic paint trays- are necessary for paint rollers
  • drop cloths- are used for keeping the area clean

Steps to Paint Aluminum Sidings

Some essential steps should be followed precisely when considering doing the aluminum siding painting without any help from experts, which we will introduce in this section. Each stage has its unique role in the process overall. Thus, if the painter perfectly finishes all phases, the aluminum siding will regain its beauty.

First Step: Prepare the Aluminum Sidings for Painting

Similar to any renovation application, painting aluminum sidings require preparation. This stage starts with scraping off paints that are already peeled by using paint scraping tools. Then it is essential to remove any noticeable mildew by utilizing a combination of ten parts water to one part bleach. If the aluminum siding is particularly dingy, it is better to buy or even rent a power sander to sand down the material. Experts recommend using eighty grit sandpaper for the first round, followed by 220 grit sandpaper for the second-round sanding.

Second Step: Apply the First Coat of Primer Paint Aluminum Sidings

The second stage is to apply the first coat of primer precisely. The painter must plan to begin the painting process when the weather is dry and mild for preventing rain, debris, and dust from destroying the finish. The process is more straightforward to do by using a paint roller and applying the primer evenly, rolling back and forth twice the roller for achieving a smooth surface. This procedure will take a few seconds per 0.09 square meters. It is crucial to work in one direction during primer applying, whether from left to right or right to left to maximize the drying time and help the painter work more efficiently.

Third Step: Applying the Second Coat of Primer

Now that there is already a first layer of primer, the painter must add the second coat. However, this must be done after the first layer is dried. Primer often takes about three to four hours to dry thoroughly. Thus, it is better to plan the process day accordingly.

Fourth Step: Start to Paint Aluminum Sidings

It is essential to use long and even brush strokes while painting from top to bottom during the process. In this way, it is possible to adjust any drips along the way. For better results, it is better to paint in the same direction as the aluminum siding, meaning if the product is horizontal, the painting course should be left to right, and if the siding is vertical, paint it up to down. If there is any sign of visible lines in the paint, the painter is doing the job too slowly. Taking breaks in between each side will ensure a smooth and finished surface.

Fifth Step: Add a Second Layer of Paint

After waiting a minimum of two hours, it is time to apply the second layer of paint. This stage can help the painter to correct any mistakes or flaws that occurred during the fourth step. For instance, any bumps present in work can be removed by using the sanding system. It is better to buy more paint than the painter thinks are needed. An extra gallon can be practical for additional coat or touchups, if necessary.

Sixth Step: Inspect the Work for Finding Issues

Once applying both coats of paint is finished, the finish must be left to dry for at least two hours. Then the painter must check and inspect the work, looking for spots that may be missed, drips, and bumps. If there is a sign of the old aluminum siding finish beneath the paint, consider applying one more layer of finish to ensure the process is done in the best quality.

How to Install Aluminum Sidings

aluminum sidings

The key to having a successful aluminum siding application is precise management and planning. Proper siding installation is ideal for ensuring the cladding product lives up to its reputation for quality. The method of applying aluminum siding and soffit is essentially the same for renovation and new construction projects. However, occasionally, individual instructions for different application is required. In every type of application, care and maintenance are prioritized to prepare the project’s structure properly. It is also crucial that the builders and installers review the local building standards and codes before taking the first step in installing aluminum sidings.

Measuring for the Ideal Aluminum Sidings

All facilities can be broken down into shapes of triangles, rectangles, and a combination of both. The area that requires sidings is determined by measuring the width and the height of the building, including windows and other portions. Then the installers should sum and total all the measurements for the demanding areas while not deducting the windows and doors. Including the doors and windows will allow for determining the waste factor. If these portions are substantial such as garage and sliding doors, some deduction could be necessary. For further assistance on measuring and choosing the ideal aluminum siding for the facility, customers should contact reliable contractors.

Installation Guidelines

Before starting installing aluminum sidings, it is essential to review several standard rules for siding applications. These cladding products, like other constructional materials, contract and expand due to temperature changing. The amount of expansion and contraction can vary depending on the building’s location. Thus, accounting and considering these factors is crucial for preventing the products from buckling and damaging, affecting the facility’s overall appearance. The followings are the rules which are critical for an appropriate aluminum siding installation.

  • The siding materials should not be stored in a location where temperatures exceed 54 centigrade degrees.
  • The panels that are already installed should have a free momentum space to move freely from side to side for preventing contraction and expansion damages.
  • Installers should push up from the bottom until the lock makes a complete engagement with the below part during the installation process. They should not force the products up or down when fixing them in position. Stretching the board upward can pull the natural radius out of the siding and cause friction increment of the locks.
  • It is crucial to nail in the center of the slot and avoid nailing at the end of it. This step needs precision to prevent permanent damages on the sidings. If the nailing should be near the end of a slot to hit a stud, the installer should extend the length with a particular tool, such as a nail slot punch.
  • Never caulk the panels where they meet the receiver of j-trim, outside and inside corner posts.
  • Another noticeable factor is to avoid stapling or face-nailing through the siding due to the expansion and contraction of the products with the outside temperature changes.
  • In renovation and residing projects, removal and furring of uneven old sidings will probably be necessary.
  • For new development projects, it is recommended to dodge using green lumbers as the underlayment. The stability and straightness of sidings depend on what lies under them.

Tools and Equipment to Install Aluminum Sidings

There are some essential tools needed for proper aluminum sidings installation such as hammer, fine-tooth saw, chalk line, tape measure, level, and square. Additionally, for protection purposes, using a safety glass is necessary. The followings are other essential tools that can become handy when installing aluminum sidings for any project:

Utility Knife: This tool can be practical in the installation process due to the easy fabrication process of the aluminum sidings. The utility knife can cut, score and trim the products.

Tin Snips: Using good quality tin snips and compound aviation-type supplies can help increase the speed of shaping and cutting aluminum sidings.

Snap Lock Punch: Punching lugs in the cut edges of siding materials can be done with a snap-lock punch. This tool is practical for the finishing course of the top of the siding and underneath a window.

Nail Hole Slot Punch: For providing an allowance for expansion and contraction, a hole elongation is needed. For creating the hole, installers should use a nail hole slot punch.

Unlocking Tool: The unlocking tool is utilized to replace or remove aluminum siding panels. For using this particular tool, the installer should insert the curved end under the end of the board and hook it into the back lip of the lock. The experts pull down and slide the tool along the length of the siding to disengage the coil and use the same process to relock the panels.

Cutting Aluminum Sidings

Following standard guidelines is essential when cutting aluminum sidings. Utilizing safety goggles is always critical for cutting and nailing procedures. As with any building project, installers should use safety equipment and follow safe development disciplines. In cold weather, the cutting operator must install the fine-toothed blade backwards on the saw for a cleaner, and smoother cut with a circular saw. Avoiding closing blades entirely at the end of a stork can result in a cleaner and neater cut when using tin snips. Then the fabrication continues with a utility knife or a scoring tool with scoring the siding face up with medium pressure.

Is it Cheaper to Replace or Paint Aluminum Siding?

Aluminum Siding materials have become efficient options for deciding the perfect cladding product for the facility. Depending on the building’s location and other factors, this type of siding can be an excellent choice. Aluminum sidings are available in various finishes and gauges for different projects. These exterior panels come in both vertical and horizontal formats to allow designers to have complete freedom in creating the overall appearance of a home. They provide excellent insulation and corrosion-resistant properties and save the building owner a considerable amount of cooling and heating costs over their life span. These panels are insect-proof, waterproof, and fireproof, along with their various advantages, meaning that they will maintain their beauty and essential characteristics without severe damages. Thus, they are typically low-maintenance options and require lower care than most other siding types.

Homeowners that already have old sidings are always thought of Replacing or Painting Aluminum sidings and choosing the best option for the purpose. Both methods, replacing and painting old sidings, are the most popular options for upgrading exterior cladding materials or repairing the cladding. Before making the final decision about the house’s exterior, it is essential to know the fundamentals of both methods.

Painting Method

Painting the existing Aluminum Siding is an efficient way to transform the look and feel of the facility. However, it is imperative to remark that it is a significant undertaking and is almost physical and costly. But the method has its unique advantages as well.

Pros: The first advantage of painting the siding is that the method is way cheaper than replacing it with a new vinyl material. However, this method comes in sacrificing long-lasting beauty, energy efficiency and overall maintenance. The cost of painting the product is 60% less than replacing it with other materials. The great thing about painting them is that the homeowner can do the job without hiring and paying someone else to do it. When the homeowner decides to replace the product with other materials, it is essential to keep in mind that there are limited products available in the inventory. With the paint color customization, it is possible to pick a wide range of finishes to customize any hue to match the existing products. Professional painters utilize the appropriate shade to prevent further damages to sidings, including collapsing and buckling from additional heat absorption.

Cons: The cons of painting the aluminum siding starts with the requiring prep works. The homeowner must wash the cladding material thoroughly. Any dirt left behind on the old materials will make a considerable mess and damage the painting equipment. The process can consume a ton of water. Thus, it requires hand washing methods which are time-consuming. The subsequent preparation is to prime the material, vital for sidings that are porous and pitted. Then the painter should start the process with a hand paintbrush or a paint roller which higher the risk of making the cladding look even worse than it was. The most substantial drawback of this method is that it is a short-term solution and will not last long.

Replacing and Old Aluminum Siding

After knowing the Pros and Cons of Painting and Old Siding, it is time to introduce the advantages and drawbacks of Replacing the Existing material.

Pros: Many new materials for replacement cost a significant amount of money. However, manufacturers managed to create cost-effective products for homeowners who decide to achieve the best results with lower expenditure on their siding products. The key is to find contractors that offer affordable and reasonable quality aluminum sidings. It is essential to know that replaced material do not require painting and a regular maintenance process. They do not fade from sunlight, and they come with warranty thus even it is damaged due to different factors they can be renewed. However, low maintenance does not mean zero care, and atmospheric dirt can collect on the product over time. Hard rain can splash mud onto the material, but the good news is that it is easy to clean the new aluminum siding. They can add more charm than the painting method, and it is multidimensional. Unlike paint, this solution is long-term and can provide 5 to 25 years of service. It is possible to add an underlayment to increase the insulation properties and energy savings by replacing the damaged and old siding. Replacing method allows the homeowner to add details such as scallops and shakes to enhance the exterior and increase the luxurious appearance of the facility. They are easy to install and do not consume lots of money and energy, and provide safety on the ground.

Cons: The primary drawback of replacing method is its cost. At the same time, replacing old sidings is more expensive than painting. The look of quality siding is priceless, and the new exterior material will provide aesthetic appeal for decades. Factors that play a role in the higher price of the replacement methods include quality and length of the product, aesthetic upgrades, warranty and installation, area of the project, and the removal of the old products. However, it is essential to remember the cost for this method is a return on investment. It is a fact that the average return on investment on the replacement is 76.7%.

Complete Guide to Installing a Rainscreen

Installing a Rainscreen

Installing a Rainscreen panel is one of the most efficient ways to improve the construction’s envelope’s cladding system. It is a suitable building solution to fit into the modern sustainable, and good-looking architecture trends and provides more accessible installation systems than other cladding materials. Rainscreen systems mainly focus on insulation and moisture resistance properties. They prevent the rainwater from penetrating the facility’s structure, eliminating the risk of condensation-related issues such as mold and dampness. When the water ascertains a way to infiltrate the system, many problems may occur. Damp walls often lose thermal energy and lower the efficiency of the facility. Thus, every building requires a plan for installing a Rainscreen. The most remarkable thing about these materials is that they are practical for refurbishments and new-build projects while being cost-effective and require lower maintenance.

Before Installing a Rainscreen

Installing a Rainscreen requires preliminary steps to ensure if the system is suitable for the particular projects. It is essential to check with architects and local building codes before the procedure starting point. Following all construction codes that apply to the building zone is necessary. Builders should test the material’s sustainability for the projects since various factors and variables can exist during the installation process. Manufacturers always provide instruction for their products for different types of projects which is viral to follow. When the installation instruction differs from the standard codes, it is better to contact the contractor and check if it is still suitable to use Rainscreens for the purpose. Here is the list of before-installation steps that can help individuals in their project management.

  1. The first thing is to calculate the number of requiring cladding materials depending on the net finished dimensions.
  2. The characteristics and properties of the Rainscreen siding must accommodate the local weather conditions and climate.
  3. Using the end seal for covering the ends of existing grains on the new fabricated or cut panels is essential.
  4. The last step depends on the demands of the homeowner. If the homeowner expects permission, it is better to check local building codes and provide a report to ensure the project’s road map.

Steps of Installing a Rainscreen

Installing a Rainscreen whether it is Aluminum composite material or other industrial product, contains standard steps for achieving a better result. If the process is done with precision and by following the steps, the product can be at service for a long time without requiring regular maintenance. Here are the main steps for installing Rainscreen panels for a project that are essential to follow.

  1. The first step is to prevent moisture intrusion with house wrap installation in which following the vapor barrier instruction is essential.
  2. The next step is installing the baseboard, also known as furring strip, using constructional supplements such as stainless screws. During the baseboard installation, it is crucial to ensure the product level.
  3. Along with attaching the furring strips, they need to be aligned vertically on the baseboard’s top with 0.3 meters distance on the center.
  4. This step requires starter clip installation, which includes hidden siding fastener kits on the board. After installing the clips, they should have perfect alignment with the furring strips. Using a chalk line reel for creating a level line can be helpful.
  5. After using a level for ensuring the first board alignment, it is time to install the first Rainscreen Siding board on the clips’ top section.
  6. Designers always recommend placing the hidden siding fasteners into the groove section of the cladding.
  7. Experts drive the stainless-steel screw through the clasp into the strip at a 45-degree angle.
  8. The last step is to use a rubber mallet to align the cladding materials properly, and then builders should set the proceeding siding boards on the top of the fasteners. It is good to have in mind that two pieces of sidings abut against each other, using two pins can be helpful.

Other Factors to Consider During Rainscreen Installation

While installing the buildings on the buildings, some essential factors are considered to provide the panels’ maximum efficiency. Wavering these factors can decrease the system’s quality and can cause further damage to the structure, which will end up in repairing and expenditure increment.

Allowable Shrinkage: Installing a Rainscreen requires installation tightly for each board to leave the minor gaps between the products if shrinkage happens. Mediocre shrinkage needs to be measured. However, this factor varies depending on installation site, method of use, and climate.

Cutting and Drilling: Using special tools such as premium carbide saw blades are recommended for cutting due to the rugged nature of Rainscreen panels. It is better to use point drill bits or foster bits to provide cleaner holes on the boards.

End Sealing: Most manufacturers ship their Rainscreen products with the end grain sealing process with clear wax, perfect for preventing any end checking and conflicting movement.

Finishing: Due to the physical properties of Rainscreens, most of the oil and water-based finishes do not dry appropriately after being applied. It is better to test different product samples on various boards to find the most efficient finish for the demanding project before starting the installation process.

How to Repair Aluminum Sidings

Aluminum Sidings

Aluminum sidings are versatile products that are perfect for covering the construction and applications that require cladding. They are ideal choices for regions that have low to mid-temperature. These sidings do not rust, blister, burn, rot, or get eaten by insects. However, they can scratch, dent, fade in time and corrode. The good news is that it is straightforward to replace or repair aluminum sidings. It is essential to improve the product as soon as any issue starts appearing on the surface to avoid further damage. The process has the flexibility for DIY terms, but it is better to rely on professionals for achieving better results.

Aluminum sidings join together similar to other sidings, which means that patching a damaged area or replacing a panel is the main step of repairing these products. It is crucial to remember that instead of corner posts, they are metal corner caps present in these products. In older installations, these materials were often suitable for wood sidings cladding systems. With the growth of technology and the internet, even if not finding local suppliers for caps, it is straightforward to find these repairing products in online sources. It is possible to shape and cut a piece of sheet metal in a pinch to fit with the old cap as a template. It is also crucial to know that aluminum sidings should receive a painting process once in a while. Most of the repairs for these products will take less than an hour, and the only requiring knowledge is to know how to cut and measure outcomes.

Essential Materials and Supplies to Repair Aluminum Sidings

Regardless of the simplicity of the aluminum siding repairing process, experts should utilize some special equipment and supplies. Followings are the most common materials for the repairing process:

  • Electric Metal Shears: This is a tool to cut metals while providing a pressure-sensitive trigger for rotating the cutter and do the work.
  • Metal Snips: One of the valuable tools for repairing sidings is metal snips that allow experts to improve cut quality and minimize the burrs.
  • Scrap Material: It is best to save the removed sidings and utilize them when a similar product is required during the repair work.
  • Waterproof Repair Tape: This tool is perfect to create a watertight bond for sealing up gaps and holes in every type of siding product.
  • Gutter Sealant: This type of sealant helps seal up seams and gasps present in the siding’s cut edges.
  • Repair Epoxy for Aluminum: Repair Epoxy is ideal for filling small holes from nails, bolts, and screws.
  • Protection Equipment: Like every industrial procedure, aluminum siding repairing requires safety and protection equipment. These equipment include latex gloves that are perfect for working with sealant and epoxy, cut-resistant gloves that can protect hands from the sharp edges of the siding, and safety glasses to protect the eyes from the cutting process.

Repairing Process

Repairing Aluminum sidings follow standard yet straightforward procedures. Every step of the process requires precision for better results. Here are the main stages of repairing aluminum siding.

  • Cutting Away the Area That Has Issues: The first step is ripping and cutting down every piece covering the damaged part and removing it with a crowbar or another suitable tool. This step is also beneficial for ensuring if there is no water damage beneath the siding.
  • Applying the Waterproof Repair Tape to The Edges of Aluminum Sidings: The second step is to cover up the gaps to provide extra insurance against moisture. The tape can bond to aluminum for a water seal purpose while allowing for contraction and expansion of the product as the temperature changes. It is essential to apply the tap around the hole and overlap it with the intact siding at a certain distance. This stage is beneficial for holding down the edges of existing sidings.
  • Cutting off the Flange from the Bottom Strip: In this step, it is better to use electric metal shears and cut off the bottom Flange at a high pace. It is effortless to trace the conduit’s shape onto the panel’s back and cut it out with the same tool. Additionally, it is good to cut away the nailing strip on the top to overlap with the existing product.
  • Applying Gutter Sealant to The Back Edges: This step is efficient if the old siding is not in the best shape and contains dents at the edges. Gutter sealant can hold the edges of the patch to the existing cladding material. It is essential to put on latex gloves to provide safety and then run a bead of sealing product along all the cut edges except the nailing strip, which is usually at the top. Then comes the pressing siding piece process into its place and driving nails through the ribbon and backing.
  • Sealing All Edges with Silicone or Gutter Sealant: For preventing water insulation, it is essential to fill all the edges with more gutter sealant while ensuring seasonal movements.
  • Painting: Once the sealant and epoxy repairs the damaged parts, it is possible to touch the paint in specific areas. It is better to clean up the aluminum siding before applying the new finish to the product.

How is the Pure Aluminum Produced? (part 1)

Pure Aluminum

Aluminum is one of the most well-known materials existing on the planet. However, pure aluminum does not occur naturally, and a chain of processes is required to develop the usable material for different purposes. Many compounds are quickly produced due to the easy atom binding in this metal. Simultaneously, it is impossible to isolate the metal by simply melting the compounds in a forge, as in metals such as iron. The pure aluminum production process is very complex and requires special machines and vast amounts of electricity. Thus, smelters for this metal are always built in the vicinity of power energy sources, including hydroelectric power plants that do not contaminate the environment. Now let’s get to know the best practice methods and steps for producing pure aluminum material.

Bauxite Mining for Creating Pure Aluminum

Pure aluminum production is essentially broken down into three main stages. The first step is extracting the bauxite, which contains aluminum from the ground. The second step is processing the bauxite into alumina or aluminum oxide. Finally, the third stage produces pure aluminum by using an electrolytic reduction in which the aluminum oxide should be broken down into its components by utilizing electric current. About 1 tone of pure metal is made from 4-5 tons of bauxite, producing 2 tons of alumina.

There are many different minerals available from which pure aluminum can be produced for other industrial materials, such as Aluminum composite panels. Bauxite is a raw material that is commonly used for this purpose. Bauxite generally contains 50% aluminum oxide mixed with some other substances.

Bauxite is available in different variations. It can structurally be dense, solid or crumbly. Usually, it has brick re, flaming red or brown color due to the existence of iron oxide. The bauxite can be grey or white in case of lower iron content. However, dark green, yellow, and even multi-colored bauxites with purple, bluish, black and red strains are available too.

The most practical way to mine minerals is by utilizing open-pit mines. Special equipment is used to cut one layer after another off the surface, including rocks, and then transported to factories for further processing. However, there are other areas where aluminum ore needs to be mined from deep underground layers, which require underground mines.

Alumina Production for Pure Aluminum

The next step in the pure aluminum production chain is obtaining aluminum oxide from bauxite, also known as a white powder. Bayer process is one the most common methods of producing alumina from the mineral. This method is discovered over a hundred years ago and is still a very a suitable system.

Bayer Process

About 90% of alumina producers utilize the Bayer method. This system’s only issue is that the Bayer process is efficient on high-quality bauxite with low admixtures, such as silicon. This method’s instruction is as follows: Dissolving the crystallized aluminum hydrate in concentrated caustic soda at high temperature. After the temperature is lowered and the solution’s concentration increases again, the material reduces but the other elements existing in the bauxite settle to the bottom appropriately.

After aluminum hydrate desolvation in the soda, the extra stuff can be isolated and removed quickly. The additional elements are also known as ballast or red mud. Large hydrate particles can be filtered out from the solution without requiring the complex procedure. For exceeding the water, manufacturers wash, dry and heat up the material. The result of the process is alumina. This substance has an unlimited shelf life. However, it has to be stored under appropriate conditions because it can absorb moisture at the first provided opportunity. Thus, alumina producers choose to ship the material to smelters ASAP. Manufacturing system stack the metal into piles that weight about 30,000 tones. As a result, a kind of layered pie about ten meters high is built. The mass is then cut and loaded into the railroad for dispatching to smelters to create the material suitable for producing aluminum sheets and other products such as aluminium sidings for cladding.

Sintering Process

Sintering is another method for alumina production, which is less common in comparison to the Bayer system. The technique is about making solid materials from powders at high temperature. The primary element is sintered with lime and soda. The latter two parts generally bind the silica into inexplicable silicates that can then be easily separated from the produced alumina. This method is suitable for obtaining alumina from a high content of toxic silica admixture bauxite. However, sintering can consume more energy in comparison to the Bayer process.

Cryolite

Alumina is considered the direct source of material in the pure aluminum production procedure. However, Cryolite is another component that is necessary to create the right environment for electrolysis. This substance is a rare natural fluoride mineral that is manufactured in artificial ways due to its scarcity. In modern industries, Cryolite is made by mixing up hydrofluoric acid with soda and aluminum hydroxide.

In part two of How is the Pure Aluminum Produced, more details are about the production procedure is introduced.

How Long Will Aluminum Sidings Last?

Aluminum Sidings

Aluminum Sidings are products, which are designed specifically for protecting the construction from external factors. They can take the loads and damaging issues away, whether caused by wind or due to the sun and rain exposure. Depending on the construction’s location and other vital factors, aluminum siding can be the right choice for facades cladding materials. Just like many industrial products, aluminum sidings come with many advantages. The material is considered soft, and the thickness can make a tremendous difference. It is varied from the cheapest one, developed in 0.4 inches in thickness, to the most expensive materials with the 53-gauge characteristic. One of these products’ most essential factors is that they are produced in both horizontal and vertical formats, allowing the designer to create unique aesthetic exteriors and have limitless freedom in breathing life into their ideas. Aluminum sidings are also very popular for their insulation properties. They can save a considerable amount of heating and cooling energy cost over their long life span. Additionally, this type of siding is very lightweight and has an easy installation and fabrication procedure. Thus, the labor cost is lower in projects that are created from aluminum materials.

Aluminum sidings are the perfect choice for people who choose to live in coastal communities with lots of humidity, moisture, or even salt spray in the air. Other sidings such as wood can absorb the water and cause different types of issues for the homeowners, and they have a smaller life span than aluminum. This type of siding is entirely recyclable and insect-proof. However, they are many challenges when choosing a siding for any commercial or residential building. The most common challenge is deciding whether spending lots of money on the material that requires heavy maintenance or buying an inexpensive material that will need to be repaired over time is logical. The other factor, which is essential when choosing the best siding for the construction, is the products’ life span.

Aluminum Siding’s Life Span

As told, aluminum siding is a recyclable and long-lasting material and requires minimal maintenance. Its lifetime can exceed 30 years, and in some cases, it can provide 50 years of perfect service for architectural applications. It will work without any problems for up to 15 years. However, after that, it can start to show its age by flaking off and getting chalky. It contains a glaze of paint that is generally baked onto the material and creates a robust coating system. This coat is not eternal, but the good thing about the finish is that it can be repainted after proper preparations. The down part of the painted aluminum sidings is that they can be dented or scratched, making them not ideal for high traffic areas. The surface can become pitted and damaged. However, some of the imperfections can be repaired easily. In the case of replacement, it can be challenging to match the new product’s colour with the sidings that already exist. This is due to the presence of the shaded colors in old products. This issue can be solved by removing the less visible siding piece and put a new product in its place.

Factors that Will Affect the Lifetime of the Aluminum Sidings

Many factors will affect the life span of the aluminum sidings. Knowing them can help the homeowner improve the siding’s long-lasting characteristic, which is used in the building’s structure. The followings are the critical factors to know that will change the lifetime of the aluminum siding.

Thickness of Aluminum Sidings

Comparing siding panels by their thickness can help choose the approvable material for the building. This property of the product is also known as gauge or grade, and it can be the key to determining how long the aluminum siding will continue doing its job. The most common thickness is about 40mm, and the thickest one is 50mm. Low-grade sidings will crack and sag in a decade, and it will fade much sooner. On the other hand, heavy-gauge sidings are considered more durable and fade-resistant. Thicker products are better looking and often come with more extended warranties.

Aluminum Siding Maintenance

Due to the aluminum siding’s duty to protect the building from rain, wind, heat, cold, dust, etc., its life span depends on upkeep. It is correct that aluminum material does not require complicated cleaning and maintaining process. However, taking care of the material once in a few years can increase the product’s lifetime. They can be easily washed. It is essential to check them annually for cracks, moisture infiltration, and damages as they can speed up the deterioration and lead to costly repairing procedures.  

Other

One of the benefits of aluminum sidings is their flexibility. They can take winds with a high amount of force that would deform any metal siding yet never show a mark. They can also contract and expand with temperature changes, and they are installed with different supplies that provide an accurate gap between the sidings for ensuing the movement. However, extreme temperature changes may cause aluminum sidings to become more brittle or warp over time. Some high-speed winds that carry stones or hailstones can break the old products. Thus, selecting a product with a warranty of 150 mph winds is recommended for all types of buildings.

Is Aluminum Siding Good for a House?

Aluminum Siding

Aluminum siding is one of the most common forms of sidings and is generally used as an exterior cladding material. This type of siding is made from aluminum coil stock, which is coated with chemical substances to protect the base metal and then painted for protection increment and aesthetic purposes. These products need to be baked for durability and this often involves adding glaze for creating unique textures.

A Brief History of Aluminum Siding Manufacturing

Aluminum siding creation goes back to the 1920s and one of the earliest architectural purposes of this material was to develop ornamental spandrel panels for huge commercial buildings. As time went on, architects start to utilize these sidings for residential structures. By the 1940s, these cladding materials quickly became very popular due to their advantages and benefits they provided. They dominated almost all of the cladding materials in use at the time. The first housing project which took place in 1947 and the aluminum siding was its cladding product, was a Pennsylvania subdivision.

Aluminum siding remained very trendy and popular until 1970 when the energy crisis occurred. At that time, producing this type of cladding required a great deal of energy and a huge amount of raw materials. These factors affected the usage of aluminum siding in a negative way. However, along with technology growth, the manufacturing system of this type of siding has also improved. Thus, it gained its position among the other practical exterior sidings over time.

Why Choosing Aluminum as a Siding Material

Aluminum is one of the most common materials on our planet and it is considered to have easier extraction procedures in comparison to other metal elements. Aluminum is an insect-proof, dent-resistant material, in addition, it is not flammable thus it can be a secure substance for the building construction process. Metal panels that are created with modern technologies often do not require frequent maintenance and an irregular simple washing process is all they need.

Aluminum metal is a soft element, which means the thickness of the produced siding can make an extreme difference for the cladding. The standard thickness gauge for this type of siding is 44 and the best products, which are more expensive than the regular ones, are developed in the gauge of 53. However, they are cheaper products available in the market that have 0.4 inches or 40-gauge thicknesses.

They are different paint finishes for aluminum sidings that are applied in a variety of colors at the factory. Customers can order the type of long-lasting finishes equivalent to their taste and needs. Most of these colors offer 15 to 25 years of service without fading or chalking. The product can last more than 50 years if it is maintained properly and kept clean with the minimum amount of impact. Aluminum can be molded and stamped with other common patterns such as wood grain. Many architects and designers often create exterior designs that are a combination of aluminum siding and other materials such as stone, glass, and masonry to provide a unique and aesthetic appearance.

Advantages of Aluminum Sidings for Houses

There are many factors to consider when it comes to choosing the best type of siding for renovation or new construction projects. The most common factors include durability, price, standards, sound insulation, maintenance, etc. Depending on the location of the facility, aluminum can bring many advantages to it. Followings are some of the most important advantages of Aluminum sidings that can be beneficial for company owners or homeowners.

Durability

One of the most important factors for designing any product for a facility is the durability of it. A durable aluminum siding can last for more than 40 years. Most of these products are manufactured from coil stock materials, which are generally created from old recycled products. Aluminum sidings are coated with chemicals to increase their corrosion-resistant characteristics. The final color is baked on the top layer while having different textures that customers choose. These products do not crack with age and are considered sturdy.

Design Flexibility

Unlike other siding materials, aluminum comes with a number of different textures and patterns such as wood siding, which allows architects to develop unique looks for the buildings. Many people think that sidings only come in horizontal planks. However, aluminum sidings are available in both vertical and horizontal panels. This also increases the flexibility of the design for different purposes.

Cost-Effective

Sidings that are made from aluminum are considered the cheapest products available for exterior cladding. It is generally 80% cheaper than other types of sidings. The installation process is also very simple, thus, it will help the homeowner on saving money on the cost of labor.

Low Maintenance

The only cleaning procedure the aluminum siding needs is simple water rinsing once a year. This is done to make sure there is no debris stuck in windowsills or seams. Repainting the product is only needed when it becomes faded.

Insulation and Energy Efficiency

Aluminum sidings are considered energy-saving claddings for heat and are also perfect for sound insulation purposes. Products that are created in heavier gauges will work better in comparison to thin ones.

Recyclability and Environmentally Friendly

This type of siding is a GREEN product, which means it is 100% recyclable thus it will never need to go to landfills.

Water Proof and Corrosion Resistant

Aluminum is a perfect material for those who want to build their homes in coastal areas with high humidity levels. The product does not absorb humidity and it is expected not to rust. Even if there is a small amount of humidity in the product, it will dry out in the heat.

Insect-Proof

Aluminum does not contain any natural and organic material in its structure. This specification makes the product immune to rot and insects. This ability has made this type of siding the most popular choice in areas with a high level of termite presence.

Fire-Resistant

This type of siding has the ability of not being melted or burnt and due to its non-flammable ability, it is preferable for areas that have frequent brush fires.