Your House is Your Haven: Don't Neglect the Interior

What Type Of Finish Will You Choose For Your Aluminum Storefront?

by Cherly King

When you are creating a first impression, you want to ensure that it is memorable. This is especially true when you are trying to entice people to visit your business. You want to make sure that you have an aluminum storefront that is inviting, as well as enticing. To create this, many merchants have turned to the benefits of aluminum. Not only will aluminum give you durability, performance, and safety that you need, but with the right finish it will also be extremely easy to maintain.

Understanding Your Choices

You basically have three choices of finishes when you choose the coating on your architectural aluminum. The finish that you choose will determine the cost, the appearance, as well as the durability of your finish. Your three choices are:

  • Anodizing
  • Powder Coating
  • Painting

Knowing a little about each one may help to make your choice easier. 


Simply put, anodizing is an electrochemical process that creates a protective level of coating of  the already occurring aluminum oxide on the surface of your metal. It is hard, durable, and weather resistant, although the lifetime of the product is dependent on its thickness. 


  • As already stated anodizing the finish, makes the finish a part of the metal, this means that it will hold up better than most other types of finishes. It will not flake or peel.
  • It can be easily colored during the creation process by using computerized color matching to ensure that you get the color that you are looking for. If you choose not to dye it, you can leave it in a natural bronze tone which will give your aluminum a deeper, richer color.
  • It will hold up not only in direct sunlight, but also in high traffic areas, where it may be cleaned with chemical types of cleaners. 

If you choose to go with anodizing, you will want to make sure that your process has a Class I (very thick) finish, as well as a proper seal. This will give you the longest life for your exterior.

Powder Coating

If you choose to powder coat your surface, you will use a liquid paint that has been encapsulated in a powdered resin. While this is very similar in composition to a liquid paint, the difference in is the way the coating is applied. The powder coating does not require a liquid solvent to keep both the binder and filler components liquefied.  The coating is usually applied electrostatically and then placed under heat. The heat allows the powder to flow and form a skin over your metal. 


  • A power coated surface is typically harder and tougher than a traditional painted surface. 
  • Because of the way it is applied, it is much easier to create multiple layers, or thicker layers of the coating without having to worry about it running, sagging, or bubbling. 
  • Powder coating allows the metal surfaces to hold up better as exterior surfaces. Because your metal is completely coated, there is less corrosion and rust.
  • Because it is cured in an oven, powder coating does not emit the harmful levels of volatile organic compounds (VOC) that can be found with liquid paint.
  • It comes in a wide variety of colors, and although custom colors can sometimes be very expensive, multiple colors can be used at the same time, on the same piece to create a customized look.


The secret to successfully using paint, or any other organic coating, to ensure that you properly prepare the surface that it is going on. When you are applying paint to aluminum, you will want to make sure that your surface is pre-treated. While there are paints, or resins, that are specially designed to have superior weatherability, you will get your best results on aluminum when they are factory applied. While you will be able to find the widest variety of colors in a paint, it will have the shortest lifespan of all of your finishes.


  • Paint will provide you with great resistance to UV light, and it will have a good chemical resistance.  It will hold up well to various cleaning products. 
  • It has the cheapest upfront cost of any other type of surface.
  • Paint is easy to match, making touch ups, and repairs much easier than it would be with any of the other products.
  • A painted surface is easy to paint over. If you choose to change your colors, it is not as labor extensive as the other surfaces would be. 

No matter which type of finish that you choose, aluminum is definitely the way to go for your storefront exterior. You will be able to create the look you are striving for.