We all know how exterior aluminum awning structures are painted. It would seem that this topic is not worthy of a personal explanation, but the question is: Are we doing it right? How do we properly paint a awning?
Painting primarily serves to protect the structure from corrosion, not to give color. Therefore, and the method of staining should be chosen based on this need. It is important that the paint in the chosen method to get at all sites of bends, welds, bolt connections and other hard-to-reach areas of the basis for the awning.
There are at least 5 ways to paint:
- Spot painting. Paint is applied with a brush, spray gun, paint gun, or other paint spotting device;
- Powder coating. Powder paint is applied to the metal. The part is then charged with a positive charge of electricity and the paint with a negative charge. This causes it to stick tightly to the entire surface of the piece. It is then heated, so that the paint melts and lays an even, thin layer over the entire surface;
- Dip painting. The part is completely immersed in a container with paint;
- Protection by means of metal. There are metals that do not corrode. And they are used to protect other metals from corrosion. This method is also called chrome plating, galvanizing, or tinning;
- Blistering or nielloing. This method is to get a thin layer (1-10 microns) of oxide film on the surface of the part.
Of these 5 methods, we can apply only 2 for painting canopies. The others are difficult to implement in practice due to their high cost, such as chrome plating or tinning. Or nielloing, which is realized only for precious and semi-precious metals. Bluing as well as full immersion of parts is also not used for painting canopies because of the large size of the parts and the costliness of maintaining acid and alkaline baths and paint baths.
Let’s take a look at the ways that are possible for us. Which of these can be used at home and which only in production?
Painting with a brush
If you made the base of the awning yourself at home, then you need to choose one of the ways to paint it. The usual way with a brush and enamel paint is great for home use. It does not require equipment costs and is feasible for objects of any complexity. But, it is important to remember that for quality painting of the frame of the awning with a brush, it is necessary to start:
- Treat the metal from already possible rust;
- Paint all areas, regardless of the complexity of their access;
- Do not leave gaps and poorly painted areas.
In the case of poor quality painting, it is in unpainted areas that metal corrosion will begin. Primarily in the unprotected roof.
In industries, the method of painting with a brush is not often used because of the large volume of work. Therefore, they use spray guns, which we will talk about in the next paragraph of the article.
Painting with a paint gun
One of the few ways to paint a high-quality awning remains spray-painting with a paint gun. That’s because the rest require expensive, complicated equipment and techniques. In order to paint a awning with a spray paint gun, you will need:
- Buy a spray gun, paint, paint thinner, White spirit, protective suit, goggles, respirator, viscosimeter;
- Prepare (clean) the part from the already possible corrosion and degrease it with White spirit;
- To study the surface to be painted and the technology of movement when painting with a spray gun;
- Paint the part.
The production usually uses paint of the expensive and medium-expensive segment, for example: Dali, Novax, Hammerite or others like it. After the painted parts are delivered to the site and welded into the final structure, and the welding spots are painted separately with a spray can or brush.
At home it would be better to first weld the frame of the awning completely, and then paint it. This will save you time on additional underpainting.
Painting with a spray gun carries some difficulties and disadvantages to use it without experience at home, because you will need a viscosimeter to measure the viscosity of the paint.
This point is very important because paint that is too thick will be applied unevenly and will quickly clog the sprayer, and paint that is too liquid will leave a lot of smudges and will also be applied unevenly.
Yes, it will perform the main function – to protect the awning from corrosion, but only if you have painted the entire surface of the structure, including welds, digging parts of poles and hard-to-reach joints.
Painting with spray paint
Spray can paint is different in that it is fed under pressure, as from a paint gun, but you do not need to buy expensive equipment. With a spray can, you can apply a more even and thin layer of paint than with a brush. Yes, it will look prettier, but the protective effect will not be better or worse.
From an economic point of view to paint the rough structures of the awning with cans is not rational either at home or in the factory. Nevertheless, they are used by companies for painting welded joints at sites. Because spray cans are easy to transport and use.
Painting with the powder coating method
Awning construction companies very rarely use the powder coating method. This may mostly apply to bolt-on sheds, which are not common in practice. In addition, this method of execution is quite complicated and expensive to produce.
The powder method of painting is performed only in the workshop conditions with a special kit (for example: TESLA+) and further baking of the paint powder in the polymerization furnace.
The coating is of very high quality, thin and even, but there are also disadvantages:
- Powder paint has no possibility of tinting. You can only use the color provided by the manufacturer;
- It is not possible to eliminate local defects. It is necessary to completely repaint the product;
- Only heat-resistant metals are suitable, as the temperature of polymerization in the oven is 180-200℃;
- The size of the part is limited by the physical size of the curing oven.
Although the powder coating method is well set up for in-line production, canopies are hardly ever painted this way. It is more suitable for glass, ceramic and other small items, and serves as a decorative rather than a protective effect.
Of all the painting methods considered, the awning structure can be painted using several methods: brush, spray gun, paint sprayer or powder coating.
Brush painting is most suitable for do-it-yourself use at home. The only thing is that you need to understand the instructions on how to dilute the paint and apply it qualitatively to all areas of the part.
Spray painting, on the other hand, is quite expensive for one-time use at home. But it is ubiquitously used by companies dealing with custom canopies.
Spray painting is not well suited for the oblong and thin rods that make up the framework of the awning. Pressurized paint has a fairly large spray spectrum and most of it will not get on the surface being painted.
Powder coating is somewhat different from the spot method of application. In the case of painting sheds, this method is rarely used because of the high cost of furnaces and the availability of more democratic solutions. In the home, however, the powder method of painting sheds is not used.