ImageFirst News

July 2021

Which is better: Aluminum or Steel? Rusted Finish Signage Continues to Impress

Does aluminum rust? What are the benefits of aluminum over steel? This and more!

This inno­v­a­tive sig­nage prod­uct we’ve been man­u­fac­tur­ing for near­ly 5 years con­tin­ues to be a game-chang­er when it comes to the look & feel of a nat­u­ral­ly-rust­ing cor-ten steel fin­ish. Learn the numer­ous ben­e­fits of using alu­minum over steel when it comes to signage.

Does Aluminum Rust?

Wait, aluminum isn’t supposed to how does this work? With our process it does!

A primer and iron flake solu­tion are applied to an alu­minum pan­el, then an acidic solu­tion is sprayed on to begin the ​“rust­ing” chem­i­cal reac­tion. Depend­ing on the desired rust lev­el, the sign could sit for a cou­ple hours or overnight. The longer, the rusti­er. Then the fin­ish is rinsed off and clear coat­ed to stop’ the con­tin­ued degra­da­tion of the finish. 

Just like nat­u­ral­ly occur­ring rust, there is no spe­cif­ic pat­tern to the rust fin­ish, it’s all nat­ur­al since it is the same rust­ing process…just sped up a lit­tle, then stopped.

What Are The Benefits To Using Aluminum Instead of Steel?

Steel is typically 2.5 times denser than aluminum. So, aluminum is lighter weight and easier to fabricate which reduces costs when it comes to installation and fabrication of creative designs.

Since alu­minum is a more mal­leable met­al, it responds bet­ter to bend­ing and cut­ting. Archi­tec­tur­al sign designs with curves and bends are pos­si­ble with this mate­r­i­al and so is inter­nal illu­mi­na­tion. Whether backed up, flush, or push through, cre­at­ing cnc-cut logos and let­ters are much eas­i­er using alu­minum than using steel. With an alu­minum prod­uct, cnc-rout­ing let­ters on the flatbed is a stan­dard and more cost-effi­cient process since alu­minum is an eas­i­er met­al to fabricate.

This faux rust fin­ish, using alu­minum, doesn’t con­tin­ue to degrade over the years. The fin­ish is clear coat­ed and essen­tial­ly stops the rust­ing” process in its tracks. This is ben­e­fi­cial so you won’t see rusty drips on your let­ters or your base. The clear coat stops the rust­ing process and also allows this sign fin­ish to be more van­dal resis­tant and eas­i­er to clean than tra­di­tion­al paint­ed finishes.

When Do We Use Steel?

Don’t misunderstand, we are not “anti-steel” by any means.

We are just very pro alu­minum” when it comes to all things sig­nage fab­ri­ca­tion. We almost always use steel posts for instal­la­tion as well as some steel struc­ture in the engi­neer­ing of our sig­nage. So steel sees the love too.

Have Questions? Have an Idea?

We got you!