Powder Care & Maintenance
Once applied, powder coating needs to be properly cared for, just like any paint. For example, you would not buy a car (which is painted aluminum), leave it on your drive way for 10 years, never clean it and expect it to look the same. Powder used on exterior applications is exactly the same - it needs to be properly cared for. Usually a basic cleaning schedule a few times a year will suffice, but check with your IFS representative for the details of your powder.
Here are some basic tips:
Avoid Excessive Contact
Cleaning of powder-coated metal should be approached from the perspective that “less is better!”
Avoid harsh, abrasive cleaners such as steel wool and scourers. Treat the powder coating as you would treat your car paint.
Any use of a solvent-based cleaner will void any warranty that is issued. Where a solvent is absolutely necessary to remove materials from the surface, such as adhesives, the weakest possible solvent should be used (e.g. methylated spirits, white spirits or isopropyl alcohol). A small and unobtrusive area should be tested prior to attempting to use solvents on significant surfaces. After removal of the surface contaminant, the solvent should be dried from the film, and the area that has been wiped with solvent should be washed with a solution of mild liquid detergent and then rinsed with clean water to ensure complete removal of any solvent residues. Under no circumstances should strong solvents be used. Examples of inappropriate chemicals for cleaning or any contact with powder coatings are gasoline, kerosene, xylene, caustic cleaners (especially kitchen and bathroom detergents) and paint thinners.
Always flush metal that has been exposed to cleaner with copious amounts of fresh clean water. If the local water is high in mineral salts, finish powder coated metal cleaning with deionized water and/or a chamois.
At times during installation and service, it is possible that the powder-coated aluminum may suffer mechanical damage requiring repair for both aesthetic and protective reasons.
Where mechanical damage to the powder coating has occurred such that the substrate is exposed, it is certain that the underlying chromate film has been damaged. In order to achieve the maximum corrosion resistance, it is necessary to replace the pretreatment.
In some cases it will be possible to apply a suitable chromate pretreatment on site, apply a suitable primer and repaint the damaged area in accordance with the recommendations above.
Where on-site application of a chromate pretreatment is not possible, the application of a high performance etch primer to the aluminum is essential to the repair process. Application of a suitable touch-up paint is the only recommended method of damage repair.