Beginner’s Guide to Polishing Aluminum
When building something with metal, whether it involves construction, architecture, or general metalwork, the concern is not just about functionality and stability, aesthetic value is equally important when we talk about polishing metal. Since aluminum is rust proof, polishing does not provide it with any additional benefits against corrosion. However, it does keep it looking stylish and new. In this article, we provide you with a beginner’s guide to polishing aluminum to get the perfect finish.
Clean: The first step to getting a reflective, shiny finish is to clean the metal. Aluminum should be cleaned thoroughly so as to remove all debris. This step ensures that the polishing that follows is significantly easier and much more effective. Usually, water and dish soap is a good combination to remove any dirt that gets stuck to the surface. It is also a good idea to find a solution that is suited specifically to the alloy that you have because that will deliver better results. You could also find many home remedies and solutions that help clean aluminum, however, always remember to conduct a patch test to make sure that the procedure will not harm the aluminum surface. Make sure that surface is thoroughly dry before polishing to ensure a smooth finish.
Remove anodizing if required: Sometimes, some aluminum products are anodized to give them a brushed look in the end. In order to polish the aluminum well, it is necessary to anodize it which smoothens the surface. The process is fairly simple. For this, you need sodium hydroxide, which is easily available in cleaning and hardware shops. Then, you need a shallow pan which is large enough for the aluminum vessel to fit in. Ensure you have protective gear on for your hands and eyes to move further. Keep warm water and the sodium hydroxide handy. First, the pan is to be filled with enough warm water to cover the aluminum vessel post which you can add sodium hydroxide to the water. A good measure for the proportion of sodium hydroxide and water is - one tablespoon for every gallon of water. Once the cleaner is mixed thoroughly in the water, the aluminum should be placed in the pan. Bubbles will form on the aluminum. Keep lifting it out from time to time (every minute or so) in order remove the chemical residue that accumulates on the surface during the de-anodizing process. After a few minutes, the result should be a flat and uniform color with no blemishes or stains. The only thing that will be left is scratches. The piece should then be taken out, rinsed thoroughly with fresh water, and then dried. Be sure to check the surface for any spots where there is some residual anodization still left. Those spots tend to be darker. If they are present, you can go through the process once again to remove them as well.
Sand the aluminum: This is an important part of the polishing process. Putting in maximum time and effort for this part of the process ensures that the final result is the best as can be. You can start with lower grade sandpaper (180 grit) and then work your way up to higher grades. What grit can be used depends on the age and condition of the aluminum. It might be wise to consult a professional if you are unsure of which grade sandpaper to use in order to ensure that the complete surface is sanded well.
Polish: There are innumerable polishing products for the aluminum. It i recommended to ask a nearby hardware store for the best one. Regardless of the polishing product used, there are different ways to polish the surface. One way is to use a microfiber cloth, apply the polish to specific areas, and then work the polish in using circular motions. Another way that some people prefer is buffing:using a buffer brush, a mechanical buffer, or a buffer pad. Buffing gives a professional level shine. Some hardware stores will also be able to provide you with polishing kits that contain all of these products and thus, let you effectively polish your aluminum at home!
With Diamond Brite Metals, we provide you with various professional polishing services, with enhanced finish and ling lasting quality.