16 Oct 2018

The Importance Of A Quality Finish For Your Aluminum Bleachers

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aluminum bleachers

A quality finish for aluminum bleachers is an important component to consider when choosing a company for spectator seating.

When you choose a company to supply your aluminum bleachers, be sure to pick one that applies a finish that will protect your bleachers and uphold their appearance over the years.

While aluminum bleachers are built and installed to last for years with minimum maintenance, the finish should always complement your venue and make safety and comfort top priorities for all spectators.

Available finishes and options for your new aluminum bleachers each have unique qualities and benefits, and should always be considered when replacing, updating, or installing new aluminum bleachers.

Aluminum bleachers start with a Mill Finish

When aluminum bleachers come out of the extrusion process, they have a standard mill finish. That means that the aluminum planks quickly form an oxide coating on their exterior as they become exposed to the surrounding atmosphere and environment.

This oxide coating now acts as a protectant for the aluminum base, and since it is the natural finish coming right out of the extrusion process, it can also be the most cost-effective.

A mill finish is good for use on risers and foot planks, and even though it can start out looking discolored and uneven, a mill finish will eventually end up being mostly even colored throughout as it is exposed to the weather and elements.

Anodized aluminum: the Preferred Choice

Another popular and cost-effective choice for aluminum bleachers is to have them installed with an anodized finish.

Anodized aluminum is the result of an electrochemical process that creates a thin, durable and resistant barrier-type finish that resists corrosion, flaking and chipping on the aluminum surface.

The anodizing process results in an anodic oxide finish that actually becomes structurally integrated with the mill finished aluminum planks.

Beneficial properties of anodized aluminum finish include providing a more vibrant appearance to your bleachers while also providing protection from that chalky coating that can occur over time on standard mill finished aluminum.

Because of that protective quality, anodized aluminum is the preferred choice to use on seating planks, preventing any clothing or skin contact issues with residue buildup, marking or staining.

Anodized aluminum bleachers are very easy to maintain and clean using any readily available mild dish soap and water.

Any tougher stains can be treated with a 50/50 mixture of water and alumabrite, an acid-based aluminum cleaner primarily used in marine applications. By following the specific instructions on the product MSDS sheet and always adding the acid to the water rather than the other way around, the aluminum can then be rinsed clean with tap water.

Hot Dipped Galvanized for structure and connectors

Hot dipped galvanized finish is another coating process, used typically for the support structures and connective parts in larger, I-beam grandstands. It requires a process of melting zinc significantly past its initial melting point and then dipping the metal pieces, coating them entirely with the molten lead. After removing from the molten zinc, the fully coated metal interacts with the atmosphere and forms a corrosion-resistant zinc coating even if subjected to heavy scratches.

powder coated aluminum bleachers

Powder coated aluminum bleachers with team colors.

Powder Coating for extra pop and appeal

Powder coating consists of spraying a fine, dust-like, pigmented powder directly onto the metal. It is applied by using an electrostatic charge that causes the pigmented particles to become attracted to the metal.

When completely coated, the pigment covered metal is left to fully cure, meaning the color infused particles actually fuse to the aluminum for a smooth, durable and consistently colored finish.

Powder coating has proven to be a quality finishing technique that enhances the aesthetics and increases protection for metals used primarily in outdoor structures, equipment, and furnishings.

Powder coating the bleacher seats, floorboards and risers of your aluminum bleachers can bring an increased energy and exciting, game-day vibe to your stadium by flooding the venue in the colors of the home team or hosting school.

Basic colors are red, blue, navy and green. However, custom mixes and selections are always an option to match specific team or organizational colors.

Benefits of powder coating include:

  • Ease of cleaning, with most cleaning only needing soap and water.
  • Glare reduction for the players on the field as well as the other spectators across the field. Colorful powder coating is an aesthetic improvement over the reflective properties of aluminum bleachers.
  • Powder coating is an extra layer of protection for your aluminum bleachers. By being cured onto the metal, the powder coat adds additional protection against UV rays, pollution and wear and tear of spectator use.
  • Powder coating can be used on benches, picnic tables, bike racks and any other metal structure complementing your stadium or school sports venue. Not only will it give those structures the same protection that your bleachers will have, but it will make your venue pop with matching color throughout the entire facility.
  • Powder coating is much more environmentally friendly, not using the same harsh solvents as many regular painting applications.
  • Powder coating personalizes the field, giving it a true home-field advantage. It can affect the players as well as the spectators. Intangibles like team spirit, player readiness, and spectator excitement can be decidedly increased with powder coated aluminum bleachers in the home team’s colors. While other teams will be playing in fields surrounded by the familiar aluminum bleachers, your team and spectators will be surrounded by welcoming home colors.

Bleacher slip-resistant should always be checked

You want your bleachers to look good, but first and foremost, they need to always be safe for all spectators using them.

Aluminum bleachers are continuously subjected to changing environmental conditions like intense sun, wind, rain, snow, and sleet. Add in the occasional spilled drink or dropped food, and your bleachers have the potential to turn into a potentially hazardous area causing slips, trips, and falls, especially on the walkways and stair treads.

Taking a proactive approach to correcting and minimizing this possibility will not only make your bleachers safer, but it may actually save you from a lawsuit or two. By choosing a company that regularly has their bleachers tested for a slip-resistant rating you can address the areas that are likely to be hazardous and prevent an accident from occurring.

Although there are ways to increase the slip resistance once the bleachers are installed, with aftermarket coatings and aluminum plank treatments, your best option is purchasing new or installing replacement bleachers that are manufactured by a reputable, experienced company that uses safe, slip-resistant materials in their initial manufacturing process.

Professionally manufactured, finished and installed aluminum bleachers can increase the lifespan and ease of maintenance of your bleachers, but will also ensure user safety, satisfaction, and game time experience.

By Gerald Dlubala

 

 

 

 

 

 

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