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I'm the owner of a commercial building, roughly 20 years old, in Richardson, Texas. The bronze anodized aluminum storefront window frames of this building have been dulled by age, sun, paint and mineral deposits, and likely airborne pollutants and other impurities. The windows are West and North facing so they get a large exposure to the Texas sun.

I'm looking for a way or method to restore or paint the frames so they look presentable.

I've contacted several restoration type companies in our area, and each seems to have a different method and solution for restoring the frames. Several have indicated that there is a product on the market which will bring the frames back to 80-90% of the original finish. Others have simply told me that there is no way to restore the frames. And still others have said that painting the frames is the best option. In an effort to try and investigate the possibility and correct method of restoring the frames, I have tried several methods including: rubbing compounds and circular buffing, acetone, SafeRestore, and a couple of other off the shelf cleaning agents, with no favorable results. I'm now convinced that these aged frames can't be restored to anywhere near 80-90% of the original finish. If anyone knows of a product which really works, long term, I would like to test it and specify it to the restoration contractor.

I've discussed the painting option with two of the large paint manufacturers, BM and SW. Even they had different surface preparation recommendations for handling our situation. BM recommended abrading the surface prior to priming, SW didn't think this was necessary.

The process given by BW was:
BM
1. Clean frames with power washing.
2. Scrape any loose material and Abrade Surface.
3. Clean and Degrease with power washing.
4. Prime with BM 023 or M04.
5. Paint with DTMS M28 gloss or M29 Semi Gloss.

The process given by SW was similar, but didn't include abrading the surface.
1. Clean and degrease frames with power washing.
2. Scrape any loose material and reclean and degrease these areas.
3. Prime using KenKromik universal primer (B50wzl)
4. Paint with DTM acrylic paint gloss or semigloss.

Common to both was the use of an Acrylic paint. Acrylic was recommended by both MFGs because of it's expansion and contraction properties, which are needed when dealing with a soft material like Aluminum.

Neither MFG would commit or had any test data as to the longevity of their applied paint in our geographic area. They both sited that surface prep was the key to the paint adhering. This leaves me with an uneasy feeling, not know how long paint will adhere before it starts peeling. I don't want to be painting these frames every 2-3 years.

So, my questions are:
1. Is there really a cleaning or restoration agent on the market which will restore the frames, long term, to 80-90% of original finish?
2. If paint is the only remaining option, how long can I expect paint to adhere in the North Texas sunny geographic area?
 

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FT painter/FT dad
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1,254 Posts
What BM and SW said is fine. I always sand or scuff the area anyway, but I know that is best, because I'm a professional painter. DTM is great stuff. I guess they are telling you to prime to either make more money from you or just to have some more peace of mind. If you prep it right and apply the paint following all dry times and such, I would think it would hold up for at least 2-5 years before needing to be freshened up. I personally recommend the DTM.

Not so sure what else to say. You are a professional painter, I assume, so get out there and make some money.
 

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Epoxy Dude
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First, those recommendations will probably work for some short period of time. Somehow I think you want more than what SW or BM has to offer. I can't talk about the products that we offer due to the terms of service of use of these forums.

If you are looking for this to last for as long as possible... don't skimp on the primer. You really need an epoxy technology that is either 100% solids or fortified with special anti-corrosive pigments.

Also, go beyond the performance of acrylics. Use 2 coats of topcoat to minimize any thin areas or pinholes...

Here are some generic recommendations:

1) Clean the surface with powerwashing
2) Scrape loose material and abrade surface
3) Use a high adhesion 2 component (pick one below)
100% solids fluoropolymer modified epoxy primer fortified with silane
OR
2K Solventbased epoxy fortified with anti-corrosive pigments
4) Fill any moving cracks/joints with 2K Epoxy Urethane Acrylate Caulk
5) Topcoat with an Aerospace grade 2K Aliphatic Polyurethane or Fluoropolymer Modified 2K urethane...

In general... a system like this may last longer than your windows...

Last, when you talk to BM or SW it is unlikely that you will actually get to talk to someone who knows enough to really give you more than a residential product. If you are looking for residential type performance... use them. I suggest that you find a good small paint manufacturer. I would look for one that makes coatings for airplanes, water storage tanks, or chemical storage tanks.
 

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Wolverine... Wow! I really like all them totally awesome product names you get to use. I already printed out the screen so I can practice saying all those greek words. Now, all I gotta say is DTM WHITE or DTM GRAY.

Can we buy that stuff here in California ? or will some gubment abreviashun come get us if we ask for it at HD ?

Does it come in ocean blue? and sequoia green ?

What's the cost to cover a 400sq ft project ?

Steel doors, & jambs, w/ whatever primer they left the factory with...
r
 

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Ohio Painting Contractor
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My professional opinion is not to us SW or BM dtm. Hopefully our sales rep isnt reading this. I would agree with wolverine by finding a specialty product, if I was you I would pm him and see what he could offer you. What we have used in the past is an excellent generic industrial grade paint call Devoe Coatings manufactured by ICI - Duluxe Paints. Ech the surface, prime, and paint it will last forever.
 

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Prime with 400W. If in OTC state, UMA works well and is VOC compliant. Both products work with a variety of topcoats. UMA (water based)even works well with industrial grade urethanes and epoxies.
 

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FT painter/FT dad
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since telecore hasn't been on since june 3rd (the day he posted) he probably completed his job by now....
 

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We did a similar project at a well-known department store and basically went the DTM route. results were OK except there was not much abrasion resistance. Since the units rarely get touched they should be fine for many years to come. The Acrylic offers good UV holdout. I would recommend looking at a catalyzed system, like and epoxy/urethane, as mentioned in a previous post, or the flouropolymer. These are high-performance coatings and are not user-friendly like the DTMs. With the DTM you can get away with brushes and sponge rollers in many cases, the catalyzed products are almost exclusively spray-applied. Aside from SW, Devoe (ICI), BM, you might look at Tnemec or Carboline.
 

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I deal with a contractor up here in Canada that has been re finishing anodized aluminum onsite for years. The other contractors you mentioned were right when they said that the pre treatment is the critical part.Obviously it then has to be primed, prefferably with a 2 component epoxy primer and then an acrylic type exterior(Iso free system) as finish coat.
Another alternative to your problem may be to get a window guy in there and see if he can clad the existing frame with maybe a curtain wall pressure plate and cap.Depends on the dimension of the face of the window that is exposed etc.
 

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The SW DTM products are not high performance enough for what you want. They make much higher end products like FlouroKem and polysiloxane. I assume that that is similar to the fluropolymer that wolverine was talking about. Those fluoropolymer are $$$ but should last a looong time with superior color and gloss retention. Ask an to speak to an industrial rep at SW. He will know about the specialty coatings.
 

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What is the budget? That can determine the system. If you want automotive performance, that can be acheived with high performance systems. Not sure anti-corrosive is needed for aluminum? 100% solids may not be elastic enough and not withstand thermal shock well? Clean in accordance with SSPC-SP-1 Solvent Cleaning. You can abrade to a slight profile using several methods including, black or green 3M Scoth Pads. If an epoxy is used, epoxies generally need a random pattern of scratches in the surface to create a profile and anchor pattern. Aliphatic Acrylic Urethanes/Polyurethanes are ideal for Texas weather, and will prevent the epoxy primers or any epoxy topcoat from chalking. Yes, these are spray applied. I have restored many bronzetone factory finished aluminum windows with BM DTM's, M29, and M28, and found that for the budget, they have outstanding adhesion, very good gloss and color retention, and very good abraision resistance. These systems are not automotive grade, but are better than residential grade in my opinion.
 

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OP was, but often threads like this with good information from member's responses are left.
I have to agree with this comment exactly. Although it was a while ago, it answered the very question I was faced with today. A customer would like the exterior of her anodized aluminum window frames painted white. Trying to gain curb appeal I will be able to help her out without the fear of it going to crap next year. Going to find the BM DTM M28 tomorrow and see what we can get worked out for her :)

Thanks guys for following the posters lead and leading me to the answer :notworthy::notworthy:
:thumbup::thumbup::thumbsup::thumbup::thumbup:
 
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