Aluminum is a very interesting and widespread material in the field of construction due to its many qualities. Solid, light, durable, practical and aesthetic, it can be used in multiple elements of the home such as joinery, verandas and garden sheds, gates and fences, railings, cladding, etc. Let’s take a look at the characteristics of this material.
What are the characteristics of aluminum?
Aluminum is a metallic material discovered in 1808 by British physicist and chemist Sir Humphrey Davy. Both light and strong, it is a very useful metal in the field of construction, as it is easy to work with, manageable, robust and aesthetic. It is indeed the most used metal in this field after iron. If it was formerly essentially devoted to large-scale works, it now invites itself to individuals for the realization of multiple elements of the dwelling.
In construction, aluminum can be used in two forms. The profiles allow the realization of joinery, verandas and other types of construction of this kind. As for laminates, they are reserved for products such as doors, roller shutters, cladding, heating and ventilation equipment, panels or even roofs.
The particularity of aluminum is that it is a soft metal. Its resistance for use in construction often requires it to be combined with other metals, in particular copper and zinc. Of course, depending on the alloys used, the properties of aluminum will change.
In terms of price, raw aluminum stands on the market at around 840 euros per ton, or 0.84 euros per kilo.
What are the advantages of aluminum?
Aluminum is a metal that has many advantages.
A lightweight material
Aluminum is very light, which allows for more aerial constructions. It is for this reason that verandas and aluminum windows are much more openwork and elegant than PVC ones. The glazed surface can be much larger thanks to this material, which is also a means of achieving significant savings. Aluminum indeed offers greater strength and rigidity than other materials, with a density of 2.7 g/cm3.
An easy-to-work material
Malleable, aluminum is easy to forge, roll, extrude and transform into multiple shapes, due to its low melting temperature.
A durable material
Aluminum has the advantage of being fully recyclable, without loss of its properties, thanks to its infinite life cycle. In addition, its resistance to corrosion considerably reduces its maintenance and the use of chemicals. Indeed, a protective oxide layer naturally forms on the surface of aluminum when it comes into contact with air.
An aesthetic material
In terms of finishes, aluminum is a champion since it comes in a multitude of colours, shades and textures. It can even imitate other materials.
To do this, aluminum can be treated in two ways using labeled processes:
- anodized aluminum : in this case, the aluminum undergoes a surface treatment so as to form a uniform layer of aluminum oxide by electrolysis. Very resistant, it can be left colorless or colored as desired.
- Thermo-lacquered aluminum : this other surface treatment consists of a chemical treatment intended to improve the adhesion of the paint, electrostatic powdering and polymerization in the oven. The aluminum can thus take on the desired appearance.
What are the disadvantages of this material?
Despite its undeniable advantages, aluminum has certain disadvantages.
A material that is not very resistant to shocks
Admittedly, aluminum is a solid metal, but its thin malleability weakens it and does not allow it to withstand blows and shocks without deforming or sinking. However, the thicker the aluminum chosen, the more resistant it will be. When this solution is not possible, it should be combined with a more resistant metal.
A material with high conductivity
Being an excellent conductor of heat and electricity, aluminum is used in the construction of structures requiring heat transmission or in electrical wires. On the other hand, for the manufacture of joinery, it is essential to combine it with other insulating materials to avoid thermal bridges.
A higher priced material
Aluminum is more expensive than wood, and its price is significantly higher than that of PVC. Indeed, depending on the elements you intend to build in aluminum, you will need to plan a budget three to ten times more expensive than with other materials.