Today’s high quality painted and anodized architectural finishes are extremely durable, but even the best finish needs a little TLC. And with the most careful treatment of the windows, curtain-wall or storefront during installation and daily use, occasional damage will occur.

This page discusses the recommended care of painted or anodized finishes on architectural metal and looks at three levels of concern:
(1) Care and Cleaning (2) Minor Repairs and (3) More Complex Refinishing.


Factory applied heat-cured painted finishes are durable and very colorfast. The PVDF resin-based (Kynar® and Hylar® ) products that meet the AAMA 2605 specification with trade names such as Duranar®, Fluropon® or Trinar® are warranted to retain their color and gloss level for many years. However, to assure that they retain their original beauty, even these highly durable finishes should be cleaned occasionally.

selecting a cleaning solution

selecting a cleaning solution use mild soap solutions that are safe for use with your bare hands such as those products that one would use to wash a car. Avoid the use of strong acid or alkali cleaners as they may damage the finish.

never mix cleaners and solvents

Solvents no stronger than mineral spirits or denatured alcohol may be used to remove grease, sealants or other materials. Never mix cleaners, or cleaners and solvents, as the mixture can cause harmful or even dangerous results. Do not use abrasive cleaners or materials such as steel wool or abrasive brushes, which can also harm the surface.

rinse surface

Once heavy soil, grease or sealant is removed the mild soap solution should be applied with a soft cloth, sponge or soft brush. Rinse the surface thoroughly with clean water and dry with a soft cloth.

Clean Regularly

In Coastal, and other, areas where the finish is exposed to salt spray or in areas containing heavy industrial pollutants the cleaning should take place on a regular basis. Cleaning the painted finish can be scheduled as a part of the regular maintenance program for glass cleaning.

Touch-up of installed aluminum

It is almost a given that some damage will occur, and touchup work will be required, during or after installation. But the good news is that both painted and anodized surface damage can be easily repaired if the damage is slight such as a scratch or rub mark.

removing minor scratches, gouges and other damage

Minor painted surface damage can be sanded prior to touchup painting with excellent results. For scratches or gouges use a relatively course grit paper to remove the damage, then use progressively finer paper to remove the sanding marks, finishing with a 180 to 220 grit paper.

rubmarks before touch-up

Sanding of anodized material that is going to be touched up is not recommended. The anodized surface is aluminum oxide, which is generally harder than the sandpaper. Some rub marks on an anodized surface can be removed with a mild abrasive pad such as the Scotch-Brits pad prior to touch up painting.

touch-up paint colors

Custom finishers may supply a limited amount of touch-up paint with the project material. Touchup paint is supplied in small aerosols or bottles with a built in brush for easy application and is to be applied very sparingly. It is intended to cover small blemishes or to touchup exposed cut ends on fabricated parts. It is not intended for use on large areas of more than a few square inches.

  • The color will closely match the factory applied painted or anodized finish, however the touch up paint is not as hard nor performance the same as the factory applied coatings.

application of touch-up paint

After cleaning the area to be touched up, wipe the area with denatured alcohol to remove any moisture or cleaning residue and apply the touchup per the finisher’s instructions. Use caution as excessive use of touch up paint will void the original finisher’s warranty.


At times a window, curtain-wall or storefront frame will become damaged or discolored beyond the point where simple field touchup will correct the problem.

Damage can result from a variety of sources including:

  • Final cleaning of the building facade without proper protection of the aluminum surfaces,
  • Environmental impact from sea-coast or corrosive atmosphere exposure
  • Long term neglect
  • Selection of the wrong finish at the time the material was finished and fabricated.
    (For example specifying baked enamel coatings for exterior components.)

linetec field service employment

Linetec employs field service professionals who are trained in the proper preparation and application of field applied architectural finishes. The highly specialized coatings, known as Air-Dry Systems, or ADS, can be tinted to match nearly any existing or desired painted or anodized finish color.

Achieving long-term results with special cleaning and treatment

Special cleaning and pretreatment procedures are critical to achieve the desired long-term results. The paint must also be formulated to closely match the characteristics of the existing finish, particularly if only a portion of the existing surfaces
will be refinished.

site visits to determine treatment(s)

Completion of a field repair will begin with an initial contact with the field service professional to describe the problem. The scope of a field-refinishing project varies greatly, involving anything from a single door or window to a building elevation or an entire building. Usually, for all but the simplest repairs, the field service professional will recommend a site visit to examine the problem.

site visit follow-up quote and treatement

Following the site visit the field service professional will prepare a quotation for the work to be completed and also a sample color chip for approval. Following acceptance of the quotation and samples, and preparation of a contract for the work to be completed, the work will begin. Field repairs can generally be performed at temperatures above 50 degrees Fahrenheit or warmer. The field service professional will handle all of the details such as permits, sidewalk protection and barricades.

Contracting for the services of a professional who specializes in the refinishing of architectural metals will assure that the work is completed using the correct methods and proper materials, assuring satisfaction with the long term results guaranteed.


Download a copy of Linetec’s Care of Finished Aluminum Guide here:

Care of Finished Aluminum Guide

AAMA Verified Component Licensee

American Architectural Manufacturers Association, a material-neutral organization, is the source of performance standards for the fenestration professionals of window, door, skylight, curtain wall and storefront manufacturing companies.


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