Aluminium is an extremely resilient material and is used in a diverse range of applications for this reason. However, continued exposure to moisture can cause unattractive staining, especially when the components have not been separated and allowed to dry. While this discolouring will not affect the strength or integrity of the aluminium product, the visual appearance will be marred, making the installation look less than professional quality and impacting customer satisfaction.
What causes water staining?
When aluminium is exposed to water or moisture, and the wetness is trapped between wraps, sheets or other packaging material with no airflow to remove it, the prolonged contact between water and metal causes a chemical reaction, resulting in a water stain. This can present as white marks or dark stains, which develop very quickly. Therefore, it’s very important to take remedial action immediately once any moisture is observed on or around an aluminium product.
Condensation can also cause this discolouring, for instance, when aluminium is removed from a cold storage area into a warm truck on a humid day. While this reaction can occur during any season, it is more likely to happen in summer.
The Aluminum Association of America lists out several ways to minimise or avoid water staining of aluminium.
Avoiding water staining:
- Do not leave goods packaged and stored outdoors. If goods need to be left outside for any reason prior to install, unpack them and leave them separated on timber so that there is no aluminium-to-aluminium contact.
- In storage, use wood faced shelving, racks and bins to store aluminium products. Avoid placing them with other metals.
- Store away from caustics, nitrates, phosphates and acids.
- Use older stock first.
- Upon receipt of deliveries, inspect the materials, packaging and pallets for signs of wetness to avoid the possibility of water staining.
- Avoid storing aluminium products near obvious water sources such as steam and water pipes, or open doors and windows.
- If the metal is received cold, allow it to come gradually to room temperature before opening or breaching the packaging – this may take several days but it will help avoid condensation developing on the material.
When aluminium comes in contact with water
If you notice moisture on the aluminium, allow it to dry off thoroughly before storage. This should be done by evaporation using dry air, if possible fans. Removal of moisture will prevent water stains and halt the growth of any existing water stains. Do not delay remedial action.
Cleaning water stained aluminium
Heavy duty scour pads should be used with clean water to remove water stains from your aluminium. Once cleaned and dried completely, it’s unlikely that the stain will develop any further.
How is Sayfa minimising water staining?
As part of their duty of care to customers, Sayfa Group conducts regular discussions with their freight contractors to prevent water or moisture exposure to products during transport or transit. Sayfa’s goods are always transported in covered trucks and kept under shelter.