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What’s The Best Metal For Marine Locations?

Building near the ocean is beautiful – but the corrosive impact of those stunning sea views is an unattractive challenge. Constant exposure to salty air and humidity means that any perforated metal used – such as for a facade or balcony screens – must have high corrosion resistance to prevent the panels from degrading over time. So, which is the best metal for marine locations to ensure it looks as good as the day it was installed?

The Best Metal for Marine Environments: What to Consider

Rust, colour loss, corrosion, and damage to structural integrity: These are all significant risks if the correct type of perforated metal is not chosen for a marine or coastal build, leading to costly replacement.

But before choosing any perforated metal or pattern, it is essential to consider the marine severity level of the location, taking into account factors such as:

  • The distance from the water
  • Water conditions – is it breaking seas with open spray, calm harbour, or river waters?
  • Local typical rainfall levels – regular heavy rain will help to wash away salt contaminants
  • Wind exposure and strength

All these factors will help to determine which type of metal is suited to your project’s unique environment.

Which is the Best Metal for Marine Locations?

For most coastal projects, the best metal for marine locations is either aluminium or stainless steel, which each have different advantages:

Benefits of aluminium for marine projects

Aluminium is a strong, lightweight metal with excellent corrosion resistance thanks to its natural oxide layer. Grades 5005 or 5052 are popular for everyday coastal building applications, such as facades, shades, and screens.

Benefits of stainless steel for marine projects

Stainless steel Grade 316 is ideal for more heavy-duty marine projects due to its exceptional corrosion resistance. It provides a clean, attractive finish, together with strength and durability.

Is a Finish Needed?

A finish can provide even more protection when installing perforated metal in marine conditions. For 5005-grade aluminium, we recommend anoidising, a process that thickens the metal’s oxide layer to increase its corrosion resistance. Colour can also be added at the same time, resulting in a tough, durable, and attractive coloured surface. We can also add colour on its own through powder coating.

If you use 316 stainless steel, this can be installed without a finish. It can also be powder-coated to add colour. 

Click on photos to enlarge

What About Metal Maintenance?

It is a good idea to regularly wash down perforated metal in a salty environment, to remove surface contaminants and prevent build-up. We will advise if there is a specific schedule to follow, depending on the type of metal used, the severity of the location, and if a finish is applied, the coating manufacturer’s warranty.

Marine Inspiration: Explore Arrow Metal Coastal Case Studies

We manufacture and supply perforated metal for all types of marine and coastal location architectural projects across Australia. Browse some of our waterside works, including:

Order the Best Metal for Marine Projects from Arrow Metal

Chat to our expert team for marine perforated metal advice on (02) 9748 2200 or email an enquiry to samples are available on request for all designs, supplied with detailed product specification information. You can also download our brochure for more details.

Browse or download our Perforated Metal Catalogue , Brass Woven Wire Mesh Catalogue  or  Project Look Book for more perforated metal inspiration.

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Posted: May 19, 2023

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