e captured this shot of some aluminium wall capping components on their way from our factory to our polyester powder coating plant, which are adjacent to each other in Hyde, Cheshire. Freshly profiled and welded, they will next be pre-treated, etch-primed and then powder coated in the client’s chosen colour.
Each wall-capping order is unique. The copings are made to fit the required site dimensions. Specials, some of which can be seen in this photograph, such as corners, T-joints, curves and peaks, are all made-to-measure in the factory, ready to slot accurately together on site.
Many specifiers, architects, builders and structural engineers are now choosing this type of coping to finish off the tops of walls. The old way of doing it, using lead topped with concrete slabs, is problematic for several reasons: the lead can be stolen, the slabs can work loose as the mortar loses its strength, for example. Another key advantage of powder coated aluminium is that colours can be chosen to match other architectural products, such as fascias, cladding, doors and windows. Stipulating a specific RAL number ensures a perfect match between all components. It is, however, also perfectly reasonable to install plain, ‘mill finish’ (i.e. untreated) aluminium wall cappings, due to the material’s great corrosion-resisting qualities: see below.
Not unlike aluminium gutters, aluminium wall cappings are supplied in lengths of up to nearly 3 metres, and fixed to clips which are screwed to the top of the wall. A water-tight seal is made between the clip and the coping, creating a continuous, smart-looking, durable, weather-resistant finish.
Not far from our factory is one of our earliest wall capping installations: in Denton, Manchester. Well in excess of 20 years old, it is the finishing touch on the peaked gable of an apartment block. It is still looking good and still going strong.
As with all coatings and paint finishes, the lifespan of the powder coating depends on the environmental circumstances of the installation and the maintenance regime that prevails, but even plain, untreated aluminium has extraordinary qualities of corrosion resistance. We would draw readers’ minds to the footage we periodically see of 1940s and 50s aircraft – the Dakota for example – still strong and shiny and still flying, built from aluminium that has never even been painted.