Mirror Finish Aluminum Skin Maintenance

Finishes, paints and coatings

Mirror Finish Aluminum Skin Maintenance

Postby Redneck Teepee » Wed Jan 22, 2014 12:14 am

Just wondering what those of you with the mirror finish aluminum skins are using to keep em shiny, bright and that just polished look, right now I'm using Rain-X wax and it works well with the soft lint free rags, but I don't want to have to wax it for just a quick wash or wipe down. I know anything with ammonia in it is a no-no on the aluminum, and I've tried ammonia free glass cleaner but it seems to leave a film....any suggestions........Larry
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Re: Mirror Finish Aluminum Skin Maintenance

Postby 48Rob » Wed Jan 22, 2014 8:12 am

Larry,

Keeping that just polished look requires frequent polishing...

Using a spot free rinse system makes a big difference, as does using only the softest towels.
Still, annual re polish is required.

Rob
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Re: Mirror Finish Aluminum Skin Maintenance

Postby aggie79 » Wed Jan 22, 2014 8:55 am

I have the bright clear anodized finish aluminum. Although it doesn't require polishing I put a coat of 100% carnauba wax on it annually to keep the bird droppings and tree sap from sticking to the aluminum.
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Re: Mirror Finish Aluminum Skin Maintenance

Postby Redneck Teepee » Wed Jan 22, 2014 10:51 am

I guess it will have to be "one more" thing to keep polished up around here, as usual good ol elbow grease is the answer. You guy's and gal's may want to invest in Ecolab or ECL on the stock exchange the makers of Rain-X products...LoL!... My consumption is getting ready to increase by 100%! .... Thanks for the reply's...Larry
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Re: Mirror Finish Aluminum Skin Maintenance

Postby Jonpachla » Fri Jan 24, 2014 12:54 pm

Looking for input here on skin

I have a line on 60"x120 .040 mill finish skin however the guy says it does not have plastic sheeting on it,, he says it has some light scuffs, much like what I would have after moving it around a bit at home.

Question? Can that be rubbed out? should I stay away


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Re: Mirror Finish Aluminum Skin Maintenance

Postby 48Rob » Fri Jan 24, 2014 2:50 pm

Yes,

Light scuffs can be rubbed out (polished out).

The more important decision is how much time do you want to spend keeping it looking "perfect"?

The more of a mirror shine you give it, the more easily it can be "scuffed".
On one of mine, once polished, wiping a clean paper towel across it scuffed (scratched) the surface.
Rubbing your finger tips across it, like most peple want to do to "see it" :o will also leave minor scratches.
Having a really nice shine can be a lot of work...but it can also look really cool!
Personally, a mill finish with a few marks on it looks pretty darn good too, unless you want perfect.
Sort of like a brand new car, perfect paint...until you get that first scratch. Once you get over that, not quite perfect is just as nice and unless the side is caved in, you are probably the only person that notices, or cares, that it isn't perfect..

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Re: Mirror Finish Aluminum Skin Maintenance

Postby citylights » Fri Jan 24, 2014 5:02 pm

I maintain my aluminum mirror finish with an orbital sander with light grit paper and wire brush. Blends in those major scratches in just a second with one or two passes.

Polish and wax? Seriously? :FNP

I am afraid I have other things to do. The BBQ is calling me, that next project needs work, what about a run out to the lake? The game is on, throw the ball around with the kids, experiment with cast iron cooking... Polishing the aluminum has got to be about last on the list!
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Re: Mirror Finish Aluminum Skin Maintenance

Postby Redneck Teepee » Fri Jan 24, 2014 5:40 pm

[quote=. Blends in those major scratches in just a second with one or two passes.

:lol: Your right City, right now everything is shiny and new, but I'm sure after a few sand pit's and rock chips it will find it's self on the back burner for a polish job.
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Re: Mirror Finish Aluminum Skin Maintenance

Postby sweetnsaurer » Thu May 22, 2014 11:22 pm

Hi, I am looking for some clarity on maintaining the aluminum skin of my just purchased 2006 teardrop. Based on reading on this subject I don't know if I should be waxing or sanding. Currently the finish is..well..dull with a few pits, though there is a shiny spot here and there. I'm not looking for perfection here, just the soundest way to care for the skin, and make it look a bit better.
Thanks in advance for any advice.
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Re: Mirror Finish Aluminum Skin Maintenance

Postby 48Rob » Fri May 23, 2014 5:58 am

C.

The best thing you can do for your mill finish aluminum is simply wash it now and then.

Mill finish will always have a variety of small scratches, and shiny spots in the generally dull finish.
As soon as you attempt to "make it look better" you will have started down the road to never being happy with it and always trying to make it look a little more shiny...
If it starts to bug you, you can wet it down and wash with an acid etch, which will even out the dull and shiny areas, but even then, just as with the original mill finish, one you get a little scratch, or something rubs hard on it, you will again have a shiny spot on a dull background.

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Re: Mirror Finish Aluminum Skin Maintenance

Postby sweetnsaurer » Fri May 23, 2014 1:30 pm

Thanks Rob, I don't know a thing about 'mill finish' so I guess I have some research to do.
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Re: Mirror Finish Aluminum Skin Maintenance

Postby Chinookered » Sat May 24, 2014 8:14 am

This may be worth trying:

A coworker of mine has a 22' Airstream and his claim to keeping it clean shiny and new is using WD40. I'm not sure of his application process if he's spraying it onto a rag then applying it or if he's spraying directly to the aluminum and wiping it down. (The next time I think about it, I'll have to ask) So, proceed with caution, but I must say, whenever we're out camping, his Airstream looks spotless.


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Re: Mirror Finish Aluminum Skin Maintenance

Postby zippy » Mon Jun 16, 2014 12:30 am

the smoother the aluminium the easier it is to care for as less surface to oxidise.

Most aluminum polishes leave a polymer type barrier behind to slow oxidation.

You can also buy aircraft wipe on wipe off products that slow the oxidisation.
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Re: Mirror Finish Aluminum Skin Maintenance

Postby lfrazer98 » Sun Jun 29, 2014 12:35 pm

I unrolled my .030 aluminum from the RV place and I see little black pits running along the edge and various parts across the middle. Is this the oxidation that you are mentioning? How do I minimize these marks? The only aluminum polish that I could find is Brasso, but it contains ammonia. I read above that that is a no no. Thanks for your help!
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Re: Mirror Finish Aluminum Skin Maintenance

Postby ibbuckshot » Sat Jan 03, 2015 10:37 pm

Lauren,
Brasso is for copper and brass. We use to use it in the military to polish our uniform brass for inspections. Go to a large truck stop or truck polishing shop and you will find products that
properly work with aluminum. Polishing large areas of aluminum can be VERY dirty work.
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