Many of us know the unique aspects of Aluminum. This versatile metal is widely used in different places for various purposes. It can be used as a signpost, in the formation of electronics, or in the construction industry.

But, the aspect that I love the most is that it is available in different forms and finishes. Homeowners and contractors use its different forms in their projects. Within these forms, the most widely used types of aluminum are standard and brushed aluminum.

Both of these types look similar at first glance. But, in reality, there are major differences between them. I have seen a lot of people confuse them, however.

So, we have decided to provide this guide so that you can tell the differences between these two types of aluminum. If you are curious, we recommend that you read to the very end.

Similarities of Standard Aluminum and Brushed Aluminum

Man working with Aluminum
Man working with Aluminum

It is best that you learn about the similarities before going into the differences. These similarities will also be helpful to you.

The first similarity is that these aluminum types are made of Max-metal. It is actually two thin aluminum sheets that are combined through a reinforced plastic core. This plastic core is called polythene. The most unique aspect of it is that it is a hard plastic. So, it will make your aluminum durable.

Moreover, standard and brushed aluminum is ductile. This means you can frame and structure them in different forms and shapes. So, it is easy to use them in a variety of different projects.

Corrosion resistance is another amazing aspect of this metal. You don’t need to worry about the corrosion in both types of this metal.

Another amazing aspect of both of these aluminum types are good conductors of electricity. So, you can use them in wiring.

A lot of people also love these aluminum types because they are lightweight. So, you can use them in those projects where you are concerned about weight.

Also, you can use them on indoors and outdoors projects. For example, you can use them in construction projects, electronics, and kitchen appliances.

There are different ways of attaching both aluminum types. But, the most common method is through drill holes. You can use screws or washers to combine the sheets of aluminum.

In terms of signpost usage, they also have a few similarities. They both make durable signposts. If the quality of ink is good on them, then these signposts can last for longer.

In fact, you can’t use white ink on any of these aluminum types. This is because it will not appear on any part of the signage.

These are a few similarities. Now, let’s discuss some differences.

Differences between Standard and Brushed Aluminum

There are a few differences between these two types of aluminum which we are going to discuss.

1. Appearance

It looks like the appearance of these aluminum types are similar. But in reality, they are quite different from each other. How?

Well, the standard aluminum has a semi-gloss finish. This means that you will feel a smooth surface if you ran your finger on it. It also has a shiny and mirror-like appearance. So, you can see your reflection in it without any difficulty.

On the other hand, the brushed aluminum has a subdued appearance. You will not feel the smoothness of it when running your finger on it. It has a textured and linear pattern. Moreover, its matte or satin finish doesn’t give a mirror-like appearance to it.

2. E-Pane

Worker cutting Brushed Aluminum
Worker cutting Brushed Aluminum

This is a composite material that you can find in every aluminum. But, the thickness of it varies in each type.

The display of standard aluminum, due to the E-pane is 2mm. So, it is very lightweight and thin.

On the other hand, in brushed aluminum, the display is 3mm. So, it is a little heavier than standard aluminum.

3. Texture

The textures of both types are different from each other. You can feel the difference by touching the surfaces.

The standard one has no perceptible texture so it looks smooth to touch and feel.

On the other hand, the brushed aluminum has a brushed effect on a rustic metallic finish. Due to the linear brushing pattern, it has a tactile texture. So, it doesn’t feel smooth and linear.

4. Durability

They both are equally durable but vary in a few aspects.

Standard aluminum has a highly reflective structure so scratches will become prominent on it. But, it is strong so it will not easily get scratched and can endure different wear and tear.

Brushed aluminum is quite different. It has a textured surface so it can hide minor scratches easily. But, it is a bit softer than the standard aluminum so it is ideal to use it indoors. It is more prone to scratches than the standard one.

5. Maintenance

Standard aluminum requires a lot more maintenance and cleaning than brushed aluminum.

Standard has a shiny surface so fingerprints and smudges can appear on it, and dirt can make it less reflective. So, you need to do proper cleaning of it daily. Otherwise, its shine will get dull and it will start looking bad.

In comparison to it, brushed aluminum works well in hiding dirt, fingerprints, and smudges. It has a brushed surface which helps you maintain this aluminum easily.

6. Cost

In terms of cost, you can save money by buying standard aluminum. This is because it is light, easy to manufacture, and has less demand for surface perfection.

On the other hand, brushed aluminum is a bit more expensive than its competitor. Because its production needs to be brushed, it takes a bit more time and money.

7. Color Differences

This difference applies when you are using aluminum for different signposts. They both are different in the raw state.

The standard aluminum in the form of a sign doesn’t have the typical aluminum look. It is not of a metallic color. Instead, it is in a plain white color on both sides.

When you print on it, some places that are not in the design appear white. But, you can customize the color too according to your preference and need.

On the other hand, the brushed aluminum sign has a metallic silver color. So, the part which will not appear in the sign is of a silver color.

8. Printed on Both Sides

This difference is also applicable only to aluminum signs.

On standard aluminum, you can print your design on both sides. So, if you want an advertisement panel that displays printing on both sides, you should go for this option.

On the other hand, brushed aluminum signs can only be printed on one side. So, they are ideal for wall mounting or indoor advertisements.

9. Applications

Standard and brushed aluminum can indeed be used in the same type of project. But, there are a few places where a specific type fits ideally. You should know where they can ideally fit.

Standard Aluminum is used in construction projects. For example, you can use it for making siding, door framing, windows, roofs, and other structural projects.

Moreover, it is also used in the transportation industry in different projects. For example, you can use it for making engine components, vehicle frames, and aircraft structures.

Electricians also used it in electrical wiring. Also, it is used in different packaging such as in cans and food containers.

On the other hand, brushed aluminum is used in different electronics. For example, in smartphones and laptops. Also, it is used for casings and covers.

We have seen people prefer using brushed aluminum as signage. Because it has a luxurious look while standard aluminum is plain.

Moreover, it is mostly used in those projects that require decorations. Such as, in furniture, trim, and wall panels. It is also used for exterior and interior automotive trim. Because it can enhance the appearance of a vehicle.

As a signage, both aluminum work differently. Standard aluminum gives a classical look to it while brushed aluminum gives a business and formal look to it.

You can use standard aluminum signage for real estate, branding, informational sharing, public service, corporate plaques, and so on.

On the other hand, brushed aluminum can be used in formal and business settings. For example, in lobbies, offices, hallways, waiting rooms, reception areas, and more.

So, these are the major differences. Now, we are going to discuss the pros and cons of both aluminum. It will summarize the differences between these types.

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Pros and Cons of Standard Aluminum

A few pros and cons of standard aluminum are as follows:

Pros of Standard Aluminum

  • It is weather-resistant. So, you can use it outdoors without any second thought.
  • It is affordable so you can easily adjust it in your budget.
  • It can be printed on both sides for poster purposes.
  • It is versatile and portable.
  • It has a plain white background so you can use any color or print on it.
  • It can give a classical look to your place.

Cons of Standard Aluminum

  • It has a basic and plain design. There is nothing extraordinary about it. So, people don’t use it for decorative purposes.

Pros and Cons of Brushed Aluminum

Now, we are going to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of brushed aluminum. It will help you in making an educated decision.

Pros of Brushed Aluminum

  • It is a weather-resistant aluminum.
  • It has a luxurious appearance. So, it looks like an expensive metal.
  • It is ideal to use for business purposes.
  • You can use it for decorative purposes.

Cons of Brushed Aluminum

  • It is more expensive than the standard aluminum.
  • It isn’t very durable. So, we suggest you use it indoors.
  • For signposting, you can only print one side.

Final Words Overall, we hope you learned the difference between aluminum and brushed aluminum. On the surface level, these two aluminum types appear to be the same thing. However, through this comparison, you learned that they are two very different types of aluminum. If you are ever confused on which aluminum to choose, please refer to this article as a reference guide.

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