This is a bit like asking how long a building’s windows will last. Or roofing materials? Or exterior paint? The answer... it depends.
In a nutshell
- A brise soleil system could last up to 70 years – often more
- Many factors affect lifespan – an experienced brise soleil specialist will know best
- Aluminium will typically last longer than wood
- Anodising and powder-coating will extend the life of aluminium
- Projects in exposed or marine locations will require additional protection
- It’s important to think about the strength of fixings and the sub-structure – strict building regs apply
Fortunately, experienced brise soleil specialists will have extensive knowledge on the various factors that can affect lifespan.
Untreated aluminium will last longer than untreated wood. However, very few people are going to use untreated wood, which can start to rot and warp after a matter of months. High-quality timber treatment can extend its lifespan to up to 40 years. Untreated aluminium? Around 20 to 30 years.
Anodising and powder-coating will extend the life of aluminium in all types of locations.
- Anodising increases the thickness of the oxide layer that appears naturally on the surface of exposed aluminium, improving resistance to wear and corrosion. Lifespan? Up to 70 years.
- Powder-coating is used to create a hard, protective layer than is tougher than conventional paint. It’s often less expensive than anodising but, depending on the thickness of the coating, has a lifespan of up to only 20 years.
The salty air of marine locations can speed up the corrosion process dramatically – and it will be worse in particularly exposed sites. Most brise soleil specialists will recommend anodising but a thicker powder-coat is also an option (although it may not achieve an A1 fire rating).
It doesn’t matter how long the brise soleil lasts, if the sub-structure is not robust, the entire system is going to fail before its time. Typically steel, the structure must meet strict building regulations - notably its strength under loading (not just from its own weight but also from wind, snow and ice). All fixings are covered by the building regs too.
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