4K Aluminum Patio Covers vs Alumawood Aluminum Patio Covers
In 2020, never has there been so much choice in the way of aluminum patio cover systems than there are today. Yet still, with companies like Alumawood, Duralum, and Fourseasons flooding the market with their products, it’s easy to see how choosing between these products can be confusing. Of course, we’ll need to add newcomer 4K aluminum building products to the list.
Albeit wood is always an option, uhh, actually, I’m not even going to go down that road. Even though wood has been the king of patio covers and pergolas, it’s time for the wood patio cover to step down. Aluminum building products especially when it comes to patio covers have never been as popular as they are right now. In fact, with our company patiocovered, we out-sell wood ten to one. Of course, we don’t think of ourselves as an Aluminum patio cover construction company, it’s just working out that way.
Of course, with so many different manufacturers of aluminum, there will be well, differences in materials. Alumawood is different from Duralum just as 4K aluminum is different than Alumawood Aluminum. Here, we’re going to debate the differences between the 4K aluminum and the Alumawood Aluminum products. We’ll discuss the paint (finish), textures, dimensions, and pricing.
Where is 4K Aluminum Located?The 4K company is located in Las Vegas Nevada. Not too far from California as most of you probably know. Still, we have to make the trek to pick up materials weekly.
Where is Alumawood Aluminum Located?
4K Paint Process
- Durable Aluma-ShieldSM paint system with TEFLON® for long-term gloss retention
- Aluma-Sheild℠ with Teflon®
- TEFLON® surface protector repels a) dust b) dirt c) oil
- Greatly reduces corrosion from the a) sun b) salt c) pollution
- Gloss Finish
- Gold chromate plating to all aluminum
- Gold chromate plating benefits; a) Helps prevent corrosion b) Good basis for paint
- Powder-Coated (Not spray-painted)
- Matt finish
Patio Cover Paint Broken Down
Alumawood paintInterestingly enough, the Alumawood product doesn’t really go into too much description in regards to their paint application process. Furthermore, it was difficult to even find any information on the process anywhere online, to say the least. All we know about the Alumawood paint is what they add in their brochure, as mentioned above.
That being said, I’m sure it has to be a decent application and material because their warranty is very substantial. See it here…” Amerimax Exterior Home Products, Norcross, Georgia (hereinafter referred to as “Amerimax”) warrants that its Alumawood Lattice, Patio Cover, Carport, and Awning products manufactured by Amerimax which are installed at the location shown on this warranty certificate will not split, and the finish will not chip, peel, flake or blister under conditions of normal wear for the life of the original retail purchaser”.
It’s hard to debate the painting process including, it’s material makeup or its application when such little information is known and, with a lifetime warranty. I might add…,” who cares” about the process so long as it’s covered right?
4K paint4K, on the other hand, has just a tad bit more information about their product. For instance, we know that before the painting process the aluminum is coated both inside out. This process is otherwise known as Gold chromate plating. In a nutshell, the GCB process does a few things as mentioned above. More than those things, Helps prevent corrosion, Good basis for paint, etc… I gather from reading about it, the GCB process protects the aluminum from the inside out.
Promoting good material adhesion is a huge benefit because it will thus reduce chipping. That’s a good thing when we’re talking about the little ones who may consider a post for batting practice.
The paint is actually a powder-coat process. Powder coating is a process where the paint is literally baked on inside an oven. It’s a very, very durable material once applied. Not to mention with the addition of Gold chromate plating it’s even that much more durable.
The powder-coat materials used by 4K adhere to the AAMA 2604. The AAMA 2604 rated paint is an intermediary level of powder coating. Experts say it should be used for high traffic areas such as on doors or storefronts because of its durability.
- Color retention: 2604 rated paint must maintain an acceptable level of color change over 5 years.
- Gloss retention: After 5 years, 2604 paint must retain 30% of its gloss.
- Thickness: To achieve a 2604 rating, paint must be a minimum of 1.2 mm.
- Accelerated testing: 2604 rated paint must withstand 3,000 hours of salt spray and humidity abuse before becoming damaged.
- .8 is a standard thickness for other patio cover companies
Lastly, the 4K boasts a 20-year warranty on their paint finish. Not quite the marathon warranty that Alumawood offers.
The Aluminum Patio Cover Materials
Albeit you’re buying a patio cover. But what you’re really buying is a pile of Aluminum, cut in random lengths to make a shape. How sturdy the shape is as well as how long it will stand depends on the aluminum material. Here we’ll discuss the differences between the two companies’ materials.
Alumawood materialsThe Alumawood aluminum is an Aluminum alloy 3105 is essentially a 98% aluminum alloy with minor additions to increase strength over that of alloy 1100 and 3003. It is not hardened by heat treatment and it has good corrosion resistance, formability, and weldability.
Aluminum alloy 3105 is most commonly used where a painted finish is desired. Typical applications include general sheet metal work requiring greater strength than is provided by 1000 series aluminum alloys, residential siding, mobile homes, and sign making.
The alumawood product thicknesses range from .018 to .036.
4K materialsOn the other hand, the 4K product uses a much higher quality aluminum alloy and yes, even the thickness of their material is more substantial. We noticed when comparing the two materials, the thinner entry-level 4K material in a .048 gauge was a much, much thicker material than almost all of the components within the Alumawood line-up.
Heres how the 4K breaks down their aluminum material;
- Lattice / shade bars / slats – .048-.078
- Beams – .125
- 4″ Post -.125
- 6″ post – .187
Of course, the 4K aluminum is a 6061 T6 aircraft aluminum. T6 temper 6061 has been treated to provide the maximum precipitation hardening (and therefore maximum yield strength) for a 6061 aluminum alloy. It has an ultimate tensile strength of at least 290 MPa (42,000 psi) and a yield strength of at least 240 MPa (35,000 psi). Most users of this material come in the form or an industrial or high use application.
- Construction of aircraft structures, such as wings and fuselages
- Yacht construction, including small utility boats
- Automotive parts, such as the chassis of the Audi A8
4K aluminum is a 6061 T6 aircraft aluminumOne of the key benefits to having a bulkier aluminum is durability yes… but when it comes down to it, we all want less obstruction. Huh? Allow me to explain. With aluminum, the span (the difference between two posts) is determined by;
- Aluminum materials wall thickness
- The distance between two posts/supports
For those of you who may live in someplace like Beverly Hills California for example, and just paid umpteen millions for a view just to be blocked by patio cover posts, this may apply to you.
The thinner the material the more posts you will have. that is, with respect to the width of the patio cover. Likewise, the projection of the patio cover is also determined by the material thickness. Thus the heavier wall the material is the longer out away from the house you can make your cover span.
When you compare the two companies 4K vs Alumawood, it’s easy to see who possesses the heavier wall aluminum material across the board. Understandably, more material is not cheap. Therefore, the thicker the material the more you will also pay for that product.
Roll forming vs Extrusion
There are significant differences regarding how the material is made into the shapes that we know as a patio cover or pergola. There are effectively two methods for this;
- Roll forming (Alumawood)
- Extrusion (4K Aluminum)
Roll FormingRoll forming requires the use of a pair of rollers to shape the metal. These metal sheets pass through these rollers a few times until the shape which is desired is ultimately achieved.
With roll forming, its a much faster process and uses less material. This makes the product less expensive in the long run. Furthermore, the roll forming dies used to make the shapes are more complex and thus more expensive.
Alumiinum ExtrusionConversely, with the extrusion process, many industry experts will agree that the extrusion process is better than roll forming. The set up for extrusion is also less expensive. In the end, the material which comes from the extrusion process is a much stronger material when compared to roll forming. This is primarily because it derives from a solid piece of aluminum.
Roofs: Alumawood vs Soliel PanelsTo be roofed, or not to be roofed. That is the question. Within these two companies, there are roofs and then there are not.
By definition, a roof is really a solid covering in order to provide for shelter underneath. So technically, the 4K Soleil panels don’t even fit this category. However, it’s all they have so we’re just gonna roll with it.
Alumawood roofsStarting out with the Alumawood product, we have two different types of roofing systems.
- Insulated roofs
- Non insulated roofs
Of these two different roofs both provide the needed shelter, however, one provides a radiant barrier and the other well, just provides shelter. Both are aluminum. Each is equipped with a gutter system. Primary differences between the two;
Insuated RoofAmerimax manufacturers an insulated roofing system which will not only look amazing, it provides a radiant barrier against the heat. How so? Well, the inner core of their Maxx panel is made from structural foam. It carries with it an “R” rating of 13.95. Insulating properties much like you’d see in the walls of a house for example.
It’s this foam that makes the Maxx panel a fantastic choice for those who enjoy hanging out in their back yards in the hot summer. Like Arizona hot. Not only do they keep you cool they are structural. Which is to say you can add things like ceiling fans, lights and you can even walk on the tops. The maximum span for these panels is 24 feet and they are all 4 feet wide.
The Maxx panels are only available in white or desert sand colors. All in all, the Maxx panel is affordable however, it does cost a little bit more than the non-insulated version.
Non-insuated RoofSpeaking of a non-insulated version, let’s discuss the Newport, non-insulated roofing system from Alumawood. Essentially, these non-insulated pans are exactly what they sound like. They are a roll-formed aluminum thin-walled (.024 wall) aluminum material. These are really just a think aluminum cover to shed water. Don’t get me wrong… they look cool, but a radiant barrier they are not.
The maximum span for one of these panels is 22 feet and is NOT walkable. They are available in all of the alumawood color options. This roof system is very affordable.
4K’s Soliel PanelsWith the 4k line, if you’re looking to shed water, their roof won’t help much. The roofing panels are not exactly considered roof panels at all. Really, more like decorations. Or roof decorative panels. Something like that… just don’t expect to entertain under them in the rain.
However…, these decorative panels are super cool. In fact, they are not just cool, they’re beautiful. So who cares if they’re not waterproof. They look good and when you’re entertaining guests, that’s all that matters right?