Why Choose Aluminum Walls? - Blithe Sales Co.

Why Choose Aluminum Walls?

In our industry every manufacturer will say their inground wall is the best, and every dealer will say that the pool they sell is the best. Medallion Pools has always been honest and forth coming on the pros and cons of all pools. With this article we aim to give the Distributors and Dealers an honest comparison of all pools.

Let’s start with a little history of the aluminum pool panel. Aluminum pools go back to the early days of inground package pools. The first pool manufactured was a wood wall followed by a steel wall and then an aluminum wall. Later on in the 80’s the polymer wall was developed.

Going back to the late sixties and early seventies several companies over the years manufactured aluminum pools. However some made two mistakes when it came to the manufacturing of their walls.

Let’s first start with the other manufacturer’s walls. The first thing they did wrong was try to manufacture an aluminum wall just like they were manufacturing a steel wall. These companies thought they could use an aluminum sheet approximately the same thickness as their steel walls and use the same number of wall stiffeners, one stiffener every 4 feet. This will not and did not work. Since aluminum alone does not have the same strength as steel on just a sheet basis you must add more vertical stiffeners to bring the strength of the aluminum up to what it needs for the application. Let me give you a simple comparison example. If you are building a load bearing wall in a home you don’t use thicker sheet rock, but instead you would use more studs. Medallion figured this out 37 years ago and it has worked in over a 150,000 aluminum pool walls. Medallion’s aluminum walls have a vertical stiffener every 2 feet.

The second process that they went wrong on was the purchase of the alloy of the aluminum that they were using. What most manufactures did was go out and buy the lowest priced aluminum sheet that they could, rather than using an alloy designed for the application that it was going to be used in. In the aluminum industry you can select from eight different aluminum alloys. The eight alloys are:

1100 2011 2024 3003 5052 6061 6063 7075 .

Each alloy has a different amount of copper, magnesium, manganese, silicon, tin and zinc. The difference in the amounts of each of these elements will depend on the application of the alloy. All alloys have several features but listed below is what each alloy is known for.

  • Alloy 1100 – Excellent Formability / Workability / Weldability
  • Alloy 2011 – Excellent Machineability
  • Alloy 2024 – Can be Heat Treated / High strength aluminum alloy
  • Alloy 3003 – Excellent Weldability / Formability / Workability
  • Alloy 5052 – Excellent Corrosion Resistance (Preferred in marine applications)
  • Alloy 6061 – Can be Heat Treated / Structural Applications / General Fabrication
  • Alloy 6063 – Can be Heat Treated / Architectural Applications
  • Alloy 7075 – Aerospace Applications / Can be Heat Treated

 

The typical applications of the 5052 include marine, aircraft, architecture, general sheet metal work, heat exchangers, fuel lines, tanks, flooring panels, streetlights, appliances, rivets and wire. The exceptional corrosion resistance of 5052 alloy against seawater and salt spray makes it a primary candidate for the failure-sensitive large marine structures. With the other manufacturers purchasing the cheapest alloy instead of the 5052 the life expectancy would be greatly reduced.

Using any alloy other than 5052 would be like a steel wall company using plain steel instead of galvanized steel (faster to rust) or polymer walls without or with low quantities of UV protection (easy warping and deterioration in sunlight) and without or with low quantities of plasticizers (easily cracks in expansive soils). Medallion uses only 5052 for all of their aluminum walls.

Aluminum Galvanized Steel Polymer Steel coated with Aluminum, Zinc, & Magnesium
Can rust No Yes No Yes
Can crack No No Yes No
Warrantee void if not backfilled with stone No No Yes No
Can warp in sunlight before pool is finished No No Yes No
UV can affect life of wall No No Yes No
Wall can deteriorate if wall is scratched No Yes No Yes
Heavy to handle No Yes – Extremely Yes Yes – Extremely
Slower to install due to weight or excess number of walls No Yes Yes Yes

 

By figuring out these two simple items where others went wrong, Medallion was able to produce a wall with all of the benefits and none of the negatives as listed in the above chart. This makes the aluminum wall the pool wall of the future.