Brushed Aluminum plates

What is Brushed Aluminum?

Table of Contents

What is Brushed Aluminum?

The brushed aluminum finish is a very common metal finishing system. What it does is deliver a sandblasted or brushed appearance to any aluminum-based object.

In order to bring this brushed aluminum finish, manufacturers are abrading the surface mechanically, by using an abrasive brush.

In doing so, they are able to create a much smoother surface.

brushed aluminum finish

The surface itself appears to be sandblasted, even if it’s not the case. It does offer a great benefit though since you have that smoothness that really stands out and pushes the boundaries, while also keeping things simple and interesting.

On top of that, the finish can be great for a variety of items, depending on your own needs and requirements.

What is Brushed Aluminum Used for?

One of the advantages of brushed aluminum is that you can use it for a vast range of items.

The brushed aluminum finish is great for car bumpers, but it can be just as good for any fabricated frames.

This is great because it adds that sense of style and quality while bringing you something innovative, empowering, and creative at the same time.

Used for lights

You will also notice that brushed aluminum is also used for business signs. It has great weather resistance, which is obviously a major advantage for a business sign.

And then you also have indoor signage use, since it adds that sense of versatility, quality, but also style.

Used for signs

With that in mind, brushed aluminum can still be very efficient and really high quality, while allowing you a lot of unique features and ideas.

It helps bring you an engaging perspective especially if you use it for signage.

But over the years, manufacturers have started using it for a vast range of products.

This is great because it shows how unique and really easy to use brushed aluminum can really be. 

Difference between Standard Aluminum, Brushed Aluminum, and Reflective Aluminum

Standard aluminum is the least expensive option, it looks great and it has really good durability too.

On top of that, it delivers a semi-gloss finish, which can actually be a major advantage in some cases.

It’s lighter when compared to many other materials, and the best part is that it can be reflective too.

The fact that it can be used for 3D and flat signs, but also monument or pylon signs, among many others. It also doesn’t rust as much, which makes it very dependable.

Aluminum Brushed plates

When you compare standard with brushed aluminum, a few things stand out.

For starters, regular aluminum-based signs are bringing in a professional feel, but it also feels dry.

You can use it for all kinds of signs, be it for a parking lot, for a business, or even a construction site.

What you will notice about brushed aluminum is the fact that yes, it does serve better indoors.

It can also be just as good for outdoor locations, especially when it comes to more simplistic ones.

The idea is to help provide an astonishing décor piece, while still making it very innovative and visually appealing.

Reflective Aluminum

As the name suggests, reflective aluminum has reflective properties, which means any light cast on it will automatically be reflective.

The graphics get printed on a special overlay made out of vinyl, and that one is reflected.

The vinyl is then dead-adhered to the panel. So it’s not technically working on aluminum, it’s just added on top of that, which is very creative nonetheless.

Is Brushed Aluminum Better than Standard Aluminum? What about Reflective Aluminum?

What you need to keep in mind is that the standard aluminum sign itself doesn’t look like aluminum. It doesn’t give that metallic look that you would expect.

The benefit of brushed aluminum is that it has that metallic look, it’s smooth and that’s why many are using it indoors because it brings in that creative and innovative style in a way that manages to stand out.

Another difference is that brushed aluminum signs tend to be a little thicker, but it does depend on the manufacturer.

The same thing can be said about being double-sided, regular aluminum signs can be like that, but brushed aluminum doesn’t really offer this option.

brushed aluminum materials

When you compare brushed aluminum to reflective aluminum, you will notice that brushed aluminum is a lot more versatile.

It can be used outside and indoors, and it doesn’t have that reflective coating on top of it that might lower its overall resistance.

Despite being brushed, it’s still very durable aluminum that will last for quite some time. That coating you get with reflective aluminum is not as powerful, and in the end, that can bring its fair share of challenges.

 Brushed Aluminum plates

Also, brushed aluminum is a mass finish. You can add it to a large variety of aluminum products.

That’s not the case with reflective aluminum, which due to its nature can’t be used everywhere.

It’s very important to note that brushed aluminum is highly efficient, and it will help convey a variety of benefits.

The only place where you do want to use reflective aluminum is where you need a bit more visibility.

The reflective properties can help spread the light and it just feels like a better option.

But other than that, brushed aluminum seems to be the ideal option in most cases.

Brushed Aluminum: Is It Better than Satin Finishes?

A lot of people think that brushed aluminum is the same as a satin finish. However, that’s not the case.

The main difference here is that the satin finish comes with a glossier appearance.

If you go for the brushed finish, then this one has a matte appearance. Because of that, it becomes a little easier to distinguish the two types of aluminum.

You will notice that a lot of manufacturers use the satin finish when they want a bit of a sheen on the product.

On the other hand, the brushed aluminum finish is better if you want it to have some more texture.

Both of them are great, it just depends on the process you want to go for and the benefits.

That’s what makes brushed aluminum interesting and more versatile, the fact that you have that textured look that a lot of manufacturers want to go for.

Can Brushed Aluminum be Easily Damaged?

One of the things to note about brushed aluminum is that it is quite durable when compared to other aluminum finishes.

That being said, it’s not indestructible, yet it will last for quite some time. Which is what makes it a very good option for a large variety of users.

Of course, it will take some trial and error to narrow down the option, but in the end, you will find it to work very well and deliver an extraordinary experience all the time.

That’s why you have to take it into consideration because brushed aluminum is not that easy to damage.

It’s the sturdiness and durability that makes it stand out. Also, brushed aluminum has other characteristics.

It can easily be fluid to bead, which is something very hard to find within the industry.

The Pros and Cons of Brushed Aluminum


  • One of the core advantages of brushed aluminum is that it delivers a very polished, impressive, and expensive look, much more expensive than it really is
  • You can use it in a large variety of business applications, and it’s really easy to adapt to your requirements
  • Its decorative uses are second to none, and it’s also one of the reasons a lot of people want to create décor items that use this finish
  • You have a very good weather resistance, which is really hard to achieve in most cases. Thanks to brushed aluminum, you don’t have to worry that much about any potential issues or challenges.


  • Due to its nature, you can’t have 2-sided signs with brushed aluminum. You can only have one side of printing, which can be limiting from a creative standpoint. It still has an astounding look, which is something to keep in mind.
  • While brushed aluminum can be used outdoors too, most people use it indoors. It does stand out indoors though, so it’s the type of stuff that can indeed make a huge difference.

A similar thing to regular aluminum is that brushed aluminum has a Dibond between the plastic core and the aluminum sheets.

This type of sign can last around 5 years or even more. It all comes down to how you take care of it.

As you can see from the pros and cons of brushed aluminum, this is the type of finish that can be versatile and durable. However, it all depends on how you take care of it.

Can You Apply Brushed Aluminum Selectively?

Yes, one of the advantages of brushed aluminum is that it can be applied selectively. Not only that, but you can add it from a variety of angles.

What this does is helps create a sense of movement. You even have visual depth, which is hard to convey via aluminum products.

That’s where the versatility and uniqueness of brushed aluminum stand out, especially when it comes to more complex products.

 Brushed Aluminum products

One of the main roles and also benefits of brushed aluminum is the fact that it can help make a product look and feel a lot more expensive than it really is.

And it all stems from the fact that its look is very polished and finished. Yes, it’s not reflective, but it doesn’t have to be either.

In most cases, the brushed finish is going to be a much better option, certainly something you want to take into consideration as much as possible.

Is Brushed Aluminum Ideal for Your Sign?

It depends on where you want to place the sign, its size, and other factors. However, brushed aluminum does a very good job of bringing in beautiful fine lines that run in a similar direction.

Having that does help a lot especially if you want to provide a sense of experience, professionalism, and style.

On top of that, you can use different brushes and those will end up adding a sense of style and uniqueness, while still making it very easy to adapt to your needs.

Can You Print White Ink?

One of the things to note about brushed aluminum and also regular aluminum is the fact that both have either a white or semi-white look.

Because of that, you will not be able to print white on white.

The printing area will retain its brushing and color, so there’s no real need to print white on it.

But you can print other colors, which can add to the style and look of the finished product.

Usually, it all comes down to the quality of the ink you use when it comes to durability.

However, the brushed aluminum finish is indeed very dependable, so you will see that these signs will last for quite some time.


At the end of the day, brushed aluminum is one of those finishes that convey a luxurious look to any sign.

The best part is that these signs end up very affordable, while still looking expensive.

On top of that, a brushed aluminum sign is quite durable, and it will last for a long time.

Add to that the fact that the brushed aluminum finish has many business applications, then you can see why it’s widely sought after in the entire industry!

Hi there, I'm Gavin Yi

From Yijin Hardware, I’m a product manager and founder with over 10 years of experience in precision manufacturing. We specialize in providing on-demand machining solutions and customized parts. Ask for a quote for your current or future projects now!

Best Regards, Gavin, Founder & Product Manager


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