Specialty Fabrics Review June 2019 - 49

Rubb Building Systems uses hot-dip galvanization for all its steel framework, like this Hawaiian
Air hangar at the Honolulu International Airport. Photo: Rubb Building Systems.

specialize in it sometimes need to farm
out work, according to Skrzynski.
"Some shops have to go to a metal
fabrication house to do their frames, which
tends to make them more expensive," he
says. "But it's a good solution if you're
buried in work or simply don't have the
abilities or facilities."
He says Marco is not geared toward
doing very large steel work, so it sends
out those jobs. "But when we do that, the
price and/or delivery can be the difference
between winning and losing a bid, and can
have a negative effect on delivery, so we do
as much of the work in-house as we can."
However, adds Skrzynski, "There are
some things outsourcing is always better
for, such as powder coating. We just don't
want to build, buy or manage a paint shop.
"Those decisions are on a case-by-case
basis, but if [a subcontractor] is on your
jobsite, you better have contracts and safety
agreements, because you are the specialty
contractor and they are your sub-you are
accountable for them."
Jeff Moravec is a freelance writer
from Minneapolis, Minn.

STEEL

VS. A L U M I N U M

ifferent fabrication projects call for different metals, usually a choice
between steel and aluminum (and sometimes a combination). Sometimes
the right metal is obvious, and sometimes not.
"As hurricanes and other disasters increase so do the building requirements,"
says Edward Skrzynski, owner of Marco Canvas & Upholstery LLC, in Marco
Island, Fla. "Whereas two years ago we were building with aluminum to 140
mph wind codes, we now must build to 190 mph codes. Many times, aluminum
simply won't have the cross structural integrity to meet such pressures and
you must move to steel."
The issue, he says, is that steel corrodes and is much heavier. "So that
means lots of metal prep, epoxy coatings, etc. to mitigate corrosion and heavy
equipment to move materials," he says.
"Aluminum is much easier to work with," adds Skrzynski, "but you have
to be a bit more skilled on welds or you burn through, or don't have enough
heat and have a cold weld that looks pretty but doesn't bond the pieces."
Part of the need for more skill with aluminum is that most marine aluminum
is anodized, says Skrzynski. "Anodize has a higher melt rate than the aluminum
and creates a barrier for the electric arc to find ground," he explains. "A few
tricks of the trade and you can do it effectively. Most people use a bump weld
process and then fill weld over all for a final stack-of-dimes look of weld beads."
There is stainless steel as well. Stainless is more malleable and tungsten
inert gas (TIG) welds well, says Skrzynski, but he adds that while it may appear
on yachts and other boats, the cost and limited sizes of stocked stainless steel
limits its use on other shade systems.

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Specialty Fabrics Review June 2019

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