What is a Wood Effect finish on an Aluminium Batten? And how is it achieved...

October 1, 2022

What is Wood Effect Finish on Aluminium?

Wood Effect refers to the process of finishing an Aluminium Batten with a form of coating that mimics the look of natural timber. As compliance requirements within design become more stringent, we are seeing an increasing need for Timber-Look Group 1 Fire Compliant solutions.

Aluminium Battens achieve Group 1 Fire Rating as per Section9(n) of AS5637.1-2015. Consequently, we are seeing designers turn to Aluminium as their base materiality and then adopt the ever-improving Timber Effect options available. The result is a Group 1 solution, with Aluminium's durability and maintenance-free aspects and the apperance of authentic natural timber.

How is a Timber Effect finish applied to an Aluminium Batten?

There are currently three methods to applying a Timber Effect Finish to an Aluminium extrusion. These are:

1. Sublimation Film Transfer

2. Powder-to-Powder

3. Wrapping

A great example of DecoWood’s Timber Effect range on an Aluminium Cladding Profile (Sublimination Film Transfer) – Photo supplied from Deco Australia’s website

Sublimination Film Transfer

Sublimation Film Transfer (STF) is the most common method of Timber Effect Finishing Aluminium Battens. This process involves powder coating an initial base colour onto the Aluminium Extrusion before utilising a film to add grain, pattern, and timber colour to the extrusion.

The STF process involves the following:

1. The Aluminium Batten passes through a spray booth where an initial base colour is applied to its surface. A warm oven is then utilised to dry this base coat.

2. A roll of STF film is then pulled over the four surfaces of the Aluminium Batten. Air is continuously pumped into this film to ensure that it easily passes over the extrusion.

☉ At this stage, there are open ends at each end of the film.

☉ The film covers the extrusion length, and each end is firmly sealed.

☉ A vacuum is utilised to remove all air from the film, so the film is now firmly pressed against the surface of the Aluminium Batten Extrusion.

3. The Aluminium Batten with said film now proceeds to an oven. This oven causes the Aluminium Extrusion and the film to heat to the point that the film's grain, pattern & timber colour begins to transfer onto the surfaces of the Aluminium extrusion.

4. Once complete, the air is pumped back into the film, allowing it to expand and the STF film to be removed.

☉ When the film has been removed, its grain, pattern & timber colour stay on the Aluminium Batten extrusion.

Note: When working with a Timber Effect Powdercoat (Sublimation or Powder-to-Powder), the base Powdercoat that is applied effects the warranty. It is worth asking your supplier about what components are going into each step of the process when applying a Timber Effect Finish to an Aluminium Batten.



Powder-to-Powder is a less common method of applying a Timber Effect to an Aluminium Batten. It is less common as it is typically less efficient. The application method means that only one surface of an extrusion can be treated at a time. Some local manufacturers are beginning to offer this method as an alternative as they believe it appears to have a more authentic 'feel'.

The powder-to-powder process involves:

1.    The Aluminium Batten passes through a spray booth where an initial base colour is applied to its surface. A warm oven is then utilised to dry this base coat.

2.   The Aluminium Batten returns to the Drum Roll booth, where the Drum Roll is fitted with a sieve representing the desired Timber Effect grain & pattern.

☉ Powder is pushed through the Drum and fed through the sieve while the Aluminium Batten passes through the roll. This applies the Timber Effect grain & pattern to the Aluminium Extrusion.

Note – A drum roll is a horizontal line, applying this finish to only one side at a time. The Aluminium Batten is then rotated and repeated to ensure that all four sides are coated.

3.    Once the above process has been completed, the Aluminium Battens are then returned to an oven for final drying.

While less efficient than STF, we are seeing some Australian suppliers begin to test the powder-to-powder method of Timer Effect Finishing as they prefer the feel achieved through this finished method.


Wrapping Aluminium Batten extrusions with Real Timber Veneer or Vinyl Wrap is another method for applying a Timber Effect Finish to an Aluminium Batten. This is a common method when working with an alternative material for your substrate (e.g. MDF).

The process for wrapping an Aluminium Batten involves:

1.    The Aluminium Batten typically goes through some form of pre-treatment process. This alters the surface finish of the Aluminium Extrusion to help assist in the upcoming adhesive process.

2.    The Aluminium Batten is fed through a roller. As it rolls through it goes through a two-part process:

☉ First, some form of adhesive bonding agent is applied to the Aluminium Batten.

☉ Second, a roll of Timber Effect material is fed onto the Aluminium extrusion and firmly pressed down onto the surface of the Aluminium extrusion with a binding agent that causes it to stick to it's exposed faces.


Do you have more questions or want to see some examples of Timber Effect in an application? Shoot us a direct message, and we'll happily assist!

Who is MBS Architectural?

We’re innovators, which means we’re always on the lookout for new materials, sustainable technologies and concepts, helping us to provide smarter solutions for Australia’s leading architecture.

Another terrific example of Timber EffectFinish from the DecoWood range


Design Tip

When designing an Aluminium Batten feature with a Timber Effect and aiming to mimic the appearance of natural timber, it is essential to remember that you are replacing anextremelyvariable material with a manufactured solution. At some point, the grain and pattern on the Timber  Effect will repeat across your design feature – with this in mind, selecting an appropriate Timber Effect Finish for your application should extend past the colour itself. Considering the grain pattern and how it will repeat across your ceiling plane is vital.

Our recommendation is to avoid selecting Timber Effect finishes with highly visible characteristics such as knots, grain swirls, or high levels of feature. While these can be incredibly beautiful in isolation, they are more likely to stand out visually as a repeating element across Aluminium Batten design.

Timber Effect Aluminium Battens at Chadstone Terrace Shopping Centre

Looking for a Timber Effect range?

Here are some three potential suppliers:

☉ DecoWood (Sublimation Film Transfer) - https://www.decorativeimaging.com.au/finishing/decowood

☉ Altwood (Sublimination Film Transfer) - http://altwood.com.au/finishes/

☉ DFV ezyHD (Powder-on-Powder) - https://dfvaustralia.com.au/

Book a call with our architectural team today to get down into the detail. We are happy to chat through ideas, materiality and budget to find out how we can help you create the interiors you need. Simply drop us a note on hello@mbsarchitectural.com.au or call us on 03 9580 7800 to chat with our specification team.

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