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Everything You've Wanted to Know About Metal Finishes

Posted on October 11 2017

At RCH Hardware we sell a lot of metal hardware that comes in a variety of finishes and we often get asked, “What’s the difference between the finishes offered?” That’s why we’ve compiled a list of our different types of metals and finishes to make it easier to decide which variation works best for you!

The metals we offer include steel and brass and each type of metal we offer includes a wide array of finishes to fit any decor style.

We know it’s normal to feel overwhelmed, so we’ve categorized our finishes under each metal along with a picture for comparison.


Brass Finishes

Brass is a combination of copper and zinc. It has a softer texture than steel and is tarnish/rust resistant!

Even though brass doesn’t tarnish, it does patina over time if left unlacquered – this means that our polished brass and acid dipped finishes will darken over time to an antique brass finish. Brass is popular with Artisans because it is able to be stained in different colors.

Our brass finishes include:

  1. Polished Brass: shiny gold color achieved by polishing the brass
  2. Polished Nickel: shiny silver color achieved by nickel-plating the item and then polishing
  3. Oil Bronzed Black: matte black finish achieved by rubbing black oil onto the brass
  4. Acid Dipped: matte yellowish gold color achieved by dipping the brass in acid
  5. Antique Brass: aged/rustic golden look, darker than polished brass
  6. Satin Nickel: matte silver color achieved by nickel-plating the item then brushing the metal


Steel Finishes

Steel, which is one of the strongest metals, is a combination of iron and carbon. It’s durable and tarnish/rust resistant! Steel is also great for industrial use.

Our steel finishes include:

    1. Polished brass: shiny gold color achieved by brass-plating the item and then polishing
    1. Antique Copper: matte copper color achieved by chemically staining the steel followed by brushing
    2. Polished Nickel: shiny silver color achieved by nickel-plating the item and then polishing
    3. Black: matte black color achieved by a powder coating
    4. Satin Chrome: matte silver finish achieved by spray coating the item with DACROMET (a water and rust resistant coating).
    5. White: matte white color achieved by a powder coating
    6. Zinc: shiny silver finish with a bluish tint achieved by zinc-plating the item


How would you use the different finishes?

You can use the same type of metal with different finishes in a room or use different metals and mix things up to create your own style. Gold finishes work well with Mediterranean and Bohemian styles while silver finishes give a more modern/contemporary feel. Antique Nickel and Antique Copper are popular for vintage and Steampunk décor. Black is popular for Traditional, Country, Rustic, Mid-Century Modern and Farmhouse themes while white is preferred for Shabby Chic and Eclectic styles. 


What are the different uses for lighting chains? (DIY on Pinterest ideas)

Decorative chains were mainly used to hang chandeliers and pendant lights but have recently been repurposed by various DIY bloggers to hang mirrors, pictures, plants, hanging shelves, signs, and as curtain ties.



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