Metal finishing is a complex process that can involve several different techniques and many different metals. To make sure that you are getting the best value for your money, you need to carefully consider which finishing option is right for you before you proceed with having your piece finished. Since no two pieces are the same, you can’t just assume that what worked for your neighbor’s door handles will work for yours.
The purpose of metal plating is to add an outer metallic layer onto a metal piece. The reason for adding a metallic finish can be merely cosmetic, or it may have other, more functional purposes. Whatever the reason, there are several factors to considers when deciding on the metal finish option for your particular piece.
One of the main factors in deciding which metal finishing option to choose is what you need the finish to do for your piece. Are you looking to protect it from corrosion, improve electrical conductivity, or simply enhance the appearance of the piece? Another thing to take into consideration is the amount of time it will take to apply an individual process. In general, at Metro Plating & Polishing there is a turnaround time of between one and four weeks, but the specific time can vary depending on the piece and the process.
The biggest determination in most cases is cost, which is directly related to the type of finish you select. Usually, metal plating will be more costly when precious metals such as gold and silver are used rather than more common options such as chrome, nickel or copper. The cost can also vary depending on the size and intricacy of the piece being plated. The more detail that is involved, the more time it will likely take to do the job, which will necessarily increase cost.
In terms of specific finishes, most metals are used on certain pieces and for certain very particular reasons. For instance, metal finishing with copper is most often applied to electronic components as it has very high conductivity. Often lamps, sconces, and household fixtures are coated with copper to improve their appearance and their effectiveness.
Likewise, brass is used to improve the luster of household surfaces and is most often used to give an ‘antiqued’ appearance to vintage items. Doorknobs, handles, and other hardware found in period homes are most often made of brass or at least have brass finished metal plating.
Nickel is one of the more common finishes used for kitchen and bathroom fixtures and for a good reason. It is a strong, lustrous metal that can help to harden the surface it is applied to and thus improve durability. Because of this, it is often used as an underlying layer before a precious metal finish is applied. It also provides excellent protection against corrosion, another reason why it is so often the go-to choice in metal finishing.
Gold & Silver
Not surprisingly, metal plating with gold and silver is most often done for aesthetic purposes, which is why it is applied to jewelry, tea sets, mirrors and other personal items. Like nickel, silver can be polished to a bright or matte finish, depending on the look you want. Of course, using precious metals is more costly, so it is usually reserved for smaller items.
No matter what type of item you need to have finished, Metro Plating & Polishing can help you choose the right metal finishing option so that you get exactly the result you want without having to break your budget. If you’re looking to get a piece plated, consider all of your options and be sure that you are making the right choice for your needs.