If you’re rehabilitating a historic property to keep its original charm, an antiqued finish is the ideal choice for your metal installations. Antique metal finishes have been a popular product among metal manufacturers for decades. Demand for the product soared in the 1970s and has continued its popularity to this day. Antiqued finishes are most popular on bronze and brass products, such as our perforated metal grilles. The treatment creates a classic look often desired in a lobby, bedroom, living room or ballroom.
How it works
The metal antiquing process begins with a thorough cleaning of the metal. It is important to remove all oils, buffing compounds, fingerprints, oxides and other materials to prepare for a high-quality finish.
Test the cleanliness of the metal grille with a water-break test. After completing the cleaning process, dip the grille into clean water. Remove the product and watch for where the water beads as it drips. The beaded areas are not completely clean, whereas the water will consistently flow off the clean areas without breaks.
Once the grille is clean, it is time to begin the finishing sequence. To achieve an antiqued finish, the underlying base metal is uncovered in certain areas to create a worn appearance. Essentially, the finish is removed from the highlights – keeping the lower areas as they are. This process can be completed by buffing, tumbling or vibrating.
A buffing machine is essentially a turntable with many buffing wheels (constructed of cotton discs approximately a half inch thick and three to four inches wide). As the grille is moved around the turntable, the buffing heads work on certain sections with abrasive or polishing compounds.
Tumbling machines create an antiqued finish by rolling the metals against each other in a rotating drum. A vibratory finisher operates similarly in a bowl instead of a drum. By using wet or dry metals – or ceramic or plastic additions – these machines can buff the grille in unique ways. While you would think this would create randomized results, the machines can be programmed to create identical products time after time.
After the desired antiqued finish is completed, a topcoat is applied to protect the grille from tarnish or corrosion. Typically, this solution is a clear lacquer.
Why choose an antiqued finish
At Coco Architectural, we offer antiqued finishes on brass and bronze products. These metals are optimal base metals for antiqued results. Brass and bronze contain high levels of copper, which creates a beautiful result after the buffing, tumbling or vibratory techniques are applied.
Many designers aim to maintain the original aesthetic during a historic renovation project. Antiqued finishes create the perfect design. You can install high-quality, new metal grilles that look like they are original to the building. Our team can construct custom metal products to match the original design when replacing the corroded or broken originals.
Our linear bar grilles, perforated metal grilles and custom metal products are all manufactured with the same standard of excellence and commitment to customer satisfaction. We offer a wide variety of metal finishing options including satin/brushed, mirror polished, anodized, duranodic, baked enamel colors, blackened, statuary/antiqued and oil rubbed. If you’re considering adding a specific metal finish to your project, download our catalog for compatible products and request a free quote.