The most common metals used in hardware trim are brass, stainless steel, aluminum, and bronze. Selecting the proper hardware material for a project depends on aesthetics, durability, and availability in all necessary lock functions and sizes for the project.
Brass, which is most commonly drop or hot forged, has been popular for many years. This metal begins in a rod form, is heated until it is malleable, and is then pressed with extreme pressure into a mold. This technique forges a product free of blemishes or pockmarks. Brass is often highly polished and then lacquered as a protective coat. Sometimes manufactures plate brass to look like other finishes such as nickel then lacquer coat again for protection. These lacquered finishes, like anything that is touched and used on a regular basis, can crack, chip or peel, thus allowing the base metal to tarnish with time.
Forging tends to result in more highly finished, polished, blemish-free surfaces. Reverting to casting techniques yields finer detail products with a warm texture. Many products can be poured using the sand casting process but the lost wax process can be used to make products that have finer details, while still retaining the desired texture of casting.
Iron, which is still very common in Europe, is also a forged metal. If untreated, iron will bleed or rust, depending on the environment. In most cases, iron is powder coated to retard this natural occurrence. The black finish for which iron is often associated is popular for a rustic or barn-like appearance.
Stainless steel is typically a high-end, modern, or contemporary choice for door hardware. Like forged brass, it has a very smooth, clean-lined surface, and has been a popular material used by Italian- and German-based companies. This metal is often used in coastal environments, where salt-water air tarnishes most metals quickly. When selecting stainless-steel hardware, it is important to research products to be sure the lock mechanisms will not corrode. Not all stainless-steel hardware is appropriate for coastal conditions. Price typically dictates quality of finish.
You're welcome to visit our corporate blog to get more information and to interact with us at windowhardware.bokee.net.