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Hardware Finish Choices Explained

When selecting a new cabinet pull for the kitchen or bath, you will certainly want to consider your many hardware choices. While you might love brass hardware, it’s possible that you’ll find that your overall décor will look better with bronze hardware; or, perhaps, you’ll see that satin nickel hardware is the best choice for your budget. Learning more about each hardware finish will help you to become more educated and to make better selections for your renovation project.

Keep in mind, when evaluating hardware finishes, that you may find slight variations amongst companies. Not every pewter hardware finish looks exactly the same. For this reason, it is often recommended that you purchase all of your hardware from one company to create the most consistent look.

Brass Hardware

Brass hardware is composed of 60% copper and 40% zinc. While it is softer than bronze, it is still a very durable finish and one that creates a shiny, rich look. Antique brass is a very popular choice for brass hardware. For antique brass hardware, the brass is chemically darkened to create the aged look. It is important to know that not all antique brass hardware will look identical, since each hardware company uses its own aging process and techniques. Order samples to make sure that you will be happy with the hardware before making purchases for an entire renovation project. A very different option is to purchase polished brass hardware. This brass hardware choice is made with solid brass that is polished and sealed with lacquer to prevent it from tarnishing.

Bronze Hardware

Bronze is considered to be one of the hardest metals and it is incredibly durable. It is made up of 80% copper and 20% tin. One of the most popular choices with bronze hardware is oil rubbed bronze. This rich, darkly colored brown hardware is the result of a chemically darkening process that is applied to the bronze. Each piece of oil rubbed bronze hardware actually takes on its own unique hue, making it look incredibly authentic and lovely; it also means, however, that not all bronze hardware will look alike and that you should purchase your hardware from one manufacturer for the most consistency you’ll find.

Chrome Hardware

The most popular type of chrome hardware, and the one that you’ll see most often, is polished chrome hardware. This finish is quite versatile and is created by applying chrome plating to brass or steel hardware. One of the advantages of chrome is that it won’t tarnish. It looks similar to nickel but is often less expensive than nickel selections.

Copper Hardware

While quite expensive, copper hardware is also incredibly unique in appearance. It has a distinct reddish hue and a beautiful shine to it. It is used as a primary component of both brass and bronze. Copper is quite malleable which is an advantage for cabinet hardware. It does tarnish over time, and it’s important to know how to properly care for copper hardware to keep it looking its best.

Iron Hardware

Iron is incredibly affordable and is actually the second most abundant metal in the world. While iron is quite inexpensive, it is also recognized as a very strong material. Wrought iron, one popular finish, is composed mostly of iron with a small amount of carbon mixed in. While malleable, iron is also a very touch metal, making it a great choice for cabinet hardware.

Nickel Hardware

Nickel hardware is created by applying a nickel finish on top of brass. Polished nickel has the advantage of not tarnishing. Satin nickel, also called brushed nickel, looks almost identical to stainless steel or aluminum, but it is a softer metal. While soft, it is still sturdy enough to withstand constant use and is a great choice for cabinet hardware.

Pewter Hardware

Pewter is a fantastic choice for cabinet hardware. It is a tin based alloy and is considered by many to be the fourth most valuable metal after platinum, gold and silver. With its unusual properties, it actually looks more beautiful with more handling. This is because the warm patina in the pewter comes out the more that it is handled. Pewter hardware doesn’t need to be polished, as it doesn’t tarnish, and it is a great choice for the busy homeowner who wants a hardware choice that requires very little upkeep.

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is one of the most durable metals on the market today. It has a very high resistance to rust and corrosion, making it a great choice for cabinet hardware. While it is composed of a number of different metals, stainless steel has no less than 10% chromium. You can also “go green” with stainless steel, as it is often made from recyclable metals.

Stainless steel is one of the most durable metals on the market today. It has a very high resistance to rust and corrosion, making it a great choice for cabinet hardware. While it is composed of a number of different metals, stainless steel has no less than 10% chromium. You can also “go green” with stainless steel, as it is often made from recyclable metals.

Make sure that you educate yourself about your hardware finish options before making a final decision. Then, enjoy a beautiful selection in the finish of your choice and have fun renovating for a great new look!

Oil Rubbed Bronze Hardware Pewter Hardware
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