Monday, December 28, 2009

Living with Living Finishes

A living finish is a finish that evolves with time and use. It most frequently refers to the patina that is applied to bronze or copper products such as sinks, heat registers, and door hardware. Patina is usually a dark, earthy color but the patina is said to be living because it can change. Some areas may darken with age while a polishing effect may occur in areas that are handled frequently. The patina may rub off to expose the natural shades of the alloy in areas that are often touched (e.g. a door knob). The variance in color adds character and makes each living finish unique.

Bronze and copper hardware with a living finish intentionally lacks a protective coating. Any item or liquid that comes into contact with a living finish can affect its color. You can preserve a living finish with a temporary protective coating. Soft non-abrasive waxes such as Johnson Paste Wax can be applied with a soft cloth to help maintain the patina. Never use abrasive detergents, rubbing compounds, or polishes as these chemicals will damage the patina and may ruin your living finish.

While waxes add a temporary protective coating, they also defeat the purpose of a living finish. The changes that occur in living finishes should be a desired effect. If a living finish appeals to you, Shop 4 Classics offers a wide selection of fixtures and home hardware in living finishes. We offer copper kitchen, bathroom, and bar sinks in oil rubbed and weathered copper patinas from Belle Foret and Brass Elegans. We offer copper door hardware from Craftsmen Hardware with an Arts & Crafts patina or bronze door hardware from Hamilton Sinkler with a dark brown patina. We offer bronze floor registers and bronze air return grilles with a variety of living oil rubbed finishes from Classic Grills and Hamilton Sinkler. And there is more. Copper and bronze hardware featuring living finishes is available for most every area of your home.

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