When buying custom light fixtures for outdoor use, it is important to get to know the differences in the qualities of the various metals used. While aluminum and stainless steel may look good, they require daily maintenance and cleaning to keep them shiny and corrosion-free. Brass, made from combining copper and zinc, holds well in all environments and also lasts a long time. Brass turns darker when it is exposed to weather elements – it develops a patina – but does not corrode.
Custom lighting fixtures of brass are more expensive but also the most durable. Copper also develops a patina and lasts as long as brass, but with its higher price, the chances of copper custom light fixtures getting stolen are high. Other than brass and copper, the other metals that can be used in custom light fixtures include silver, bronze and nickel in different shades and finishes. Metal oxidation is the process whereby the metal on the custom light fixture reacts with the oxygen in the atmosphere to form the patina on its surface. While in case of some metals such as iron, steel or aluminum, this coating takes the form of unsightly rust and stains, in case of copper, brass, bronze, nickel, etc., the patina formed through metal oxidation gives an antique and classy feel to the surface of the light fixtures. Some customers insist that their metallic custom light fixtures come with a patina. This demand has helped develop the metal oxidation industry in custom lighting fixtures. For industrial use, special chemical solutions are used for treating the metal and helping it acquire a patina.
There are different chemicals used to get a patina of different colors on brass, bronze and copper. Some home-made treatment methods include scrubbing the metal surface with an abrasive pad and water or washing it in alcohol and treating it in ammonia solution. As mentioned earlier, forced oxidation of metal surfaces help prevent corrosion and increase the durability of the metal fixtures, apart from adding a classy and antique look to them.
A sample image of patina finish options:
A sample image of steel patina finish