Stainless steel is an ideal choice for a wide variety of applications. It has great aesthetic beauty with clear, brushed or mirrored finishes, and it’s a durable solution against harsh liquids or weather elements. Stainless steel is great for interior or exterior architectural interior finishing such as cladding, railings, countertops, shelving and more. For exterior or industrial uses with extreme exposure, stainless steel can be coated or put through a passivation process to slow rust when exposed to chlorides such as those found in masonry washes, plant sprays, road salt, ice melting chemicals and other contaminants.
Aluminum has the advantage of being much lighter than other metals, yet still offers strength and durability. Anodizing processes can offer different color options and will harden the surface of aluminum, making it more resistant to erosion over time. Unlike steel which can readily rust and develop unsightly stains, aluminum is much more resistant to this type of wear, and coatings and paint are often used to further enhance its durability and beauty.
More lightweight and flexible than most metals, copper is commonly used in architecture for aesthetic purposes. It is well known for the grayish-green patina (or verdigris) it develops through oxidation as it ages under exposure to the elements. Copper can be sealed with lacquers or other coatings to protect against the oxidation process and retain the original look of the metal.
Brass and bronze are both alloys of copper. Brass is copper alloyed with zinc. Bronze is copper alloyed with tin. A variety of color variations are available dependent upon the ratio of copper versus the alloying elements. Valued for their beauty and durability, copper and bronze can be left with a natural finish that will age and vary as it ages, or it can be coated to protect against oxidation.
Steel is the least expensive metal to work with and is prized for its strength. Ideal for industrial or structural applications, steel is often coated or painted to protect the surface and minimize against the effects of rust and staining.
Zinc is an element used in the galvanization of steel, giving the steel a surface that is more resilient to the elements. It is commonly used for exterior applications such as roofs, wall panels or cladding. Zinc also has inherent antimicrobial properties that make it very popular for countertops or other surfaces that are prone to the growth of bacteria or germs.