How Are Brushed Nickel Finishes Made?


If you are looking for modern decorative hardware or appliances that have a soft silver-metallic sheen, opt for furnishings with a brushed nickel finish. Brushed nickel is non-reflective, but it offers a hint of shine and glitz to a bathroom or kitchen interior design. In order to achieve a brushed nickel appearance, furnishings and appliances must undergo a process.

Nickel Plating over Brass

  • Brass is plated with nickel to create the silver appearance in a brushed nickel finish. Plating is the process of applying a thin layer of one type of metal to the surface of another metal. This is accomplished by creating a chemical or an electromagnetic reaction that fuses the two metals together. Once brass is plated with nickel, it no longer has a golden hue but takes on the silver reflective appearance of nickel.

Mechanically Polished

  • Nickel-plated brass is mechanically polished with industrial equipment that buffs out any imperfections in the metal surface. It is possible to polish nickel before the plating process, but generally the polishing occurs after the two metals are chemically or electromagnetically bonded. During the mechanical polishing process, fine lines and visible grains are polished to a smooth finish. The nickel plating retains its luster and reflective qualities.

Brushed to a Dull Sheen

  • Once the nickel plating is polished and most visible grain lines are buffed out, the metal is brushed to a dull sheen to remove unwanted luster. Industrial equipment, containing non-damaging bristles and filaments, brushes the nickel to create a non-reflective finish. Avoid trying to create this finish at home without the proper equipment or you will likely scratch and damage your nickel surface. If you want to give your current appliances or furnishings a brushed nickel appearance, purchase brushed nickel spray paint designed for that purpose.

Lacquer Coated

  • During the final stage in the process, brushed nickel is coated and sealed with a protective lacquer. Depending on the type of lacquer and the number of applications, some brushed nickel appliances and furnishings may appear more glossy than others. The coating protects brushed nickel from scratches and unsightly fingerprints. Brushed nickel is low-maintenance and requires minimal cleaning with non-abrasive household cleaners.

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