Polished Brass - (PB)
What colour is Polished Brass?
Polished brass is a gold colour with a high mirror like shine made from solid brass.
Are Polished Brass products made from real brass?
Yes any item we list on our website as Polished Brass will be made from real brass.
For brass coloured items that are not made from real brass they will be labeled as either: Electro Brass, Brass Plated, or Brass Effect.
How are Polished Brass products made?
Brass is a non-ferrous metal alloy produced of copper and zinc. The colour of polished brass products will vary depending on the amount of copper used during production. The brass being non-ferrous will not rust making it ideal for both internal and external applications. Brass is also commonly used as the base product for plated finishes such as chrome and nickel.
Once the copper and zinc have been mixed together to form the brass it has to go through a production process, such as casting, pressing or hot stamping, to make it into shapes or parts for products.
The raw brass once made into it's required shape is highly polished using a polishing wheel during the final part of production to give it it's highly shiny polished finish.
Polished brass items are usually coated in a high quality clear lacquer to help protect and maintain the shiny finish.
Are all Polished Brass items the same colour?
No, the colour of the brass will vary between items even from the same manufacturer depending on how much copper is used during production. Different types of lacquer will also have an effect on the colour of the brass and how it will look.
Are Polished Brass products suitable for outside use?
Yes, as brass is a non-ferrous alloy (it contains no iron) Polished Brass products will not rust when fitted outside. However the brass will eventually tarnish and turn brown.
Why has my Polished Brass item turned brown?
Whether you buy highest quality most expensive brass products on the market or the cheapest budget quality brass products, brass will always want to dull and turn brown. This is because the metal (the brass) is reacting all the time with the oxygen in the air, (oxidation) to tarnish the brass. This tarnish is trying to preserve the brass by forming a patina on the surface. The patina layer turns the surface colour of the brass a brown colour.
Traditionally in years gone by people would prevent Polished Brass products from tarnishing by polishing the surface of the brass with a metal cleaner such as “Brasso.” The polishing of the brass temporarily reduces the effect of the oxidation and keeps the brass looking shiny.
However in modern times with people living faster paced life styles, very few people have the time to actually go round their homes and polish all their brassware. So to help keep the brass products looking as shiny and new for as long as possible, manufacturers now lacquer over the brass to seal the shiny finish.
Are all your Polished Brass products lacquered?
Yes all of our products (unless otherwise stated) are lacquered. For un-lacquered products see below.
How long will the lacquer last and the brass stay shiny for?
While the lacquer is an excellent solution to keep the brass looking shiny for a long time, it won’t last forever. For Polished Brass items that are fitted internally in residential homes, you will find the lacquer will last for many years. The below scenarios are examples of where the lacquer will breakdown much quicker and the Polished Brass items will then start to tarnish quite quickly:
- Items fitted in moist or damp areas such as bathrooms and kitchens.
- Items fitted in public buildings and public areas with constant use, this is due to the moisture and acidity in people’s hands.
- Items fitted externally such as on front doors which are exposed to the elements such the wind, rain, pollution and general dirt.
- Items fitted in coastal areas, the salty sea air will break down the lacquer very quickly
It’s difficult to say quite how long the lacquer will last as there many factors to take into consideration, such as how exposed it is to the wind and rain, or how much use it will receive in public areas. For normal internal use you can expect the lacquer and the brass to stay looking new for many years.
Can you preserve the lacquer?
Yes regular cleaning to remove dirt, finger prints and watermarks, with a wax based furniture polish such as beeswax, “Mr Sheen” or “Pledge” will help preserve the lacquer finish for as long as possible.
What happens when the lacquer starts to breakdown?
The brass will now start to be exposed to the air and will start to tarnish the brass turning it brown.
Can lacquered Polished Brass products be polished and refurbished?
Yes, Polished Brass products can be polished, but first before you can start polishing your brassware all the lacquer needs to be removed first. This is the main disadvantage of lacquering products. The lacquer very rarely breaks down evenly, which can leave items looking very shiny on one part but on another part of the same item dark brown, making the brass look "dirty". Unfortunately in most cases the remaining lacquer will still be too tough for the metal polish to have any effect.
Please see our guide "How To Polish Brass Items" for more information about re-polishing your brassware.
We also offer a professional re-polishing service for brass items. Please contact us for more information.
What if I want an aged, tarnished brass look?
With lacquered polished brass items, unfortunately you can't just leave them and not clean them to achieve a nice even aged look. Because the lacquer won't break down evenly and thus the brass wont tarnish evenly, they tend to look “dirty” rather than a natural aged look. We would suggest stripping off the lacquer from the products using an acetone based thinner or paint stripper such as “Nitramors.” With all the lacquer removed the brass will tarnish naturally and evenly.
False aged, antique look items are becoming very popular and there now lots of products that can be purchased off the shelf. Please view our Antique Brass and Florentine Bronze pages for more info on these antique look finishes.
Can you buy non-lacquered Polished Brass products?
Yes, if you want to be able to polish your brass items or would like your brass products to tarnish naturally for an authentic aged look, the English manufacturers below still produce brand new un-lacquered items.
(Un-lacquered products are usually made to order. Please allow 3-4 weeks lead time for these products)
- Frank Allart
- Samuel Heath
- Croft Architectural Hardware
Is there a range of Polished Brass products that are guaranteed not to tarnish?
Yes, there is a small range of PVD Brass products which come with a guarantee that they will not tarnish for 25 years. Please see the PVD Brass page for more information.
How to clean and maintain Polished Brass products
Polished Brass products should be cleaned regularly with a soft cloth and wiped over with a wax based furniture polish ideally beeswax, but products like “Pledge” and “Mr Sheen” work well too. Regular cleaning with furniture polish will help preserve and maintain the lacquer.
Do not use any form of metal cleaner on new Polished Brass products as this will damage the lacquer.
Which companies supply Polished Brass products
90% of the companies we deal with supply Polished Brass items. Please use the links at the top of the page to view our range.
View all polished brass items
For high architectural projects that require traditional, English made Polished Brass items please have a look at the following manufacturers:
(Please allow 3-4 weeks lead time for English made products)
- Frank Allart
- Samuel Heath
- Croft Architectural Hardware