Brass Bathroom Faucets; Advantages, Aesthetics and Décor Tips...
The brass bathroom faucets are made of brass which is an alloy, or mixture, of copper and zinc. This mixture of metals can be in varying proportions giving the brass different properties. If the copper is mixed with tin instead of zinc, the metal becomes bronze. Brass has a comparatively low melting point, and the molten metal flows easily so that it is not difficult to cast in molds.
The ratio between copper and zinc decides how hard or how soft the resultant brass is. Copper is fairly soft and malleable, while zinc is very hard. New brass has a bright, shiny golden color.
It is subject to tarnishing, and when it does, it becomes dull, and even develops a blackish tinge. However, both new and old, tarnished brass are admired by different people, as brass in either state has its own beauty.
The Advantages of Brass Faucets
The points below were the reasons why brass was so popular from the time the first brass faucets were manufactured:
• The most important practical reason for faucets being made of brass was because, although it tarnishes, it doesn’t corrode or rust.
• It is harder than copper and less likely to get dings and dents from being bumped.
• It is easy to melt and pour brass into molds.
Today, with the advent of stainless steel, chrome and many new non-rust alloys, as well as new casting technology, most of these reasons are no longer important.
However, one very new discovery is set to bring both copper and brass with a high copper content back into the limelight. This is that they have germicidal properties. For some reason, bacteria and viruses cannot multiply on surfaces containing copper. Germs are perfectly happy on even well scrubbed stainless steel, which was previously thought to be the most hygienic metal!
The Aesthetics of Brass Faucets
From ancient times, the bright golden beauty of brass was greatly admired. Up until very recently, glossy brass faucets as well as all other shiny household brass and copper ware were a source of pride for any housewife or housekeeper.
Mixers and faucet handles often had porcelain portions, painted with delicate flowers or birds, and sometimes had cut glass decorations, giving a luscious ‘Hollywood of the 50’s’ aura of luxury.
But things change…
The fads and fashions of the moment have decreed that bright, shiny brass just isn’t ‘cool’. Although many antique enthusiasts still go for shiny brass, most prefer dulled, darkened brass and copper.
Some choose to artificially darken their brass bathroom faucets, to give them the ‘antique-look’ that is mellow and often has the muted gleam of an aged patina.
There are some contemporary brass bathroom faucets that are very popular. These are modern style, often single handled of the lever type. The brass in this case is usually brushed to give it a matte finish.
Some Décor Solutions for Brass Bathroom Faucets
For those who value gleaming golden brass bathroom faucets, all you need is a good brand of metal polish, a toothbrush, and cloths soft enough for polishing. After the faucets are washed and scoured as clean as you can get them, and then dried, apply the metal polish liberally with a cloth and a toothbrush to get into all the nooks and crannies. Leave it a few minutes to dry then start polishing off the black tarnish.
This may take a few applications if the tarnish is thick. After this, you need to polish, and polish…….and polish! The more you polish with soft cloths, the brighter your brass bathroom faucets will become. Yes! It is a big job, but never fear. You can now apply a special lacquer for brassware, and when it is dry it will keep your faucets looking as they do now for a long time, possibly years, if the lacquer doesn’t get scratched or worn.
To age your brass bathroom faucets you can give them an oil rubbed finish. You first need to remove any lacquer. You can use a substance called ‘Liver of Sulfur’ or some other patented brass darkening substance. Some of these have toxic vapors, so use a mask and work in a well-ventilated area. Or, of course, you can just let nature take its course and allow your brass bathroom faucets to develop their own tarnish.
If you would like to give your brass bathroom faucets a brushed brass finish, there are a whole variety of shapes and sized of brushes that are used with an electric drill or some with an electric sander/polisher. You will have to use considerable skill and care to get the brushing light and even.
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