If you’re considering the purchase of metal assets for a commercial building, whether a renovation or new construction, keep in mind the old adage “You get what you pay for.”
Just like any other business, you want to control short-term expenditures on things like elevator doors, railings, window frames or entryways. But it’s also necessary to consider the long-term cost of ownership of different materials, without becoming dazzled by a lower price tag up front.
We are seeing an increase of faux finish metals being installed as substitutes for real stainless steel and bronze. Often these look-a-likes are actually pieces of aluminum or lower grade steel that are coated to look like satin finish bronze/brass or stainless steel. To the untrained eye you may not notice the difference. However, once the original coating is scratched or damaged, the difference becomes quite apparent.
Many facility managers are tempted to save a few bucks today by installing metals which can’t be fixed down the road when they are damaged from normal wear and tear, accidents, extreme weather or vandalism. For example, brand-new aluminum may look like brass, but actual brass is easier to care for and fix.
Aluminum in particular is known to be lighter and cheaper to install, but it has a shorter service life and is much harder, and sometimes impossible, to repair. In addition, aluminum can’t be restored to its original condition once it is scratched or damaged, and replacement is often the only feasible option.
Consider Long-Term Value, Not Just Up-Front Price Tag
Real materials like bronze, brass or stainless steel give you greater long-term value because they are easier to maintain and can be restored, which is less expensive than replacement.
Metal restoration experts at Mid America Specialty Services draw upon decades of experience and innovative methods to keep architectural and ornamental metal assets in superior condition at a fraction of the cost of replacing them.
Existing materials can also be refinished to update the look and feel of the entire facility. For example, Mid America Specialty Services’ proprietary Metal Conversion System transforms outdated bronze or brass to look exactly like brushed stainless steel. An innovative coating matches the grain of the original metal, creating a realistic appearance that a simple paint job could not achieve.
Managers may also desire to enhance a building’s character by adding a rustic-looking patina to metal assets. Oxidation adds richness to metals like brass or bronze. After stripping away the lacquer and scrubbing the metal, technicians convert the metal from a mirror to satin finish. A highlight is followed by multiple coats of an oxidizing product and completed with a protective coat of lacquer.
What If You Already Have a Faux Finish?
For facilities with existing aluminum or low-grade steel assets, many traditional refinishing options are off the table.
Technicians may apply special coatings to hide scratches or make them less noticeable, but most damage will never be completely removed unless the asset is replaced.
Are you looking to install or restore metal surfaces in your facility? Contact Mid America Specialty Services to learn how you can get the best value for your investment. And stay tuned for a future blog post on the pros and cons of faux stone flooring options.