The way you choose to finish your product has a great impact on the overall appearance. Choosing the right finish isn’t always easy, so here is some background on different options.


Patina is an acid based solution that oxidizes metal and changes its colour. It comes in a wide variety of colours and the different ways of applying it give great versatility. One of our favorites is black patina. In order to apply it any hot rolled steel with mill scale on it has to be sand blasted so the solution can saturate the bare metal. Sprayed on it gives a uniform texture, while rubbed can give you streaks and lines, and simply pouring it over the metal so it runs and repeating this over and over gives a unique, weathered effect.

Powder Coating

Powder coating is the best solution for most outdoor items such as railings and fences, gates, tables and chairs, trailers and any other object that needs durability and longevity. It comes in many colours as well as textured effects such as hammered and crinkled. To apply it, metal is electrically charged and then sprayed with an oppositely-charged paint powder allowing the particles to cling to the surface and get into corners and gaps. It is then placed in a large industrial oven and baked. This is an extremely popular option and is cost effective.

Bare Steel

Leaving metal bare is a nice way to go for some pieces. Regular carbon steel will rust eventually, which can be a desirable effect. To stop it from continuing to rust and staining surrounding areas the metal can be clear coated. Also, there is a certain type of steel commonly known as corten steel (actually a trademark COR-TEN) that is designed to form a stabilized coating of rust on its surface that actually protects the metal, and eliminates the need for painting.

Alternatively steel can be brushed, sanded, ground or polished and then cleared to fend off rust, preserving the natural appearance.

Stainless steel and aluminum can have different finishes ranging from dull to shiny are not subject to rusting, making them ideal for outdoor applications.


Painting is a great option for lots of people. Art, decorative pieces and items that don’t necessarily need durability are good candidates for paint. With the most variety of any coating solution, it can be a very economical way to finish objects. If you are unsure whether paint or powder coat is the best option for your project, contact us and we will advise you on what we think is best.


Brass, nickel, chrome, zinc and even gold plating are all possibilities. Plating is used for corrosion inhibition, to improve wearability, to decorate and for numerous other purposes. It is also a great way to give your project the look of another metal while saving cost – think gold plated watch!