Architectural Surfaces: Metal Refinishing

Adam Robinson | Nov 17, 2022

From the Eiffel Tower to the Empire State Building, metal structures have shaped our world since the Industrial Revolution. Today, we have structures not only made and supported by metal, but elegantly designed with this durable, timeless material.

As classic as metal may be, metal surfaces may lose their luster over time. Constant daily wear can leave high-traffic interior spaces like front entry doors and lobbies, elevators, walkways, balconies, bathrooms, and stairwells dull and more rustic than elegant. These high use surfaces also require frequent maintenance, like cleaning, polishing, and refining, depending on the type of metal being treated. However, sometimes, these metal surfaces need refinishing due to scratches, abrasion, rust, or vandalism, and when that happens, it’s time to find a company that specializes in metal refinishing.

What types of Metals Need Refinishing?

Suppose you are a business owner who wants to accentuate your property’s features. In that case, it’s important to start by considering your budget, long-term goals, and motivations for the building. The most common metals in commercial buildings are bronze, brass, aluminum, copper, stainless steel, iron, nickel, and rolled steel. These materials come with different price points, and each metal has specific maintenance recommendations. It is important to consider these conditions and options before investing. For example, brass tends to have a higher initial cost, but it is generally easier to maintain than a less durable metal like aluminum. Building owners can also invest in preventative treatment solutions, such as applying a sealer or special coating that will reduce the time spent polishing metals and save on maintenance costs.

Metal Refinishing Techniques

Depending on the materials and budget, there are several techniques used to refinish metal and restore the original sheen.

Here’s a brief summary of the different types of specialized treatments available from Valcourt Group’s metal refinishing team.

Blackening Stainless Steel: This process is similar to the “bluing” technique below. Only the metal is blackened for a dramatic effect.

Bluing: A finishing process for steel surfaces when the metal acquires a blue-to-black surface finish after applying a protective coating. 

Cleaning and Care: Providing detailed instructions for your janitorial team on the proper techniques for cleaning and maintaining the metal surfaces throughout your building.

Graining: A process that uses coated abrasives and a sanding belt to remove the top layer from metal blanks. Once the sanding process is completed, some metals require softening with a surface sander to achieve the desired shine and grain orientation.

Graffiti Removal: Give your building a facelift by removing the unsightly appearance of graffiti on your property. This process might involve using paint thinners, acetones, or steel sandpaper.

Oxidation: Oxidized metal surfaces require multiple refinishing steps, which include stripping the existing lacquer, scrubbing the metal, converting the metal to a satin finish, highlighting, applying coats of oxidizing agents, and finishing with a coat of lacquer. 

Patina: A surface coating on a bare metal surface formed from a chemical reaction when exposed to the elements. Similar to the edge of a chef’s knife, a patina provides a unique color and texture.

Polishing: Make your building shine by polishing your metal surfaces. Various cleaners help restore the appearance of your metals, but make sure to contact industry experts before you start! The wrong cleaner might corrode or strip the metal.

Scratch Removal: Light scratches can be removed through buffing with a non-abrasive cleaner. However, deeper scratches might require sandpaper or other refinishing techniques.

Washing: Proper care of your metal surfaces ensures their shine and integrity for years.

Waterproofing: When applicable, a waterproof sealant may help prevent metal surfaces from oxidation, such as in bathroom stalls, railings, balconies, kickplates, and entry doors.

Waxing: Wax on and wax off. Making your metal glisten when the light hits it.

What are the 5 Things to Look Out for in an Architectural Metal Refinishing Service?

Metal Expertise

Maintaining and refinishing metal requires a unique approach customized to the type of metal you desire in your building. Different metal products require different kinds of maintenance and cleaning approaches. Our metal refinishing team is highly knowledgeable and backed with the experience and techniques to help refinish your metal to its original form.

Treatment Experience

The proper frequency for cleaning, polishing, and refinishing your metal surfaces depends on its material, location in the building, and the type of finish applied to the surface. For example, lacquered surfaces may require reapplication, refinishing, and frequent polishing. Other surfaces, such as in a bathroom or elevator, might have unique interior designs that can improve the aesthetics of your building.

Cleaning Professionals

When providing expert care for your building’s metal surfaces, leave it to the experts. Before you consider cleaning, reach out to one of our experts to provide industry advice on the right products. 

Regular Maintenance

Customers who receive metal refinishing services might also consider getting regularly scheduled cleaning, polishing, and routine inspections to ensure the metal surfaces maintain a healthy condition year round. Making sure to take good care of your metal surfaces is important for how people perceive the general conditions of the building and how people perceive the building’s owners as a whole.

Preventative Solutions

The polishing frequency can be sharply reduced by applying special coatings and sealers, whether it’s bronze, copper, or faux aluminum. Ask how our preventative solutions can save your building money in the long run.

Bring out the True Beauty of Your Building with Valcourt Group

Building owners sometimes struggle to maintain the integrity of their property on their own and often depend on industry experts to provide guidance and practical solutions to help revitalize the interior and exterior appearances of their buildings. That’s why most owners look to The Valcourt Group to lend a hand for their metal refinishing needs. Valcourt provides building service, support, and maintenance on various commercial and residential buildings ranging from small offices to football stadiums. When it comes to your metal surfaces and refinishing projects, trust Valcourt to illuminate the contours of your building.  Call us today!