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The Perfect Patina (For You!)

Posted by Laura Kiralla on

The Beauty of Patina

Nobody can argue the beauty of raw copper. Its reflective surface offers a sense of elegance. The brilliance of copper post and deck caps can enhance the look of your property. However, copper will not stay shiny forever. Eventually it will oxidize and change. Often times when people hear the words "oxidized metal," they imagine damaging and unattractive red rust on iron. Iron does not age well. Copper, on the other hand, ages gracefully. Would you tell the Statue of Liberty she did not age well? After all she’s made of copper! The significant difference between these metals is that iron becomes soft and brittle when oxidized, whereas copper's distinctive green patina creates a durable, corrosion resistant layer that protects underlying metal from further weathering.

Copper’s natural patina process depends mostly on the climate. It determines the color, the pattern, even the time it takes for the patina to develop. You might see change after a couple of months in one climate while another might take up to a year or more. Usually, the more humid the climate, the faster the patina process will occur. The salty ocean air will also expedite the process. The most common color of a natural patina is green with brown undertones. Did you know you don’t have to leave it to chance to see which patina you’ll get? You can control and influence your copper to get the perfect patina for you! You may even fall in love with the patina process as we have!

Typical copper patina process

Here at Sheet Metal Caps, we have experimented with homemade chemical cocktails to create various patinas, but we've found readymade chemical antiquing and oxidizing products to be most effective. You can find many of these retailers, like Electrochemical Products Inc. (EPI), online. Depending on chemical type and dilution, patinas can form in a wide variety of colors.

Heat coloring copper is another way to create beautiful patinas, but it is experimental and less predictable. These techniques are often used in artwork and jewelry and may involve a combination of heat and chemicals or simply direct high heat. Flame-colored copper process, like in the photo below, involves "painting" with an oxyacetylene torch to reveal an array of colors across the surface of the copper. The hot colors are applied first, followed by the cool. Once the desired colors are achieved, the patina is sealed with lacquer. 

 Flame-colored copper process 

Custom Orders

At Sheet Metal Caps we offer custom copper finishes in 4 patina color options – green, brown, dark brown, and black. Whether you choose to buy your copper raw and allow it to naturally patina or prefer a clean solid color of your preference, you can have the benefits of durable, weatherproof copper in a look that suits you!

As always, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact as at (775) 298-5060 or http://www.sheetmetalcaps.com/contact-us.html.

Disclaimer: If you’re interested in creating your own perfect patina, please carefully research safety protocols and techniques for the specific chemicals you choose. Even ammonia can be toxic when too much is inhaled. 


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