Types of Kitchen Metals & Their Benefits
Kitchen décor offers more choices than ever, but don’t get overwhelmed — all you need is the necessary information to make sound decisions and below is where you’ll find it!
One material with lots of options is metal. Appliances, countertops, hardware, decorative accents: metal is everywhere. Learn the uses and advantages of each, and then you’ll know which is the top choice for your kitchen.
Maybe you’re sold on metal drawer pulls but worried that counters or cabinets will be too heavy or expensive. Newsflash: they won’t be. Metal is commonly attached to plywood or furniture-grade particleboard. Not only does this cut down on weight and cost, but the wooden backing can also reduce marks and dents.
If you’re looking to add the flourish of metal to your kitchen but aren’t sure where to start, read on for some different metal types and where to use them.
Brass is common in kitchen hardware, curtain rods, and light fixtures.
Benefits of Brass
Brass is a combination of copper and zinc, which adds gold tones to the décor. You’ll also find that:
- Brass cleans easily with just soap and water.
- It has an expensive appearance.
However, full-brass objects are costly. An affordable alternative is brass-plated fixtures, which look high-end but are priced much lower.
Reddish-brown copper works for kitchen lights, sinks, and even counters.
Benefits of Copper
If you choose copper for your kitchen, it has these characteristics:
- Copper’s color warms up a kitchen.
- Some types of copper inhibit the growth of bacteria.
- Copper is appropriate for both modern and traditional kitchens.
- Since it’s an excellent heat conductor, copper is great for cookware.
- Copper comes in a variety of finished surfaces, such as smooth or hammered.
- Oxidation causes copper to develop a blue-green patina, but a wax and lacquer coating prevents this. However, sharp objects will scratch the seal.
- Weld a copper countertop to a copper sink for a smooth transition. Or skip the new counter and just install a copper sink. By refinishing your countertops, you’ll save 40 to 50 percent over a full replacement.
One word of warning: Copper is relatively soft, so scratches and dents are more common than with other metals.
Pewter is typically 85 to 95 percent tin. Copper, bismuth or antimony is often a component as well. Pewter that contains lead should never be used with food.
Benefits of Pewter
Pewter starts off silver and turns grayish as it ages. Additionally:
- Pewter offers a color similar to stainless steel but with a less industrial or clinical feel.
- The finish is muted, not shiny.
- Because pewter is soft, the surface is easily stamped or shaped for an interesting finish.
Pewter is one of the softer metals, so it’s not appropriate for an often-used countertop. Marks and dents are more obvious.
Wrought iron gets its shape through hammering rather than casting or pouring.
Benefits of Wrought Iron
In kitchens, wrought iron is often seen in pot racks and light fixtures. You’ll also find:
- Wrought iron has a rough, antique appearance.
- It’s very strong.
- Wrought iron is easily shaped, and working the metal enhances its strength.
- It’s magnetic.
- Wrought iron cleans easily.
- Though the metal is traditionally black, it takes paint well.
- Wrought iron makes sturdy frames for kitchen chairs or island stools. Because it conforms to a variety of shapes, wrought iron is available in both contemporary and conventional styles. Cushions or wood seats add comfort.
Sturdy, dependable, safe: That’s a great description for a car, but it also suits stainless steel. This metal is used all over the kitchen — even for cookware and utensils.
Benefits of Stainless Steel
Stainless steel lives up to adjectives that imply reliability:
- Stainless steel doesn’t rust. Ten to 11 percent of this metal alloy is chromium. This provides a protective barrier from air and water, so rust can’t form.
- The chromium barrier also makes stainless non-toxic.
- It doesn’t react to acidic foods such as tomatoes, so stainless steel is useful for preparing and cooking them.
- Stainless steel resists staining and heat damage. However, it will scratch.
- Stainless is a neutral color, so it fits any décor.
- Stainless cleans easily with soap and water. However, never use bleach or cleansers with chloride.
- A major health bonus: Stainless steel impedes bacterial growth. It’s non-porous, so germs can’t build up.
The color of new zinc varies from white to gray. With time, zinc acquires a blue-green patina unless it has been sealed.
Benefits of Zinc
You’ll find some kitchen countertops are zinc, but there are other benefits to using zinc in the kitchen, too:
- Zinc is safe to use around foods because it’s a necessary mineral for human health.
- Though both are silvery, zinc offers a warmer feel than stainless steel.
- Because zinc is a soft metal, surface scratches can be buffed away.
- A zinc sink and countertop can be welded together for an uninterrupted flow.
Keep in mind, however, zinc is not as heat resistant as some metals, so a hot pan can cause damage.
Many Choices Available
There — your options are laid out. Now, comes the hard part: choosing your metal.
Don’t let it overwhelm you, though. First, decide how you want to incorporate metal into your kitchen — a full countertop, an accent or somewhere in between? Then determine which metal best suits your needs and style. Keep all your metal in the same color family or mix it up for a multi-dimensional, textured look.
There are no rules, and you’re the one living with it everyday — so simply go with what you like.
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