The United States Department of Commerce’s National Bureau of Standards developed product standards for metal finishes, expressed as “US” numbers; for instance, US26D refers to Satin Chromium, plated. Recently the standards have been revised by the Builder’s Hardware Manufacturers Association. The new numbering systems use numbers in the 600 range, so US26D is now “626.” Finishes are organized by the base metal (aluminum, brass, bronze, stainless steel, and steel) and the surface finish. Interior designers can use the standard numbers to specify coordinated finishes for hardware and accessories.
Steel and aluminum window frames HoIIow metal steel doors HoIIow metal door frames metal cladding on sliding doors overhead rolling doors or security grilles Kitchen and Bath cabinets
Metal finishes can be delicate and must be treated carefully. Strong cleaners may damage the finish, so a cleaner should be tested in an inconspicuous place before applying to the entire surface. Always use a clean cloth or sponge and apply cleaner to the cloth, not the surface.
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In addition to atmospheric conditions causing metals to change, metals used on an interior are subject to discoloration caused by contact with skin and other contaminants. It is important to properly clean metals to avoid damaging the surface or protective coatings.
Stainless steel surfaces can be pre-cleaned to remove initial spots such as grease and fingerprints. An acetone or alcohol solvent can remove spots. The entire surface should be cleaned with a damp (not dripping) cloth dipped in soapy water, wiped in a swirl pattern and changed often. After thorough rinsing and drying, a stainless steel cleaner (sprayed on the cloth, not the surface) will protect the surface. The surface can then be maintained with a vinegar-based window cleaner or citrus-based biodegradable cleaner.
When caring for copper, use polishes with care. If the copper patina is developing unevenly, sponge-clean with phosphoric and nitric acid in water. Use a sponge soaked in sodium bicarbonate to remove the staining. Use ammonium oxalate as a second neutralizer. Follow up with mineral spirits on a clean cloth using parallel strokes. Apply carnauba wax as a coating; it will wear off, but it will allow the patina to spread uniformly.