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topic 11127

Gold colored brass fixtures


The 1953 edition of Machinery's Handbook discusses some chemical reaction formulas to convert brass to gold colored finishes. The question I have is, will these converted finishes be durable or will they have to be clear coated with lacquer just as a polished brass surface would have to be, to maintain it's luster? The application in question is a bath drain that had been attacked by water and residual soap, destroying the original gold luster, which was protected with lacquer. If lacquer is required, then it looks hopeless to use gold colored bath fixtures that will need continuous polishing and refinishing.

Richard Jamsek
- Fountain Hills, Arizona, USA


Gold is tarnish proof and corrosion proof to anything you'll find in a household, but it's terribly expensive and not very wear resistant. What that means is that you can't afford a gold plating thick enough to not wear away quickly. Brass, as you apparently know, tarnishes badly and quickly. The way that both of these finishes have traditionally been protected, therefore, is with a lacquer. But that abrades, discolors, scratches up, and wears away too.

Contrariwise, chrome is both tarnish resistant AND exceptionally wear resistant, and that's probably why chrome has traditionally been the preferred bath finish.

The newer "lifetime" bath fixtures are electroplated for corrosion resistance and then topped with a vacuum deposited ceramic that looks a lot like gold or brass, but offers similar wear resistance to chrome. But it's not something you can refinish at home, it requires the purchase of new fixtures.

Ted Mooney, Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Pine Beach, New Jersey

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