Choosing a Finish for Your Custom Steel Project

Polished or matte. Rusted or painted. Selecting a finish for your steel project is one of the final steps in the planning process. Steel finish can help achieve your project’s look and adds functionality. Choosing painted or powder coat finishes can give you a vibrant luster that pops. However, if you are looking for a finish that is different, using other methods will give you a unique look.

A patina finish occurs as the metal oxidizes due to its reaction to the atmosphere. The resulting color varies from a golden to burnt orange. This coating forms naturally on untreated steel but can take some time. Through chemical processes, we can accelerate what would have taken years to achieve.

The industrial-look with a clear coat finish is trending in metal finishes. This unique metal finish with its bluish black color is achieved at the mill. Mill scale, as it’s known, is a thin coating of iron oxides, which give a beautiful, rich color to the steel.

Known for its strength and timeless beauty, steel is an iron alloy comprised of carbon and other elements. It is often used for steel planters, table bases, lawn edging, gates, decorative metals and much more.

Common Steel Finishes:

Painting– Acrylic paint applied with brush or spray in desired color

  • pro: infinite color choices and high gloss finish
  • cons: not as durable as powder coating, must be reapplied if outdoors
  • Cost: medium

Powder coating– Electrically charged paint that is sprayed on and then baked in industrial oven.

  • pro: durable
  • con: limited color choices
  • Cost: medium-high

Raw Finish– No coating or sealing applied

  • pro: unique patina finish
  • con: metals can rust through if using inadequate gauge for application
  • Cost: low-none

Raw Finish-Metal sealed with clear coat sealer, polyurethane or acrylic

  • pro: natural appearance with reduced corrosion, glossy finish
  • con: not as durable as painted or powder coated
  • Cost: low-medium

Unsure how to proceed? Call us today. Austin Metal Fabrication can help you select the right finish for your project.