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Which finish on Door Furniture for use by the Sea?

July 17, 2012

written by Vicki Bale
Brass Letter Plate Classic

Brassware must be unlacquered to perform in the sea air


We are often asked which finish to go for in seaside locations for front door furniture. Items would include letter plates, door knobs, door handles, door knockers and escutcheons.

Salty air can take its toll on all sorts of things especially door furniture. You may also need to consider the finish on window furniture if windows are to be left open for any length of time. Below we take a look at the finishes we offer and then comment on the suitability of each for a home by the sea!

When you have door furniture in the salty air you will need to take care of it, more than you would in-land. It needs a regular wash off with soap and water, which will limit the damage done by the salt which clings and eats away at the finish.


Unlacquered Brass -YES, Lacquered Brass – NO

Remember in Brass we sell an unlacquered product. Once an item is finished it is polished and not lacquered. The majority of brassware on the market is lacquered after polishing to protect the shine and thus no cleaning is required. All our brass is unlacquered and should not be confused with lacquered brass. The cheap lacquered brass will breakdown in salty air. The lacquer peels off and exposes the brass (often poor quality) underneath which then tarnishes and looks horrid. It can’t be cleaned off either. Unlacquered brass will be fine but if you like your brass shiny it will need cleaning regularly.


Wax – No, Powder Coated – YES &NO!

We have two finishes within our black iron range:

Wax finish. This would not perform especially well in salty air as the wax would quickly breakdown exposing the metal which would then rust.

Powder Coated: This would be the finish that would perform best with a corrosion resistant coating. In sea air it may need to be re-painted more frequently than if in an inland location. This requires a wire wool and then a repaint using black hammerite. It won’t last as long as in an inland location.


Pewter Finish – NO

This is a painted finish over a steel base and is not good in the sea air. This has excellent anti-corrosion properties and requires an occasional wiping with a waxed cloth and application of oil on moving parts.


Nickel Plate – YES

This is a nickel plated finish which can be polished or satin over a brass base. This is fine in sea air. The main thing to remember is never to rub the plate with any abrasive cleaner. A regular wipe with soap and water should be enough to keep this in great condition. For any stubborn marks try a bit of Autosol.


Chrome Plate – YES

This is as per nickel above but with a Chrome plate over a brass base. This is also fine in the sea air.


Wood – No, Glass – No, Porcelain No

For internal use only.

Please come back to us with any questions you may have on this topic.

Pictured below are finishes suitable for a sea view! At the top of the article is our Classic Letter Plate in unlacquered brass, below from left, powder coated iron door handles, polished nickel escutcheons, pewter door handles.


Iron Door Handles Tudor







Leave a comment


    Robert Spence says:

    How can I protect smoky chrome door handles from sea air

    Vicki Bale says:

    It is difficult to comment as I don’t know the product and finish. For our polished chrome we recommend a regular wash with soap and water. If marks remain a polish called Autosol. No other metal polish should be used.

    Mindy Vernon says:

    Thanks for the information on the article “Which finish on Door Furniture for use by the Sea?” on your website. Please let me know if satin nickel is suitable as that finish wasn’t mentioned in that article. Many thanks.

    Vicki Bale says:

    Yes, satin nickel would be as per polished nickel and would be OK. We can do satin nickel in our Original letter plate to order. Please contact us on the main e-mail or by telephone to order or discuss.