By Embryo

A Guide to Different Sheet Metal Finishes

Sheet metal is a core resource used in a variety of industries from construction to engineering. When manufacturing sheet metal, a crucial step is choosing sheet metal finishes. The finish of the metal produced at the end of the sheet metal fabrication process determines what the product can be used for and how it will hold up in different conditions. 

In this blog, we’ll use our expertise in powder coating to inform you of the different types of metal finishes available and explore their advantages and disadvantages. 

If you’re interested in the sheet metal fabrication services available at Salamander Fabrications, call us on 01484 843599 for more information.

What Are the Different Types of Sheet Metal Finish?

There are a wide range of metal finishes available, but we’ve listed just a few of the most common types of finishes available. 

Powder Coating

For this metal finish, a dry powder is applied onto the metal using an industrial airbrush. This process is most commonly used for furniture and appliances, from outdoor metal benches to coffee machines. The custom colours you see on the body of cars are also achieved with powder coating.

Powder coating is a great alternative to paint as it is more durable and resistant to the elements, chemicals and UV rays. Although it is a longer-lasting option to paint, it will begin to peel over time and require recoating or you risk damage to the metal.

If you’re interested in powder coating and how we get the perfect finish at Salamander Fabrications, contact us at 01484 843599 to find out more!

Standard Raw Finish

A metal sheet without any finish. This is the product in its raw form and has been left without any polish, sanding or additional coating. Metals have a raw finish if they are already suitable for use in their original form. Typically metals like aluminium, iron and steel can be left with no finish as they are naturally resistant to water damage and corrosion. 

A raw finish on metals is a great way to save time and money on additional finishing processes, but it is only suitable for certain metals, making it a process that cannot be standardised across all products. 


Electroplating uses the process of electrolysis to add a layer of metal onto another metal. This process can be done with a range of different metals and is commonly used to strengthen a material. Electroplating is a common method in jewellery production where an inexpensive metal is coated with a thinner layer of a more expensive metal like silver or gold. 

Buff Polishing

Buff polishing is a finishing process that creates a smooth and shiny surface on metal sheets. The process is mainly used for visual appeal to remove any imperfections in the metal. The metal is buffed using a rotating blade covered with cloth or felt material. Buff polishing is used on products like kitchen utensils to create a smooth, safe and washable surface.


This is the process of chemically treating metal alloys like stainless steel to make the metal corrosion-resistant. Metal oxide coats the metal sheet during the finishing process and this delays oxidation to make the material more resistant to rust and corrosion. Passivated metal is ideal for use on outdoor structures and is regularly used in construction.

Hot Blackening

Hot blackening involves dipping metal into a vat of sodium hydroxide and nitrates which turns the metal surface into a magnetite. This process helps to reduce abrasive damage and gives metal a darker colour without paint. Hot blackening is applied to large batches of metal parts and is regularly used to create natural-looking dark metals for things like furniture.


An ancient but effective method of finishing metal, galvanisation involves coating metal in zinc to create a protective layer against rust and corrosion. During this process, molten zinc is used and metal is dipped into it. 

What Are the Best Metal Finishes?

There are a wide range of popular metal finishes but there are three main finishes that are regularly mentioned as the preferred methods.

Best for Diversity 

Powder coating is the most versatile process by far, allowing for a protective coat of any colour to be added to a wide range of materials including wood and plastics, as well as metals. Powder coating can be customised to your needs, and when carried out by expert painters at Salamander Fabrications, you can benefit from stain, gloss and matte finishes.

If you want to benefit from custom powder coating services to suit any project, contact one of our experts at 01484 843599. 

Best Value for Money

Electroplating is the most recognisable form of metal finishing and is extremely common due to the money the process saves. The process balances high-quality plating with reduced costs, allowing cheaper metals to be coated in a thin layer of more expensive, corrosion-proof coating. 

This means companies don’t have to pay hefty prices to make things from solid gold or silver and can instead plate other metals using electrolysis. 

Best for Durability

Galvanisation is also deemed a superior finishing process and is regularly used as a low-cost, versatile metal coating method. As well as being fairly inexpensive, the galvanising process makes metal extremely strong and resistant to damage. 

Galvanised steel is so strong in fact that it is used to create building structures and can protect the metal for up to 100 years!

Galvanisation also improves the longevity of household items and means customers can benefit from less maintenance and repair on products they purchase. 

Fantastic Finishing with Salamander Fabrications

Every metal finishing process has its own range of benefits and the metal finish best for you will depend on a wide range of factors including metal type, intended use and budget. 

If you’ve assessed the various finishing methods and think powder coating is the process for you, get in touch to utilise our expert services at Salamander Fabrications. Whatever your project, we’ll give you the perfect finish even on the most complex of pieces. 

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