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Care of Finishes

Regular, routine care and maintenance will help to ensure the appearance and functionality of door, window and cabinet hardware. A monthly operational check, and cleaning to remove accumulated deposits or soiling will prolong the life of your ironmongery.

External fittings will need more regular attention than internally fitted items. This is particularly true if your property is located in a coastal area where the air contains salt and seawater particles. Lacquered products which are fitted externally will inevitably suffer from lacquer breakdown due to exposure to the elements. We describe below how best to deal with this situation when it occurs and detail how to maintain the most common finishes of ironmongery. Each manufacturer has their own recommendations on how to best maintain the finish of their products. We would always suggest following specific manufacturer's instructions.

 

Anvil – beeswax
For internal use only. Pure beeswax on steel. A maintenance wax should be applied then buffed with a cotton cloth. Any surface rust which may appear should be removed with wire wool (grade 00 is suggested) then maintenance wax applied. The manufacturer recommends that any beeswax finish items should be applied to DRY plaster surfaces only, as wet plaster will cause rust. When fitting and regularly maintaining items the moving parts should be oiled to ensure smooth operation.
Click here to view a casement window handle in this finish.

Aluminium – polished/satin
These products should be cleaned with warm soapy water, and dried. Metal polishes, solvent cleaners and abrasive scourers must NOT be used as these may damage the surface finish.
Click here to view a letter plate in aluminium.

Applied Finishes - by applied finished we mean products which are often brass or steel-based with an applied finish, for example imitation bronze metal antique(IBMA) or antique brass. Applied finishes also include plated finishes such as satin or polished chrome.


Brass – polished unlacquered/polished and lacquered/antique/self colour

Lacquered brass– A standard finish for brass products. Ironmongery should be periodically wiped over with a soft damp lightly soaped cloth or with a light coating of beeswax or good quality wax polish. Do NOT use metal polish or aerosol sprays. When lacquer begins to breakdown, remove with Nitromors or similar. Ironmongery can then be buffed to a bright finish or re-lacquered.
Click here to view a pull handle in brass.

Unlacquered brass
- Some items of ironmongery are supplied this way as standard. A metal polish such as Brasso can be used to achieve a polished finish. It is often recommended that externally fitted brass ironmongery is supplied as unlacquered.

Antique brass – As an applied finish it is best to wipe these products with a soft non-abrasive cloth. They can be gently buffed but over time, with use and cleaning the patina of an applied finish is likely to wear in places.
Click here to view an item in antique brass.



Black Nickel

This applied finish is best maintained by a regular dusting with a soft cloth.
Click here to view a lever handle in black nickel.

Bronze – IBMA
This is an applied finish, usually to brass or other base metals. To maintain the original appearance of imitation bronze ironmongery it should be dusted with a soft cloth and washed periodically with warm soapy water, then dried. The door furniture can then be buffed lightly with a soft dry cloth. Metal polishes should NOT be used on an applied finish.
Click here to view a hinge in IBMA.

Bronze – RBMA

Real bronze as the name suggests is not an applied finish, it is an alloy of copper and tin. It can be supplied highly polished but its usual form has a dark patina that will remain if ironmongery is not regularly used or polished. With constant handling of this natural finish the oxide film will wear down to show the polished bronze underneath. It is best maintained with an occasional application of wax polish.
Click here to view a pair of lever lock door handles in real bronze.

Bronze – Florentine

This applied finish is best maintained by a regular dusting with a soft cloth.
Click here to view a casement window stay in Florentine bronze.

(Malleable)Black iron
These products are suitable to fit externally or internally.  To maintain the powder coated finish it is recommended to wipe occasionally with a lightly oiled cloth and regularly clean with a soft dry cloth. When fitting ironmongery and regularly maintaining it the moving parts should be oiled to ensure smooth operation. If required exterior fittings can be cleaned with warm soapy water then dried. Maintenance should be more regularly undertaken in coastal areas where the salt has a corrosive effect on the iron, despite its hard wearing powder coated finish.
Click here to view a tee hinge in black iron.

Black Japanned

This is a very durable finish so occasional dusting with a damp cloth should remove most dirt deposits.
Click here to view a tower bolt in black japan.

Chrome – polished/satin
Suitable for fitting externally and internally. Regular maintenance of the finish with a soft cloth and non-abrasive wax polish will prolong the life of the product, particularly when fitted externally.
Click here to view a double robe hook in polished chrome.

Dual finishes – e.g Buckingham levers
The finish on internal fittings can be easily maintained with a gentle wipe and buffing with a non-abrasive soft cloth. Wax polish can be applied to non-polished surfaces. It is best to follow manufacturer’s instructions when using these products. Polished surfaces are best cleaned with a soft, non-abrasive cloth.
Click here to view lever lock door handles in a dual finish.

Galvanised - Iron/Steel

This is a very durable finish so occasional dusting with a damp cloth should remove most dirt deposits.
Click here to view a hook and band hinge in a galvanised finish.

Mild/self colour steel

These products are uncoated and untreated so are suitable for painting or other types of treatment if being fitted externally. Any contact with liquids can cause rusting.
Click here to view an internal butt hinge in mild steel.

Nickel – polished/satin
Suitable for fitting externally and internally.
Regular maintenance of the finish with a soft cloth and non-abrasive wax polish will prolong the life of the product, particularly when fitted externally.
Click here to view a drawer pull in polished nickel.

Nylon
– Hewi/Normbau
The products should be cleaned with warm soapy water, and dried. Metal polishes, solvent cleaners and abrasive scourers must NOT be used as these may damage the surface finish.

Pewter
If purchasing the Finesse Design range these items can easily be kept clean with a soft, damp cloth as they are supplied unlacquered as standard and are not plated. Pewter is an alloy of tin, copper and other metals such as antimony. It is hard wearing and lead free.
Click here to view a cabinet knob in pewter.

Pewter patine - From the Anvil

External and internal use. Applied finish to steel. From time to time wipe over with a lightly oiled cloth. Do not use metal cleaner or aerosol spray. When fitting and regularly maintaining items the moving parts should be oiled to ensure smooth operation.
Click here to view a flower design cabinet knob in pewter.

Plated finishes – Nickel Plate (NP)/ElectroBrass (EB)
Should be wiped occasionally to remove surface deposits and clean with a non-abrasive wax polish.
Click here to view an internal butt hinge with a brass plated finish.

Porcelain
– knobs, crackle glaze
These items are easily maintained. They can be lightly dusted with a soft cloth on a regular basis and occasionally cleaned with warm soapy water, then dried thoroughly.
Click here to view a pair of mortice door knobs in porcelain.

PVD – entrance door furniture
Usually has a 25 year guarantee. Regularly wipe clean with a soft cloth. Stains should be removed with white spirit or similar.
Click here to view a letter plate in PVD.

Rigid plastic
– signage
Products of this nature are easy to maintain. All they require is a regular wipe clean with a soft cloth, nothing abrasive which could scratch or damage the surface.
Click here to view a sign in rigid plastic.

Stainless steel – polished/satin
Regular monthly cleaning and maintenance helps to preserve the appearance. A dry cloth or duster used regularly will aid in keeping dirt from accumulating. Then an occasional clean with warm water and a mild detergent applied with a soft, clean cloth followed by rinsing the surface with warm water then drying thoroughly. Stubborn stains can be removed with non-abrasive household cleaning powders. It is NOT recommended to use wire brushes or wire wool. Silicone wax polished can also be wiped over stainless steel items occasionally to maintain its appearance.
Click here to view a pull handle in satin stainless steel.

Silver/gold/white
– espagnolette handle type finishes/ paint finishes on mail boxes
It is recommend to clean these items once a month using a clean cloth soaked in warm water and mild detergent. Every 6 months any moving parts should be lightly lubricated.
Click here to view an espagnolette lever door handle in silver.

Unlacquered item

Ironmongery which is not lacquered will tarnish naturally unless the polished finish is maintained with Brasso or similar. A natural patina will form over time if the items are not maintained in this way.

Wooden –knobs
Supplied unfinished unless otherwise stated. Wooden knobs can be polished or waxed to protect the surface or for appearance. A light dusting on a regular basis will aid in preventing the build up of dirt.
Click here to view a pine cupboard knob.
 

Care of Products – Routine Maintenance/General Cleaning

Cylinders – Do not use oil, powdered graphite, or silicon depositing spray lubricants as these may cause the cylinder to malfunction. The cylinder should be lubricated with ASSA lock maintenance spray or similar. In the event of a cylinder sticking due to the ingress of dirt the cylinder can be flushed through using methylated spirit of petrol, once cleaned the Assa lock lubricant should be re-applied.

Hinges – As part of a regular maintenance program hinges should be checked for any misalignment or binding. Fixings should be checked and tightened. The pivot point can be lubricated as required. Check individual manufacturer’s instructions for full details.

Lever handles/ knobs – As these items of ironmongery are in regular use it is recommend to check fixings are in place and tightened appropriately. Cleaning with a soft damp cloth is usually sufficient to remove surface deposits.

Escape door hardware - Items of this nature should be checked regularly to ensure they are functioning correctly.  

It is always best to follow the instructions of specific manufacturers regarding the maintenance and cleaning of their ironmongery. These instructions often come supplied with a product. When applying wax, polish and other cleaning products we would always recommend following the application instructions and safety warnings on product packaging.

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