DECORATIVE METAL COATINGS & FINISHES – A QUICK GUIDE FOR INTERIOR DESIGNERS
You’ve chosen to inject some glamour and style into your interior design with metal accents, furnishings, or architectural elements. Now the question is which type to choose. Each metal finish has its own pros and cons, so read on before making your decision.
A few years ago, metal-effect paint was the most common way of creating a metallic coating. However, it comes with a number of disadvantages. The most important is its lack of staying power. Like any paint it can chip and fade with the passage of time, and unfortunately chips and flakes in metal-effect paint really stand out – making the finished surface look cheap.
Why would you choose it, then? The main advantage of metal-effect paint is its low price point. If budget is your number one concern, it can make sense.
Metal-effect paint may also be useful if you are working on a space that is not built to last, for instance a film or theatre set. If you only need a temporary effect, it may suffice – but for most interior designers, there are better options out there.
Plasma Metal Spray
The plasma metal spray process sees items coated with a hot, molten metal. It then sets in place to create a coating. This allows you to give surfaces and items of furniture a durable and authentic-looking metallic finish. A plasma metal spray finish looks attractive, and is longer-lasting than metal-effect paint. However, one major drawback is that it is limited in the surfaces it can be used on. Because it uses molten metal at extremely high temperatures, it is simply not suitable for all surfaces.
Cold Metal Spray
Cold metal spray also uses real metal, and has a similar application process to plasma spray. However, there is one major difference: unlike plasma spray, cold metal spray works at a low temperature. This makes it suitable for all surfaces, allowing a metallic coating to be applied to any piece of furniture, surface, or decorative item. Even unusual surfaces like paper, fabric, or MDF can be coated with a cold metal spray.
Cold metal sprays set more quickly than plasma, giving a better, more precise finish. For this reason, they have become popular in works by artists and designers who favour accuracy and perfection. It is also possible to create complex, bespoke designs using a cold metal spray. This makes it an excellent choice for the designer who wants to make a space that is entirely unique.
The Bottom Line
Ultimately, a lot depends on the look you are trying to achieve for your client, the purpose of the application, and the planned duration. However, in most cases cold metal sprays offer a higher level of quality, and a more precise finish that can be used on all kinds of surfaces. It is an excellent choice for metallic coatings in interior design.