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Brass, Copper & Zinc Table Tops: Care and Maintenance Tips


Zinc, brass and copper all have surfaces which quickly tarnish when exposed to air, forming a distinctive matt layer, or patina.

The patina increases over time and reacts with acidic liquids like vinegar, sauce, fruit juice and other materials to create a distinct aesthetic or marks.  Traditionally, metal tops are supplied in natural or pre-patinated finish, with beeswax applied, to help moderate the rate of patina developing. In bars and restaurants where the product is continually washed and cleaned, the wax will get washed away and patina will change and develop more quickly. (See the results of our metal table tops stain test here).

In the current market, users of live metals (which typically react with exposure to air) are requesting that the finish (natural or pre-patinated) be preserved rather than allowed to develop naturally (patina). For these tops a clear matt lacquer is applied. Special care must be taken as not to damage the lacquered surface, as patina will start to develop in those areas once damaged.

Cleaning Brass, Copper & Zinc Table Tops

On all finishes wash with warm soapy water, liquid detergent or Relay Spray (available on the internet).

Any tops that have a lacquer on must be cleaned with a product that does not damage the lacquer – any product with ammonia may be damaging. We recommend you clean lacquered surfaces using Relay Spray

Maintaining Brass, Copper & Zinc Table Tops

To maintain polished/mirror and hand beaten zinc, copper or brass top, we recommend using a proprietary polish such as Brasso and following the instructions on the product. This will need to be repeated regularly, as the metal tarnishes. Do not use Brasso on pre-patinated finishes or lacquered tops.

On waxed tops, we recommend applying a clear creamy beeswax (such as Briwax – Original) once every few months or when a surface starts to dull or to slow down the rate of patina which naturally develops.

There is no fix to scratches or damages caused to the surface.

Heat: Do not set down hot plates and pans etc without using a mat or trivet

Liquid: Spillages should be removed immediately; acidic liquids like vinegar, sauce, fruit juice will patina (mark) very quickly.

Ferrous Metals: These can react (leaving a mark) if in direct contact with other live metals, including some candle sticks, cast iron pans and suchlike and so should be protected from direct contact with the metal.

Browse our range of zinc table tops, copper table tops. and brass table tops online.  Or get in touch to discuss finishing options. There are a lot of possibilities when it comes to metal tops. 

Free Furniture Care & Maintenance Guide

Get more from your contract furniture by caring for it properly. Download our Furniture Care & Maintenance Guide to learn how to make your furniture last longer in a hospitality space.

Topics: Tables, Furniture care,

By Paula Stanbridge-Faircloth Paula Stanbridge-Faircloth on 06/11/17 11:05
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