Exploring Bare Metal Finishes

June 27, 2024

Bare metal finishes are a form of structural steel finishing that transform the properties of steel structures, enhancing both their functionality and aesthetics.

The primary reasons for employing bare metal finishes are to enhance corrosion resistance, durability, and visual appeal. Different finishing techniques cater to specific requirements, making the selection of the best finish for a project a nuanced process. This process considers factors such as environmental conditions, process intricacies, and associated costs.

Expert guidance, provided by Feature Walters, can greatly assist in determining the most suitable finish for a specific application, ensuring that the chosen finish meets the project’s needs.

To better understand the variety of finishes available, let’s delve into the diverse types of bare metal finishes that we offer.

A Bare Metal Finish in Action ↓

Feature Walters fabricated and supplied an office sign for Grassmere Construction in Tillsonburg, Ontario.

The sign was fabricated using corten steel and was shop blasted and installed with the intent to naturally weather. The rusted look of the corten steel finish combined with the mounted letters on acrylic suits the modern architectural aesthetic of their new office space.

Types of Bare Metal Finishes

Bare metal finishes celebrate the raw authenticity of steel, leaving its surface exposed. While some may see imperfections, bare steel enthusiasts appreciate the character these blemishes bring to the finished product.

Bare metal finishes are favored for their versatility, complementing a variety of architectural styles, from industrial chic to modern minimalism.

Whether indoors or outdoors, these finishes evoke a sense of rugged sophistication, making a bold statement in any space.

Corten Steel Finish

  • This material has a patina finish of A588 / A572 weathering steel.
  • It gives off a rusted steel look and is also weather proofed without any additional finishing.
  • It can bleed rust onto adjacent surfaces, so it’s important to consider this when deciding placement of a project.

Galvanized Steel Finish

  • Galvanization or galvanizing is the process of applying a protective zinc coating to steel or iron.
  • This is commonly done by dipping steel into a molten zinc bath.
  • It is not an architecturally high-end look, but it does prevent rusting.

Blackened Steel Finish

  • This finish is executed by using a variety of liquid chemicals resulting in a darker finish.
  • Blackened steel is achieved by applying an acid to the surface and allowing it to chemically alter the surface of the metal to deepen and darken the look of the steel.
  • It then requires a neutralizer to stop the chemical process.
  • It is a controlled process that provides a stunning uncontrollable result to the metal.
  • Variations in consistency on large areas can be evident due to composition in steel.
  • Blackening minimizes light reflection and is commonly used in contemporary architecture.

A Bare Metal Finish in Action ↓

Feature Walters fabricated and erected this stunning staircase at the Walters Group Head Office.

This striking feature stair is a harmonious blend of a variety of materials: steel was used for the stringers, stainless steel for the handrails, corten panels for the guardrails, maple for the treads and landings, all surrounded by curved glass.

With Bare Metal Finishes, The Opportunity for Architectural Expression is Unlimited

Each structural steel finishing technique carries its own unique piece of metal work with one-of-a-kind charm and functionality.

From the sleek sophistication of mirror finishes to the rugged authenticity of bare metal finishes, the possibilities for architectural expression are truly limitless.

How We Can Help You Find the Perfect Finish

At Feature Walters, our expertise in bare metal finishes ensures that we can provide tailored solutions to meet your project’s unique requirements. By partnering with us, you can be confident in achieving the perfect balance of functionality and aesthetics for your steel structures.

With our dedication to quality craftsmanship and innovative solutions, we ensure that every steel structure is not only structurally sound but also a visual masterpiece that stands the test of time. Let us partner with you to bring your architectural visions to life!

The Feature Walters Design Guide


Our Feature Walters team has created this guide as a resource to help educate and inspire you with the many styles, materials and finishes available for architects seeking leading-edge architectural options for feature staircases.

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