Matt Black vs. Charcoal

Your choice of finish can drastically impact the character of the product it is applied to as well as the space in which it is used.
In this mini-series, we explore some of our most requested finishes, whilst providing you with guidance on their main differences and what to bear in mind before selecting.

Discover below a comparison of two dark finishes, one of which is designed to be resilient whilst the other offers a lush, flat look that is endlessly touchable.
A quick background on Matt Black and Charcoal
Matt Black
There is a difference between Decorative and Industrial Finishes.

Decorative solutions are focused on creating a visual aesthetic, whereas industrial solutions are focused on protection of the material.

On very rare occasions however we find a solution that crosses these boundaries and Matt Black is certainly one of them.

Born from a need to protect metals from chemicals attacking their surfaces, Matt Black is ideal for the rough and tough worlds of commercial washrooms and hotels, but it can also be ideal for homeowners looking for a low maintenance solution with a dark colour.

The surface is produced by first covering all the components of a product in a fine powder of black plastic.

These are then placed into an oven that melts the plastic and allows it to flow evenly over all surfaces. The trick is to ensure that all surfaces have been evenly covered in powder to ensure there are no low spots the the molten plastic hasn’t been able to cover as well.

Whilst Matt Black might not have the depth and intrigue of most of our hand created finishes, it does offer an ideal solution to those for whom aesthetic values are not as important as a fit-and-forget solution.
Polished Chrome
Bronze: a finish with sculptural references that appeals to schemes looking to embody a timeless sophistication.

The dark lustre that we all aspire to is a result of a layer of oxidisation over the surface of the raw polished bronze. This layer is weak however and easily susceptible to wear; revealing the original yellow bronze beneath areas where the surface is regularly touched.

On door furniture this changing patina can add to the beauty of the finish, but in the bathroom the entire dark surface is quickly worn away through constant exposure to high levels of humidity, soaps, creams, and chemicals.

Being as obsessed with Bronze as many of our customers we turned to our spray shop to help us seal in this oxidisation under a durable layer of lacquer and thus our Charcoal finish was born.

By encasing the finish in two layers of matt lacquer not only were we able to preserve our darkened layers below, but we were also able to add a sheen to the surface that is a joy to touch. Below this lacquer is an exquisite patina created through the application of 7 separate stages of workmanship that combine opaque tones and burnishing techniques to create depth and intrigue in the finished surface.

Charcoal certainly is a labour of love taking us over 2 weeks to finish a piece… and if at any stage we spot a defect there is no option but to remove all the surfaces and start again.
Care & Maintenance for Matt Black
Being built for industrial purposes means that Matt Black provides more resistance to scratching and damage caused by cleaning chemicals than many other finishes.

Nevertheless, we do still advise that owners avoid using any abrasive cloths and sponges to clean the surfaces as these will leave micro-scratches which will dull the lustre of the finished surface.

Limescale build-up of course is something that affects all finishes because it is created as a by-product of standing water that is left to evaporate from an item.

These minerals have the ability to grip into a surface, particularly if abrasive cleaners and materials have been used to clean it in the past.

We therefore advise that owners attempt to dry their products after use to remove the possibility of these marks occurring.

But if any marks have built up over time, then a regular 6 monthly application of a lemon juice & water solution will dissolve them for you.

Apply the solution, leave to work for 5 minutes, and then agitate with a soft toothbrush to watch them disappear before your eyes. Just remember to flush the product down with water afterwards and dry to completely remove the remaining solution.
Care & Maintenance for Charcoal
Coating a finish with lacquer is a standard technique used across the industry to protect surfaces inherently susceptible to wear and tarnishing.

The care advice we offer therefore can be universally applied to any brands’ lacquered finishes.

However, one thing that distinguishes our products is our choice to apply two layers of lacquer rather then one, to be doubly sure that our surfaces stand up to the challenges of humidity and soaps in the bathroom space.

Lacquers however can still be broken down by chemicals left on their surfaces. It is important therefore that these are washed off with plenty of water.

Cleaning solutions applied to products in the vicinity of Charcoal should be applied with a cloth rather than spraying them directly onto the surfaces as this can leave a cloud of unseen droplets settling on the taps that will gradually dissolve through the lacquer if not removed.

Likewise, owners should be mindful of allowing limescale & minerals to build up as these can also wear through lacquered surfaces.

This can be minimised by drying the the products after use. We suggest also that a six-monthly application of lemon juice and water with a soft toothbrush is carried out to remove persistent mineral marks.

Abrasive cleaning cloths and sponges will also weaken and ultimately wear through a lacquered surface. Stick solely to microfibres and warm water therefore with a pump or two of liquid hand soap.