5 Different Types of Sheet Metal Finishes

Pete Gallagher, Business Development Manager

Sheet metal finishes refer to the different coatings or treatments applied to sheet metal surfaces to enhance their appearance, protect them from corrosion, and improve their durability. As a sheet metal fabrication shop, we have a lot of part drawings coming across our desks. Often these part drawings will have the material finish called out incorrectly or with information missing that could be essential to part fabrication. Whether it’s a call out for stainless steel without a reference to the grade of finish required, or cold rolled steel called out without any coating specified, we’ve seen it all – and know first-hand how important it is to understand different types of sheet metal finishes.

5 Different Types of Sheet Metal Finishes

Below, we explain several different types of sheet metal finishes we commonly see and what to expect from each:

1. Powder Coating

Powder coating is a dry finishing process using fine powder to create a rigid, durable finish. It is commonly used to provide a decorative finish and protect the metal from scratches, corrosion, and fading.

2. Galvanizing 

Galvanizing involves the application of a layer of zinc to the surface of the sheet metal. This coating provides excellent corrosion protection, making it a popular choice for outdoor applications.

3. Anodizing 

Anodizing is an electrochemical process that creates a thin layer of oxide on the surface of the metal. This finish provides excellent corrosion resistance and can create a range of colors and textures.

4. Polishing

Polishing involves using abrasive materials to create a smooth, shiny surface on the metal. This finish is often used to enhance the appearance of decorative metal items, such as furniture or architectural features.

5. Brushed Finish

A brushed finish involves using a wire brush or abrasive pad to create a pattern of fine lines on the surface of the metal. This finish is often used to create a modern, industrial look on metal surfaces.

General Benefits of Sheet Metal Finishing 

Improved Corrosion-Resistance: Many of these finishes are designed to protect the metal from corrosion, which can help to extend its lifespan.

Refined Appearance: Sheet metal finishes can create various decorative effects, from bright colors to textured patterns.

Upgraded Durability: Some finishes, such as powder coating, can create a hard, scratch-resistant surface that can help to protect the metal from damage over time.

Better Functionality: Certain finishes, such as anodizing, can also improve the functionality of the metal, such as making it more resistant to wear and tear.

Contact the Experts at Prescott Metal

There are many benefits to sheet metal finishing, and different types of sheet metal are better suited for certain conditions. If you have questions about sheet metal types, finishes, or uses, contact us at Prescott Metal, New England’s premier sheet metal fabrication shop. With over 100+ years of experience, we are your one-stop solution for all your sheet metal fabrication needs.