The Differences Between Oil Rubbed and Brushed Bronze


Chances are, you’ve heard the terms oil rubbed bronze and brushed bronze for the majority of your life. The question is, do you know what both of these terms mean? More importantly, what’s the difference between them and is one better than the other? They look similar in appearance, so you might even be wondering if the terms are interchangeable. If you want to know the difference between them, all you have to do is read on.

Oil Rubbed Bronze

Oil rubbed bronze finishes are accomplished through a chemical process. The chemical is applied to the bronze that makes it look like it’s much older than it actually is. Typically, it causes the surface to darken a great deal. In some cases, it might appear a very dark brown color, almost like chocolate. In other cases, it may appear to be more gray in color than anything else. The thing that is most important to realize when it comes to an oil rubbed bronze finish is that there are many different types of these finishes out there. There are even a handful of different color codes for them that are routinely used.

As such, you can easily order an oil rubbed bronze product from one company and get something that looks entirely different than the same type of product that you ordered from someone else. In some cases, the finishes even vary dramatically from one product to the other when you’re ordering the same thing from the same company. As a result, it’s imperative that you order some samples before you actually settle on anything because it’s basically the only way that you can know with any level of certainty what the finished product that you’re trying to order will actually look like. Otherwise, you run the risk of having a bunch of mismatched products in your home.

Brushed Bronze

The brushed bronze finish is accomplished by applying a matte powder coat finish to the product. It has a tendency to reflect a great deal more light than oil rubbed bronze products. In many cases, it too is a dark brown and the shades can vary from a copper finish to one that is actually much darker. However, these finishes do tend to be more uniform than oil rubbed bronze. In addition, it’s often easier to find color combinations that actually work for the decor of your home as opposed to ending up with so many different varieties that it looks mismatched as opposed to looking weathered. As a result, many people choose to go with brushed bronze. It’s by far the more popular type of finish between the two. That also means that it’s typically easier to find and in some cases, it might even be more economical.

Which Is Better?

While some people are definitely fans of oil rubbed bronze, there isn’t really that much debate between which is better. In almost every case, the overwhelming majority of people side with brushed bronze. There are a number of reasons for this. Aside from the aforementioned problem of having mismatched products that has already been discussed, there can be other issues with oil rubbed bronze as well. For starters, it has a tendency to have an oily finish.

Unless you want something that looks slick and feels oily to the touch every time, it’s probably not the best product for you. When you consider the fact that most of the types of products in question include faucets and light switches, the idea of having something with an oily feel isn’t really all that appealing. There are also a number of differences associated with proper cleaning. It’s true that cleaning brushed bronze products with a lot of typical household cleaning chemicals can eventually ruin them. As such, you should only clean them with products that are designed to clean brushed bronze.

That said, cleaning oil rubbed bronze can be even more difficult. If you’re like most people and you live in a home that has hard water, just a few droplets of water coming into contact with the surface can cause horrible spots that are almost impossible to get off. That might not be such a big deal if you’re talking about a light switch, but it certainly is if you’re talking about a faucet. By the same token, it’s not as easy to clean and disinfect these types of surfaces as you might think. Wiping down a faucet handle or a light switch with an antibacterial wipe or spraying it with Lysol could damage it. If you’re looking for something that will add a little character to your home without being almost impossible to clean, you would be better off going with brushed bronze as opposed to oil rubbed surfaces.

At the end of the day, you have to decide for yourself which type of surface is best for you and your design needs. There are people out there that prefer oil rubbed bronze over anything else available. For them, it would be almost unthinkable to have brushed bronze products inside a home. Other people feel just as strongly about not having any oil rubbed products, deciding instead to go entirely with brushed bronze. In some rare cases, you might find a home that has a mixture of the two products, but it doesn’t happen very often. When it’s all said and done, you have to decide whether or not you like the look of both products. If you do, you’d be doing yourself a favor to learn how to properly clean each one and then keep the specific products on hand that are designed to do so. This will help keep all of the bronze surfaces looking great throughout your home. Better still, it minimizes the time you have to spend on cleaning, affording you a chance do whatever you enjoy.

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