Copper range hood: which finish?

tqo111March 1, 2006

I am about to order a custom copper range hood for my kitchen remodel. Metalworker offers plain (shiny) copper in various textures, as well as light and dark "patina," which presumably hold their look better. Am I foolish to consider the plain, brilliant copper? How does it age? I don't mind cleaning it once a week. Would it turn turquoise with time, like a copper roof or pipe? Thanks for all replies.

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If you've ever had a copper bottom pot, like Revereware, then you'll know how quickly copper will tarnish. It's not as quickly as silver, in my experience, but it will darken fairly soon. Also, any splashes of acid or salty liquid will likely leave a darker stain or even some greening.

In time the copper will turn green, but it might take a very long time indoors. To be uniform the copper should be cleaned thoroughly and then protected from uneven staining after that. My suggestion - if you want that green patina - is to have it applied or induced before installation.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2006 at 12:49AM
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Thanks, Susdmaster. I've spoken at length with the metalworkers. they apply a lacquer finish to range hood, so I'm taking my chances with plain/shiny copper and plan to be fastidious cleaning it after guests inevitably touch it!

    Bookmark   March 7, 2006 at 12:29PM
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You're welcome.

The lacquer should provide long term protection. However, if the finish is scratched or chipped or broken in areas, the surface underneath will begin to tarnish in a spotty fashion, and polishing may not restore an uniform appearance. So in some cases I prefer leaving such surfaces unprotected and using regular polishing to achieve the desired results. I think regularly polished copper acquires a nice patina that is more attractive than a lacquered surface. Just a matter of taste, I guess.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2006 at 2:52PM
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Hi folks,

I own a major copper fabrication company - can't say which one, of course. We build hundreds of copper hoods, sinks, & countertops. We do all of the different finishes on copper - mirror polish, bright satin, light french brown, medium french brown, and on and on. I'm with suds about the most attractive finish - just well maintained bare copper... BUT - it's a real hassle to maintain. We'll do bare when folks insist, but I just don't recommend it. So based on customer feedback - we recommend hot process french brown patina, lacquered and waxed. We have gotten get consistent rave reviews about it from o,ur customers and no complaints. It's great looking right from the start, and easy to maintain, especially on hoods, and positively doesn't show fingerprints. Less durable on sinks, but still the best choice, my opinion. Very good on copper countertops as well. The main thing is avoid contact with acidic substances, and wax it. And about the green - only happens outdoors - won't happen indoors.

The way I see it, you start out looking good with the patina, and as it wears you work down to bare copper, and it looks good the whole way. If you start bare, you fight with the fingerprints forever almost until the color eventually stabilizes. Looks real bad unless you really stay on it and put in that polishing time. And for sure, don't lacquer it if you're going to leave it bare. Very bad idea - it'll chip and tarnish where it chips and you'll have a very difficult-to-fix mess.

So that's a highly opinionated point of view coming from a guy who's not keen on polishing copper every week.

Hope this helps!

    Bookmark   April 13, 2006 at 2:04AM
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I bought 18" X 24" sheets (1/64" thick) of bare copper to be used as a backsplash in my kitchen. How would I go about applying a patina finish to these. Would I have to do them individually or after they are on the wall? Please tell me I can buy it in a can! Also do you know how to cut around the outlets? If someone can help or direct me to some help I would greatly appreciate it.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2006 at 1:56PM
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ill ask my sme question here- does anyone know how to lighten a dark patina hammered copper table? i love the table but the patina is way too dark. Is there a product that would lighten it? anyone who might have some information about this would be really helping me out! the table comes from mexico and they seem to always do this very dark patina.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2007 at 1:57PM
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Just following up with the copper range hood post from March 07. We are still loving the copper range hood that we bought from Circle City Copperworks, and we just bought a farmhouse sink (this year) and replaced a cast iron undermount sink. Anyway, I can honestly say we get so many complements from our copper range hood and two sinks that we have in our kitchen. The finish on the hood looks great still, and we are enjoying the natural changes that any copper sink will have. We just use a mild soap to clean the sinks, since they are so antibacterial by nature.

Here is a link that might be useful: Copper Range Hoods

    Bookmark   July 4, 2009 at 10:30AM
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"Also, any splashes of acid or salty liquid will likely leave a darker stain or even some greening."

Salt left on the copper can eventually turn it green, but even weak acids will leave nice bright spots on an otherwise aged copper surface.

It does not take much acidity to strip the copper oxides off.
Vinegar, even canned tomatoes are both acid enough.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2011 at 3:00PM
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