Brass Fixtures?

phoggieMay 23, 2008

We are getting ready to put our house on the market. It is 6 years old, but at the time I liked (and still do) brass fixtures...faucets, light fixtures, switch plates, door handles, cabinet pulls...everything~~ I heard on HGTV that this really "dates" a house. My hubby says he doesn't think we need to go to the expense (and it would be quite a bit) to change them to brushed silver because the new owner may (like myself) like the brass. Has anyone had good luck in spraying any light fixtures to another color? Your advice would be appreciated.

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You know, I think this is a regional thing. I've heard some people say that polished brass is making a comeback, but in other areas if it isn't brushed nickle it won't be acceptable.

Before you go to the work of changing out the brass, you might want to check out open houses for local competitors in your price range to see what they're doing.

I've redone drawer pulls with metallic spray paint, and that worked well. For faucets and light fixtures, I'd either replace or leave them as-is; again, depending on what your competition has.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2008 at 11:24AM
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I used a metallic craft paint from Michael's and painted a brass chandelier in an oil rubbed bronze finish. It was one of those builder grade brass chandeliers and I figured I couldn't hurt it by painting it. I had good results.

I've also heard that brass is out of vogue, but still that's a lot of expense and trouble and I certainly wouldn't do it. I've never passed on a home because of the finish on hinges or door knobs etc.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2008 at 12:39PM
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The light fixtures are the last thing I'd mess with.

I would change out the switchplates. You are better off with plastic than brass. I would be very surprised to see brass switchplates in a 6 y.o. home.

I would consider changing out the cabinet pulls. You should post photos on the kitchens forum. Perhaps your kitchen cabs would look good with wood knobs? That way you wouldn't be introducing another metal color into your home, but you'd be reducing the amount of brass.

Changing out plumbing fixtures would get pricey. Probably not worth it unless it's a pretty expensive home.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2008 at 12:57PM
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I have spray-painted brass light fixures with very good results. I used "chrome" spray paint that turned into a brushed nickel look (it's a good thing I wasn't trying for actual chrome). It was very easy and very cost-effective.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2008 at 1:19PM
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I would change the switchplates to white but not the rest if the fixture itself isn't dated. My house is new and most of my fixtures are antique or raw brass (which will antique eventually). I really don't like brushed nickel or chrome, but I have a traditional house.

I wouldn't consider HGTV a good source on what to do to sell a house.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2008 at 1:37PM
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Brass is a traditional color. If it suits the house--colonial, say--then it shouldn't stick out. It's not modern, but if your house isn't steel/chrome would look out of place.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2008 at 2:11PM
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We built and furnished 'Traditional'. Polished brass isn't a trend, it's a classic standard. (I'm sure not going to mess with painting a $4K chandelier.) If your buyer doesn't like brass, let him replace it; worst that can happen is he asks for an allowance to do so.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2008 at 2:49PM
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You can bet I'll switch my brass switch plates out before we list this place --- at $100+ per switch plate, they are expensive to replace and I doubt they'd be appreciated for their true value. The two brass chandeliers will remain as is. We liked them when we bought two years ago and all the crystals would be a real treat to take off and polish individually. As chisue put it - I sure am not going to mess with painting a couple of $4K chandeliers.

Heck, I recall nickel being junk people laughed at how cheap and "dated" it was. What goes around comes around. Leave what you have unless it is cheap and junkie looking.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2008 at 4:58PM
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I guess it depends on the style of your house, but brass is a classic finish. It's not as trendy as oil rubbed bronze or nickel, but eventually, those finishes will look more dated than brass. However, you're trying to sell, so potential buyers may not see it that way.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2008 at 10:26PM
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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana

I too consider brass a classic finish...the antique brass anyway. It certainly would not be a deal breaker for me.

In fact, I see the brushed nickel as the new 'trend' and it may be just that...a trend that will in time date a house...just as the 'in' appliance colors soon went 'out'.

just my 2 cents....Sue

    Bookmark   May 24, 2008 at 5:59AM
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Here is an opinion from the other side:

I have always hated polished brass. Years ago I wanted to change by brass door knobs to nickel and I couldn't find any that didn't require special ordering so I ended up using commercial style door knobs. I hate polished brass that much.

That being said, I would not overlook your house just because of brass fixtures and knobs. I consider it a personal taste thing and will have to do the work to get the house the way I want it to look.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2008 at 2:14PM
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Polished Brass = Hideous

To me it would not matter though, as I would just change them myself - I am a DIY'er.

Polished Brass looks cheaper than free - personally, you could not pay me to have that tuff in my house.

But for selling purposes - you may turn off a few buyers - but most would probably prefer to change them themselves.

Polished brass will not make a comeback - antiqued or matted maybe...

    Bookmark   May 24, 2008 at 9:03PM
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So antique brass is less "out" then polished brass?

    Bookmark   May 24, 2008 at 11:25PM
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Brass has made a comeback in higher-end housing (and yes, more seems to be antique than polished). It will be a while before it trickles down to the masses again, but it will trickle down. Some people like it as a classic look and never removed it, others could not afford to remove it, still others hate the look of nickel or stainless steel. Finishes are truly a personal choice. And, many houses have combinations throughout.

What is "out" is cheap ________ (fill in the blank), although at some price-points cheap ______ (fill in the blank) is perfectly appropriate.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2008 at 10:40AM
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Cheap is usually cheap looking. The cheap 'little black dress' will look cheap, whereas a good one will last for years.

I dislike cheap brass finishes too, but high quality polished brass is another story. It's been 'in' for hundreds of years.

I'm impressed with how well the new finishes stay good looking. Our Baldwin entry and passage door lock sets look as good today as they did seven years ago. I remember my mother removing all our door knobs to be refinished every so often when the shellac wore off and the brass tarnished. (I also recall the shady character at the refinishers who claimed he needed to 're-plate' the solid brass knobs. Hah!)

    Bookmark   May 25, 2008 at 11:07AM
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There are any number of durable coats for protecting brass from tarnish. Better ones are more durable than lacquer.
Brass plate looks cheap, and has a limited life.
The thickness of the brass is not usually adequate to protect the base metal and small rust spots usually appear after a few years through the plating.

The bright yellow brass is usually a cheap plated surface.
Solid brass has a more golden color.

Solid brass is relatively expensive, but with a good protective coating lasts a very long time.

Renovator's Supply has a decent assortment of solid brass switch plates and the coating is very good.

Solid brass doorknobs, hinges, and switch plates (sometimes cast) remains popular high end houses.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2008 at 12:46PM
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What brickeyee said. Solid brass, yes. Cheap plated stuff, get out the spray paint.

The joke at our house is that if it doesn't move, it can be spray painted. I have an area set up in the basement near a sliding glass door where I do all my spray painting.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2008 at 9:03PM
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Agree that modern "shiny brass" fixtures are kind of weird-looking - but that's just my personal taste.

I was really happy when we got this 1947 house with all solid brass original door hardware (except on the front door, which had been replaced) - it all needed a bit of cleaning, and we've replaced some of the internals, but I don't think there's a good substitute for that look in an older house.

Even in a newer house, "antiqued" brass can look great - I've seen a lot of nice fixtures in that style. I do think finding "older" ones at a reclamation type store can work, but you have to be careful - putting our 60-year-old knobs and "knob plates" on a newer door in a newer house would totally not work.

Ultimately, I think it's all up to the owner's aesthetic pleasure. This is especially true because it can get surprisingly expensive to replace that many bits of hardware, even at minimum prices - just think about how many doors you actually have! We have 21 doors that would need hardware replacements, and this house isn't THAT huge (4br, 1 full, 2 half baths). I don't know about you guys, but 21 times even a minimal $10 per door expense isn't totally insignificant!

    Bookmark   May 27, 2008 at 2:11PM
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I have always liked the look of real brass not the plated stuff. Our house has a combo of polished, antiqued brass and bronze. Our house is very traditional so it fits.

In our kitchen, I have a Kohler French Brass faucet with antique brass knobs and pulls on the cabinets and bronze untarnished tile inserts. You can not tell the difference between the faucet and tiles. The knobs and pulls are slightly darker. It all goes together great.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2008 at 10:08AM
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I just spray painted all my brass light fixtures and it's unbelievable how beautiful they look. I iused Rustoleum "Universal paint and primer in one". The can says "METALLIC" , and the color I used is Oil Rubbed Bronze. They also make other colors. EASY and FAST !! I am so glad I didn't pay to have them replaced !!
I've tried to post photos in album

Here is a link that might be useful: Kodak gallery album - lights

    Bookmark   November 28, 2011 at 10:22PM
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Very nice paint jobs devtrav2. I like the way they look now.
Kathy G in MI

    Bookmark   November 28, 2011 at 10:43PM
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Cheap plated brass from the big box stores is ugly and out. Good quality real brass that the average person can't afford will always be in style.

I spray painted a cheap brass fixture in my bathroom black and changed out the glass globes to something more updated. Looks like a whole new fixture. Obviously outdated fixtures don't stop me from buying a house if it reflects in the price.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2011 at 11:16PM
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devtav2.....Isn't that paint awesome? Your job looks great. I used the same color paint on my kitchen light, outside lights, and house numbers and they looked great. I have not tackled the DR light is brass, but a rather expensive brass and not that offensive....or at least, no one has said anything about it. I did buy new ORB pulls and faucet, but it really did change the looks of my kitchen.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2011 at 7:22PM
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"Polished Brass looks cheaper than free"

While their are plenty of cheap brass plated items available (steel with a thin brass plating) solid brass is far from cheap.

And cast brass plates can be VERY expensive.

Even solid stamped brass plates run around $8 each.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2011 at 10:19AM
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Has not your home been on the market prior to this? If so, what did the buyers say about the fixtures?
Painting hanging light fixtures is one thing, but painting knobs and handles will just chip and peel over time.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2011 at 5:56AM
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According to the realtors, not one has even mentioned anything about the brass fixtures. And I would not attempt to paint the knobs, faucets, or handles....I think that would look worse than ever and really make them look bad. Yes, our house was listed before, but it is off for the winter months. We will relist in the early spring with a lowered price again and a new realtor.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2011 at 8:04PM
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