Turning Chrome into Brushed Nickel
September 30, 2004 1:16 PM   Subscribe

I recently had a plumber install new shower/tub faucets. They all have a nice brushed nickel finish. He had to cut into tile to get the valve in, so he installed a coverplate (thin oval piece) under the appartus to turn on the water. The problem is, the coverplate is chrome. It clashes with the brushed nickel finish of the new stuff. Since I already spent a buttload to get these installed, what would be a cheap way to make the chrome look more like brushed nickel? I searched for brushed nickel paint, but no luck so far.
posted by strangeleftydoublethink to Home & Garden (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Sanding (brushing) it couldn't hurt as a first attempt, could it? Then you would have brushed chrome which will be a fairer match -- still not nickel admitedly but getting closer.
posted by Dick Paris at 2:12 PM on September 30, 2004

If I read you correctly, that piece is called an "escutcheon plate." You should be able to find it by searching on that term on any plumbing supply website. Be sure to measure the diameter of the pipe it's covering up, and the outside circumference, too, if you need to match an existing plate. It sounds like they're all wrong, though.

Also: What's up with your plumber? He should come back and replace these at no charge. That's just shoddy work.
posted by luser at 2:16 PM on September 30, 2004

Use the same technique that people are using on iPods to get a brushed finish: grab a scotchbrite pad and rub the shiny finish right off.

I discovered this myself about 10 years ago when I was prepping some chrome-finished plastic parts for paint on my truck. I had to rough up the surfaces for primer and was told by a friend to use an industrial strengh scotchbrite pad (available at any hardware store, btw). I liked the brushed metal finish so much I almost didn't paint the parts.
posted by mathowie at 2:56 PM on September 30, 2004

Did you check the spray paint section? I've seen metallic spray paints. They might have brushed nickel.
posted by Frank Grimes at 2:59 PM on September 30, 2004

Be careful with sanding - these coverplates are often cheap pieces of crap with a barely adhering chrome finish. It can peel away easily revealing ugly black metal beneath.
posted by Krrrlson at 9:35 PM on September 30, 2004

Enjoy the clash...
posted by mildred-pitt at 12:35 PM on October 1, 2004

Usually chrome is plated onto a nickel plate. It is likely that underneath your discordant chrome lurks a perfectly usable nickel finish. If you are careful, you can remove the chrome, gently steel-wool the exposed nickel plate, and achieve a reasonable harmony. If you screw up, for itsy-bitsy cash you can "brush" plate (with nickel) the completely stripped escutcheons.

Of course, this assumes that you can remove the escutcheon plates, and it assumes that having done that, the temptation to simply buy nickel-finished replacements does not overwhelm your laudable inclination to transmogrify the dissonant materials which are the fountainheads of your discontent.
posted by Opus Dark at 8:49 PM on October 1, 2004

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