What Is a Satin Finish on Metals?

K.C. Morgan

In metalworking, a satin finish does not produce a high-gloss shine but it does have a smooth, silky feel. When you're buying or remodeling your home, terms like "satin finish" are very important. But it's not always as simple as buying doorknobs with a satin finish and picking out plumbing fixtures to match, because there are different types of satin finishes that make buying for your home confusing.


Standards are in place to give metalworkers and other interested parties clear-cut definitions of satin finishes. US2C (602) is a zinc-plated finish on top of another type of metal, usually cadmium on steel. US2CD is a zinc-plated satin finish on top of a steel base. A satin brass finish on top of brass or plated steel is identified as US4 (606, 633). A satin finish on brass or steel is known as US5 (609, 638). On bronze or bronze-plated steel, a satin finish is US10 (612, 639). On stainless steel, the satin finish is identified as US32D (630). A dull satin chromium finish on bronze, brass and steel is US26D (626, 652). The satin nickel finish on brass, bronze and steel is US15A (620, 647). To ensure you're getting the same finish on all your metal, just match the numbers of the products you're buying.

Architectural Finish

Satin finishes as also known as brushed, directional or architectural. The finish is created through fine-polishing uniform, directional grit lines in the metal. The metal must be polished with a 120- to 180-grit belt. After polishing, the metal is softened with a greaseless grit compound or a nonwoven pad or belt.

Fine Satin Finish

A fine satin finish is done using a 220- to 280-grit belt or a 220 to 230 greaseless compound. Alternately, a very fine, nonwoven pad or belt may also be used to smooth and polish the metal to create a fine satin finish. The polishing lines are less reflective in a fine satin finish than in the architectural finish.

Satin Finished Items

Metal finishers are important in all plumbing fixtures. Home builders and renovators like to use matching fixtures, if not throughout the entire house than at least room by room. Faucets, spouts and drains are all available in satin-finished metals. You may also find a satin finish on doorknobs and other metallic objects found within the home, even door hinges. If you like the look of the satin finish, you may purchase metal items featuring this finish for use throughout the home.