Custom Patinated Surface Development

Patina development is a significant area of research for Zahner. Patinated surfaces offer designers a unique aesthetics. The patina also often provides a layer of protection which will weather and age like a fine wine. 

Custom patination on metal should be done in a controlled environment with proper safety mechanisms. It is important to follow EPA regulations on handling of hazardous waste. The patination facility used by Zahner is EPA-Certified and recognized for its controlled disposal of chemicals used in the patina process. This is important to maintain the quality of the city's water table.

What is a Patina?

"Patina" is an oxidized layer which develops naturally on the surface of many metals. In many cases, this mineralized surface will protect the surface from further corrosion while providing unique colors and textures on the metal surface. This is a naturally occurring phenomenon for many metal alloys. 

The process can take many years to fully develop. Depending on the atmospheric conditions, the results of this oxidization process can be visually difficult to predict. Moisture, air, sun, as well as salt and pollutants each have a powerful effect. In addition, factors such as how the metal is stored and produced at the mill, and how it is cleaned and prepared can have striking effects on the final visual surface appearance.

While the patination process is predictable, sometimes the end result will surprise and delight. This is because small shifts in the atmosphere can have large effects on how the patina colors reveal themselves.

Raw weathering steel plates are prepared for patination process.
Raw weathering steel plates are prepared for patination process.
Finished patinated Solanum Steel plate panels hung.
Finished patinated Solanum Steel plate panels hung.

The company draws on a rich history of chemistry and metallurgy as it relates to architectural and sculptural metal usage. Multiple resources have been published on the subject under the authorship of L. William Zahner, CEO/President.

There are many materials which can develop a unique oxide. Metal materials such as copper and copper-alloys, zinc, and weathering steel are commonly used for creating a unique patina. Other less commonly used architectural metals include aluminum and nickel.

Some of these proprietary techniques can develop the rich green and blue tones of cupric nitrate on the copper surface. Other techniques will develop browns, yellows, and oranges, in various hues, to create beautiful colors from the chemical combination with copper oxide. 

Learn more about the patinated surfaces that Zahner has developed by visiting the Materials section of this website. To learn more about how you can use Zahner patina development on your project, contact a member of the sales team and get started.