What Is The Difference Between Hard And Decorative Chrome Finishing?

The chrome finishing process, also known as the plating process, adds a layer of chrome to another object to improve its resistance or appearance. In this blog, we’ll be exploring the differences between decorative and hard chrome plating to help you decide which is the best kind of metal finishing for your project.

Different Uses

The first difference between decorative chrome and hard chrome plating is what they can be used for. Hard chrome finishing is most used in tough applications, whereas decorative chrome plating only uses a thin layer to protect from surface scratches and tarnishing. It is also largely used for enhancing the appearance of a material and can be used for enhancing products such as automotive parts, kitchen utensils, and tools. A hard chrome finish is used for more industrial applications like hydraulic cylinders, engine components, and aircraft parts. Hard chrome has a high level of durability, as its wear, corrosion, and heat resistance can improve a product’s lifespan.

Different Finishes

As well as their different uses, the appearance of each finishing process will differ. Decorative chrome is notably thinner than hard chrome, which naturally means that it will create a different visual effect. This thinness allows for a smooth and glossy surface finish. The thickness of hard chrome finishing can result in a rougher appearance and texture, which can highlight any imperfections in the underlying surface. Hard chrome plating also has a duller, matte finish, while decorative chrome finishing is bright and shiny with a more aesthetically appealing look.

Different Durability

Hard chrome finishing is well-known for its durability, which is mostly due to its thickness and hardness. This makes it a more wear-resistant metal finishing option, which makes it well suited to be used to withstand the challenging environments of industrial applications. Decorative chrome finishing is not designed to withstand heavy wear and tear. Its shiny surface makes it more prone to scratching compared to hard chrome plating, but it still has a moderate hardness. Both types of finishes offer corrosion resistance. However, decorative chrome has an extra nickel layer that provides better protection, especially for consumer goods.

Different Timescale

To create these different finishes, it takes different amounts of time. Creating a hard chrome finish is more labour intensive and time consuming than decorative chrome plating, mainly because of its complexity. It involves a more intricate preparation and plating process that includes multiple steps. Decorative chrome finishing is a lot quicker due to its fewer and simpler steps, and using a thinner layer of metal. The hard chrome plating process can last for about a day from start to finish, whereas thin layers of decorative chrome on a small object can be achieved in a matter of minutes.

If you would like to know more about our decorative or hard chrome finishing services or find out how we can help you with your project, feel free to contact us today or call 01202 677939 to get a quote. If you’d like to learn more about our other services, you can read all about them in our latest news.

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