Whether you are exploring door hardware for a new beach house or replacing the existing doors of your coastal abode, you need to consider materials that will stand the test of time. Coastal properties have much higher salt content in the air than regions inland, which causes deterioration of metals. Choosing hardware that can resist this impact will thus be vital to maintaining the quality of beach house doors.
Door hardware made from marine-grade metals such as aluminum, brass, bronze, copper, and stainless steel are the best options for coastal properties. These metals are developed and manufactured to resist the corrosive effects of a saltwater coastal environment.
However, not all marine-grade metals are created equal. Different marine-grade metals have varying functional and aesthetic properties and maintenance requirements. It is essential to consider each of these metals and accompanying factors to choose the most suitable option for your needs.
Before deciding on the best door hardware material for any coastal property, you need to ask yourself the following questions:
- Is the hardware required for a beach house’s interior or exterior doors?
- How often will the relevant doors be used?
- Is there a specific design, style, or visual effect you would like to achieve through the door hardware?
- What level of maintenance is ideal for your purpose?
- Which type of door hardware is the most sustainable option??
Is Aluminum A Good Option For Beach House Doors?
Aluminum has a grade range of 5000-6000. Every grade of aluminum has a specific set of properties that distinguishes it from the rest and makes it suitable for a particular application. Many marine vessels, for example, are made using marine grade aluminum 5052, which is workable, strong, and corrosion-resistant, and aluminum 6061, which is cheaper yet slightly less durable.
Regarding residential use, aluminum is a popular choice for anything from light fittings and window frames to internal and external door hardware. Aluminum is relatively cost-effective, soft, lightweight, and can resist corrosion. These features make aluminum a very suitable material for beach house door hardware.
Although aluminum is a solid and durable metal suitable for coastal door hardware, it still has the potential to tarnish in the salt air environment. The level of corrosion resistance varies depending on the specific grade of aluminum that you choose.
Manufacturers apply a protective coating to marine-grade aluminum fixtures or fittings for protection. Protective coatings include powder coating, anodizing, and paint. The latter, however, is only suitable for indoor hardware.
Powdered and anodized aluminum, on the other hand, is perfect for outdoor hardware in coastal areas. It has its limitations, though. Powder coatings can damage, which will require you to repair the hardware early on to avoid corrosion. Anodized aluminum can tarnish when it is close to other metals, so it is best to group such hardware together or keep it separated from other metals.
Can You Use Brass For Beach House Door Hardware?
The most common marine-grade brass alloys are C46200 and C46400, which is very pliable, have a golden color, and are made up of zinc and copper to make them more resistant to corrosion in coastal environments. This characteristic makes brass a good option as door hardware for any beach house.
From an aesthetic point of view, brass is also a popular choice for people who appreciate the visual effect of patina. Patina is a brown to greenish-gray color that appears on the surface of brass products because of oxidization over some time.
Unless you prefer the visual effect of patina, you should keep all brass products waxed or lacquered to maintain their golden tone. It is also advisable that brass be used for low-traffic interior doors to avoid wear and tear.
Silicon bronze alloys, like C65500, and aluminum bronze alloys, like C95400, are less brittle than traditional bronze and have high corrosion resistance, making them good choices for beach house door hardware.
These marine-grade bronze options are also low maintenance and aesthetically pleasing due to their makeup. Bronze develops patina on its surface due to oxidation, like brass and copper, which many people consider to have visual appeal.
Is Copper Door Hardware A Good Choice For A Beach House?
Copper is a natural resource with a golden-red hue that can withstand the impact of a coastal environment. The most used copper for things like marine fittings, pumps, and water lines are copper grades C70600 and C71500, fit for purpose because of their durability and high corrosion resistance.
Marine-grade copper is also an effective metal for residential fittings and fixtures, including door hardware. Not only is it durable, but naturally antimicrobial and has the same patina effect as brass and bronze when exposed to saltwater environments.
Unlike brass, however, copper requires a lot more maintenance. Only specific products developed for application on copper should be used when cleaning copper fixtures and fittings. If you keep to this cleaning recommendation, you will extend the life of your copper hardware.
Stainless Steel As A Material For Beach House Door Hardware
All marine-grade stainless steel has some corrosion resistance. Grade 316 has the highest molybdenum content and is, therefore, best able to resist denting and wearing away caused by saltwater environments.
Stainless steel is also a hard-wearing material that can be utilized in areas with frequent traffic since it will rarely dent or leave scratches from everyday use. This feature, among others, makes stainless steel a very practical choice for the door hardware of beach houses.
Over time, you might see stainless steel tarnish, but this thin layer acts as a protective barrier from further oxidization and corrosion. The maintenance of stainless steel, more so than with other metals, is low, easy, and cost-effective. Stainless steel hardware will not rust, and you can simply wipe off traces of dirt with a moist cloth to maintain a new, shiny look.
Because of its corrosion resistance, lack of toxic cleaning requirements, and the fact that it is 100% recyclable, marine-grade 316 stainless steel is also the most sustainable metal on this list and is a common metal used in households around the world.
There are a lot of factors to consider before deciding on the best door hardware for a beach house, such as the material’s durability, aesthetics, maintenance, sustainability, and the level of hygiene it can maintain, as discussed above.
It would also be best to consider the material’s weight, resistance to varying temperatures, and the related cost of production and installation. Comparing the importance of all these factors will allow you to make the most informed decision on suitable door hardware for your specific beach house needs.