Metal Wall Art for Outdoors
Understanding Outdoor Environments
Some outdoor environments can be very corrosive to metal wall art, especially locations near the ocean that are subject to wind-borne salt spray, or locations subject to environmental contaminants, such as acid rain. Some pieces have withstood outdoor exposure for years with no problems; others have shown the effects of corrosion in less than a year. The ability of metal wall sculptures to withstand the elements depends a great deal on the materials used. Another factor is the exposure to direct sunlight. Some finishes and or materials will fade and others will not.
Keep in mind that your outdoor metal wall hanging may be exposed to very high winds that could dislodge the sculpture from the wall if it is not securely fastened.
Preferred Metals for Outdoor Metal Wall Art
In our opinion, the most durable metal for outdoor wall art is copper. It develops a natural green patina when exposed to the elements. Brass is also durable, but is prone to develop pitting. Stainless steel is a strong contender, but can develop a rust colored patina in certain environments. Aluminum stands up well, but can oxidize, which shows up as a whitish crust. Marine grade aluminum is probably the best choice.
Ferrous metals, such as iron or mild steel will develop rust and can rust entirely away in coastal environments when exposed to salt air. Even in low-humidity, inland areas, ferrous metals are prone to moderate to severe rusting. If you choose to put a ferrous metal wall sculpture outdoors, do not expect it to last long. Also be aware that rust can become entrained in dripping moisture that will stain the wall beneath the sculpture.
Care for Outside Metal Wall Art
There are two basic approaches to caring for metal wall decor used outdoors. The first is to do nothing and let nature take its course. Many people find that the natural patinas that develop add interest to the art. The metal used in the sculpture will determine how quickly nature will work its will. For longevity, select copper, brass, stainless steel or marine grade aluminum.
If you wish to prolong the life of your outdoor metal wall hanging and you live in a coastal environment, periodic rinsing with fresh water can reduce the effects of salt corrosion.
Metal wall art made of ferrous materials will benefit from a clear protective coating, such as lacquer, acrylic or automotive clear coat, followed up by a periodic refresh. The coatings are temporary at best, since they tend to break down in prolonged direct sunlight. Having said that, we have observed that automotive clear coat is very effective, lasting for years. If the metal wall sculpture has a finish employing color pigments, try to find a location to mount it that is protected from the direct sunlight.
Due to the unpredictable nature of environmental conditions, The Secret Coves provides no warranty with respect to tarnishing, corrosion or damage that may occur due to exposure to the elements. The Secret Cove is not responsible for any consequential damages that may occur from the use or misuse of its products.
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