Finish Guide


Popular since the 1930's, chrome is one of the most popular choices of finishes at Vintage Tub & Bath. Chromium plating (chrome) is a sophisticated tarnish-resistant finish. To create this finish, solid brass fixtures are electroplated with chromium. To maintain its original shine, chrome should be cleaned frequently with a damp cloth. DO NOT use an abrasive cleaner, as this could eat away the finish.


Brass has been a common finish since the nineteenth century. It is a warm but relatively high maintenance finish, requiring frequent gentle polishing with a soft cloth to keep it shiny.

  • Uncoated brass will tarnish in time (brown spots), even with constant polishing.
  • Super-coated brass will ensure a lasting shine without the need of polishing.


Due to its resistance to tarnish, nickel was the preferred finish from the 1880's up to the 1930's until chrome was introduced. Satin nickel, matte nickel, and brushed nickel are considered very dull compared to the shinier look of polished nickel. Nickel can be cleaned with a damp cloth. DO NOT use an abrasive cleaner.

  • Satin nickel has a very slight, soft gold tone and is very similar to the nickel coin.
  • Matte nickel has low reflective properties and can be compared to stainless steel.
  • Brushed nickel can be described by taking a brillo pad and brushing it onto chrome.
  • Polished nickel is shinier than its counterparts and reflects warmer colors, like a goldish hue.

Oil Rubbed Bronze

Oil Rubbed Bronze differs among manufacturers so keep this in mind if getting a close match is important to you. Some manufacturers’ offer this as more of a flat, matte finish and others as a more iridescent finish. Within these, some are a “living finish” which means it may be plated with metals and/or have oxidizing agents applied to achieve its mellow finish. A “living finish” also changes over time with use or touch making each piece unique. All of these specialty finishes are fragile finishes that must be inspected prior to installation and are not warranted further. Some examples are listed below.

Randolph Morris Oil Rubbed Bronze Finish Whitehaus Oil Rubbed Bronze Finish Strom Plumbing Oil Rubbed Bronze Finish Cheviot Oil Rubbed Bronze Finish
Randolph Morris Whitehaus Strom Plumbing Cheviot
Newport Brass Oil Rubbed Bronze Finish Water Creation Oil Rubbed Bronze Finish Premier Copper Oil Rubbed Bronze Finish
Newport Brass Water Creation Premier Copper