Types of Metal Finishes in Manufacturing

Posted: Mar 22, 2021

If you look around the room you’re in, you’ll likely see multiple objects that are made with some type of metal. And, while you may not necessarily see the metal at first glance, several other objects around you probably host metal on the inside of their casing. You’ll realize very quickly that metal plays a major role in our everyday lives. 

According to Sharretts Plating, each metal has distinct properties that are beneficial, however, each of them also has inherent weaknesses that must be improved upon to maximize their utility. That’s where metal finishing comes into play. Metal finishing is the final step in the manufacturing process and is done to add an extra layer of protection. This can lead to increased durability, enhanced electrical conductivity, improved aesthetics, and much more. 

Join us as we uncover the most common metal finishings in manufacturing: 

Metal Plating

Metal plating is one of the most common metal finishings, especially when working with materials such as cadmium, chromium, nickel, and zinc. This type of finish consists of a chemical bath which is done to change up the original surface of the metal using thin layers of other metals. 

Metal plating can improve a product’s durability, corrosion resistance, surface friction, and exterior appearance. It’s important to note that because metal plating is chemically invasive, it can typically only be done by specialized metal plating companies.


There are two types of blasting metal finishes: sand-blasting and shot peening. Sand-blasting is a metal finish that is performed if a project requires a uniform matte texture, while shot peening is done to improve fatigue resistance, stress corrosion cracking resistance, and fretting resistance.


One of the more inexpensive methods when it comes to metal finishes is coating. Coating is done to add an additional layer of protection to the metal. Typically, paint and powder coating are the most common. Paint coating uses water or oil-based paints to prevent the metal from potential corrosion down the road. 

Powder coating is like paint coating; however, it is more intense and provides greater durability. The process of powder coating involves UV or heat curing of dry thermoplastic polymer powder onto the metal. Depending on preference, this produces a textured, matte, or glossy coating.

Heat Treating

Heat treating is a group of industrial, thermal, and metalworking processes used to alter the physical, and sometimes chemical, properties of a material. According to the Heat Treating Society (HTS), practically nothing can be manufactured without heat treating. This is because metal must be heated and cooled under tight controls to improve its properties, performance, and durability. You can learn more about heat treating in our latest blog here.


The machining process can cause certain metals to become extremely rough. As such, abrasive metal finishes such as polishing, buffing, honing, and lapping are executed to reduce roughness and get metals back to your desired texture. While there are some exceptions, these methods are usually performed simply for the aesthetics and feel of the metal.

Other Metal Finishes

If you’re considering metal finishing for your next project, you will want to keep production speeds, cost, and the hardness of the metal you’re finishing in mind. While we outlined the most common metal finishes, there are others to be aware of including brushing/cleaning, grinding, vibratory finishing, hot blackening, and others. We hope this article helped you gain a better understanding of the different types of metal finishings and their use cases.

About Dayton Rogers

For nearly a century, Dayton Rogers has defined engineering and manufacturing in the metal-forming industry. We not only raised the bar, we created it. At Dayton Rogers, no project is too complex. In fact, we do 3D prototyping to production.

As pioneers in precision metal forming, Dayton Rogers introduced its vision of excellence in 1929 with a simple commitment – to create solutions that are integral to your success. From metal stamping to welding and sheet metal fabrication, our brilliantly engineered solutions are innovative and reliable.