A Hammered Nickel Sink; Perfectly Luxurious, And Perfectly Livable
A nickel finish sink? So beautiful, yet so many questions! How is this finish achieved? How does it hold up? Is it easy to maintain? How does it compare with stainless steel? Why would I choose Native Trails’ nickel over a traditional stainless steel sink or another luxurious alternative?
The short of it - Yes! Our nickel is extremely durable and super easy to maintain. Due to the hammered texture, it is incredibly forgiving. Those nicks, dents, and scratches that occur during everyday use make a stainless steel sink look beat-up over time. But with Native Trails, they are practically invisible in a hammered Brushed Nickel sink, or in a Polished Nickel sink coated with MetalProtect®, our new sealer.
Native Trails first introduced its wow-inducing Brushed Nickel finish in 2004, creating an alternative for customers who desired an alluring silvery shine in a material more interesting than stainless steel. In 2017, we added the high-shine statement finish, Polished Nickel. A lot of research and testing went into the best process for creating a luxurious finish that would be durable, easy to care for, and drop-dead gorgeous. Over the years, we’ve searched out the latest plating innovations to continually improve our methods, ensuring our products live up to our standards, as well as that of our clients: long-lasting, beautiful, sustainably-produced, artisan crafted, and easy to care for. In fact, we’re so confident in our process that we now offer a ten year warranty on our nickel finishes. We're the only company in the industry to do so!
Our nickel finishes are considered more luxurious and eye-catching than most stainless steel, and our processes for achieving these finishes are a significant reason why they maintain their luxe appeal over time. Here’s more about our “perfect” nickel finishes, and how we’ve perfected them.
What is Brushed or Polished Nickel?
Nickel, whether Brushed or Polished, is a high-end finish option in the silver color family - much more luxurious and warmer toned than the more typical stainless steel or chrome. It is plated over another metal, usually brass or copper. Both brushed nickel and polished nickel sinks are wonderfully versatile. They are fabulous in a contemporary space, yet just as perfect in a traditional design.
To achieve our Brushed Nickel finish, the nickel is purposefully and artfully brushed, for a soft, beautifully textured finish with a great side benefit: It happens to create a perfect “camouflage” for those everyday fingerprints and scratches, making care and cleaning a virtual non-issue.
Our Polished Nickel finish is created by carefully polishing the nickel, rather than brushing it as we do with Brushed Nickel. This results in a stunning mirror shine that absolutely sparkles and glimmers.
Keep reading for the lowdown on the super easy way to keep this finish looking perfect.
The Perfect Nickel Plating
There are two ways to achieve a nickel plated finish. The more commonly used method is electroplating, which is a lower cost, lower quality option for plating a sink. Electroplating is an unreliable method for large items as it creates irregular; thinner areas of plating that can wear unevenly resulting in the underlying metal potentially showing through over time.
On the other hand, our method of choice is electroless plating, which gives extreme surface adhesion and ensures that every surface is evenly coated, in uniform thickness. Used regularly for mining and aerospace applications, it also provides superior wear and corrosion resistance.
Superior Wear, the Native Trails Way
At Native Trails, our Brushed Nickel and Polished Nickel products start out in the artisan workshops of Central Mexico. Our highly skilled artisans combine age-old techniques and generations of expertise with contemporary design to transform high quality, recycled copper into functional art.
The resulting sink is then cleaned, prepped, and then heavily plated in California using our electroless plating chemical process. The copper product is dipped – at exactly the right angle, with exactly the right equipment for the best surface adhesion – in a nickel solution. We’ve thoroughly researched the chemical composition of our nickel, so it’s perfectly structured for appearance and durability.
To decrease the environmental impact of nickel plating, our plating partners adhere to the very strict California regulations for air and water quality as well as recycling of any waste materials.
Finally, that lovely nickel finish is meticulously hand polished or brushed to ensure a tough yet uniquely beautiful basin. The entire process includes several quality control steps, including abrasion testing and corrosion testing to ensure that the workmanship and plating is up to quality standards and each sink is ready for its day in the spotlight! Thus – Nickel, Perfected!
Perfect, For Keeps: How to Care for a Nickel Sink
Care & Cleaning of Brushed Nickel
For basic cleaning of a hammered nickel sink, simply use mild soap and water, avoiding abrasive cleaning agents or materials. In other words, no Comet and no harsh scrub pads. A few good soap recommendations include Dawn Original, Palmolive Original, or Mrs. Meyers Clean Day.
Beyond the simple cleaning instructions for a Native Trails Brushed Nickel sink or bathtub, there is not much more required. If hard water is an issue, carnauba wax or Flitz Faucet Wax Plus can be applied, to add extra protection against water spots and mineral build up. If ever needed, Flitz Polish can be applied to remove any black shadow marks, though this is unusual.
Care & Cleaning of Polished Nickel
There are two ways to maintain the bright mirrored finish of Polished Nickel. The easiest method is to apply Native Trails MetalProtect®, a revolutionary product that will protect the finish from fingerprints, tarnish, and water spots for months - or even years - depending upon usage and conditions. This has been incredibly welcomed news for homeowners and designers, because now for the first time, polished metal finishes are easy to maintain. (Hint: it works great on stainless steel, copper, and brass as well!)
The other alternative for maintaining Polished Nickel is to polish it periodically with chrome polish, followed by carnauba wax to maintain the look for a while. Since only soft cloth and non-abrasive cleaners are used on a nickel sink, this process is typically repeated every few weeks – depending on usage and conditions of course.