Types of Metal Finishes

Here at Vista Industrial Products, Inc. we fabricate metal parts for numerous industries that have a variety of finishing requirements. When many people think of metal finishing, they may only think of it as aesthetic finishes like paint and powder coat in order to make parts look good and to change the color. However, many times a finish is applied to metal products for the functionality, preservation, or texture of a product rather than just adding color. Below is a list of the various common types of metal finishes and their purpose:

Finish Type



Anodizing An electrolytic passivation process used to increase the thickness of the natural oxide layer on the surface of aluminum parts. There are three types of anodizing (Type I, Type II, and Type III) which use different acids to create the anodize coating.
  • Increase corrosion resistance
  • Increase wear resistance
  • Increase adhesion for paint and primers
  • Prevents galling of threaded components
  • Increase surface hardness
  • Add color for cosmetics
Black Oxide A process which provides a conversion coating on iron which changes the surface of the material to a naturally occurring black iron oxide.
  • Limited corrosion resistance
  • Adds black color for cosmetics
  • Maintains the dimensional integrity of close tolerance parts
Chemical Film(also known as chromate conversion, yellow iridite, or Alodine) A chromate conversion coating applied to aluminum parts where the part surface is converted into the coating with chemicals. There are two types of chemical film, clear and gold, which provide different functionalities and color.
  • Maintain electrical conductivity for aluminum parts
  • Improve adhesion for paints, powders, and primers
  • Prevents Corrosion


Electroless Nickel Plating A auto-catalytic process of applying one or multiple layers of a metal to a substrate without current.
  • Increase corrosion resistance
  • Increase oxidation resistance
  • Increase wear resistance
Paint A hard coating to protect or decorate a surface.
  • Increase surface protection
  • Adds color for cosmetics
Passivate A process using citric and nitric chemical treatments that remove iron or sulfuric contaminants and forms a uniform, protective chromium-oxide film on the surface of corrosion-resistant steels.
  • Increase corrosion resistance
  • Maintains the dimensional integrity of close tolerance parts
Powder Coat A process of using powder and applying it to metal electrostatically and is then cured under heat to allow it to flow and form a hard “skin”.
  • Increase impact resistance
  • Maintain uniform finish
  • Adds color for cosmetics
  • Color / texture variety
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Increase in durability

Here at VIP, we provide metal finishing services for the parts we manufacture. We provide powder coating, painting, and chemical film in our one-stop manufacturing facility. We also specialize in precision sheet metal fabrication, CNC machining, and welding fabrication. If you have precision metal parts that need metal finishing, please contact us today for a quote.

Be sure to stay tuned for our next blog post!

1 thought on “Types of Metal Finishes

  1. The metal finishing process enhances the surface of the metal for :

    Resistance to corrosion
    Electrical conductivity
    Enhanced wear and tear
    Tolerance to forces
    Resistance to tarnish and chemicals

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