An Overview of Sheet Metal for Architectural Purposes
As architects carefully draw up their visions of new buildings and restoration projects, intentional details can make significant visual impacts in terms of overall aesthetic appeal. You can invoke a timeless, intriguing look with decorative sheet metal. Ornamental sheet metal can be employed in many different ways to achieve an original touch, add creativity, evoke elegance, or restore historical prestige. Further, it can provide functional purpose with respect to sound absorption, reflection, drainage, practical use, and historical reverence. Architectural sheet metal can accomplish utility goals and achieve artistic flair simultaneously.
Different types of sheet metal can achieve varying visual effects while additionally providing enhanced advantages. In performing restoration, or historical projects that require matching traditional materials, you can preserve the original sheet metal to retain authenticity. Yet, in accomplishing modern architecture, there is increased freedom of choice, as follows:
- Aluminum: Aluminum sheet metal presents many style choices, as there is an extensive variety of surface finishes and hues available. As aluminum is flexible and mouldable, designs can be crafted with precision. It can be used for exterior and interior projects alike, from wall panels to sconces.
- Brass: Brass is composed of copper and zinc, offering a telltale bright and shiny gold-like appearance. This popular choice is strong, durable, and lightweight. Since it involves copper in its composition, it is similarly malleable and can be used for a wide range of decorative purposes, such as stamping. Use it for small decorative fixtures and trims for its exquisite appearance.
- Bronze: Bronze consists of copper, tin, and other metals and has a distinctive metallic brown appearance. Bronze is stronger than copper, and it also resists corrosion better. Use it to add remarkable touches to small panels.
- Copper: Popular for its initial metallic reddish-brown beauty, copper provides an unmatched elegance for any building. It lasts hundreds of years in some cases and eventually oxidizes to a solid bright green. It’s incredibly strong, weatherproof, and corrosion-resistant. Additionally, it is a soft and malleable metal, such that it can take on nearly any design you wish. You can use copper for large showcases, such as wall panels, roof tiles, doors, gates, and window frames. However, this stunning metal is ideal for delicate finials, fixtures, trims, and other decorative items.
- Galvanized steel is made by wrapping steel or iron in a protective zinc exterior. Thus, galvanized steel gives off a luminous, metallic surface that reflects and plays with the light.
- Stainless Steel: Stainless steel is a more contemporary sought-after material, reflecting a classic, modern and clean aesthetic. Since it is an alloy of chromium, nickel, iron, and other metals, it is very strong. Choose stainless steel for high-quality exterior decoration, such as window grills and door panels.
- Zinc: Zinc has magnificent artistic appeal as it provides a luminous, bluish-white surface. Incorporate this reliable, durable material for roof coverings and wall claddings.
Aesthetic decisions regarding the design of various buildings also include the processes the metal goes through before being cut or stamped. These operations transform different metals in various ways:
- Hot rolled steel involves heating steel to an extremely high temperature and subsequently shaping it. Although it is an easy process, it does not have the degree of precision of cold rolling since the steel will shrink as it cools.
- Cold rolled steel changes steel into a thin sheet that is extremely strong. Then, it’s washed and treated. The result is a smooth and malleable steel that can be shaped into any pattern easily.
The Beauty of Stamped, Decorative and Ornamental Sheet Metal
Architectural sheet metal can be designed and employed in a variety of ways — intriguing details, eloquent and beautiful accents, full and breathtaking panels, or in intricate and delicate fixtures. There are four main advantages of choosing decorative sheet metal to embellish an interior space or exterior surface:
- Eye-Catching: Ornamental sheet metal inspires astonishing visuals which vary depending on the preferred type of metal, placement, design, and style. Historical and contemporary employment have notably included sheet metal roof tiles, domes, steeples, cupolas, roof finials, statues, leaders and leader heads, urns, balustrades, and trims.
- Durable: Sheet metal is well-known for its ability to resist many different types of weather conditions and elements. It is treated with anti-corrosion and UV-resistant chemicals, making it perfect for outdoor projects.
- Versatile: There are many different types of sheet metal you can incorporate into building styles. Traditionally, sheet metal copper and sheet metal brass decorated areas such as roofs to trims. Contemporary materials include stainless steel, aluminum and zinc. The choice of material will play the main role in how precise the shapes and cuts will be. It will additionally alter the colour and finish of the project.
- Compatible: Sheet metal accommodates both traditional and modern styles. Likewise, it can be used to restore old work, or incorporate similar architectural elements into aged buildings.
Decorative sheet metal is not only aesthetically pleasing but it also provides incredible functionality. So, it can be incorporated into the architectural design with intention, as follows:
- Sound Absorption: Architectural sheet metal can be designed and installed in such a way that it provides a sound barrier between high traffic areas and interior spaces. Applications include placing perforated metal panels between walls or ceilings and constructing installations along exterior walls or as free-standing walls.
- Privacy: Flattened expanded metal or perforated metal can be used in lieu of solid doors, gates, or windows. Maintain privacy and security without compromising light flow!
- Reflection: Stainless steel, galvanized steel, and zinc are naturally reflective, making them ideal for canopies, handrails, doorknobs, fences, and gates.
- Drainage: Flattened, expanded metal or perforated metal provides decorative spaces for rainwater to flow through without compromising the practicality of items such as benches or stairs.
- Practical Use: Architectural sheet metal is excellent for practical uses such as lighting fixtures, door knockers or knobs, stairs, chairs, and benches.
- Historical Preservation: Decorative sheet metal restores, renews, or recreates historical additions to buildings, structures, fixtures or sculptures.
Types of Architectural Projects where Sheet Metal Is a Good Choice
Artisans carefully craft decorative sheet metals into various constructions, shapes, figures, or stamps. In general, sheet metal can be cut in precise patterns to achieve a specific look or construction. You can also use perforated or corrugated sheet metal in different colours and styles to design the effects you want. Although custom sheet metal fabrication is always possible, there are many general projects that sheet metal can be involved in:
- Dividers and Walls: Metal sheets are installed directly on exterior or interior walls to achieve different looks and styles. It beautifies the space and creates a final custom look based on its colour, finish, and reflective properties. Many dividers or walls also have perforated designs or corrugation to add to the functionality and elevate the space.
- Columns: Sheet metal can be used to cover columns in intriguing ways. First, you can use them to seamlessly cover a circular, cubical, rectangular, crescent, or hexagonal column. Second, they can be perforated to let light shine through to a beautiful effect.
- Doors and Windows: An open-concept door or window uses perforated or flattened expanded metal to provide privacy while letting natural light through. Decorative sheet metal can also provide a stamped or corrugated style for a solid door or window shutters.
- Fences and Gates: Fences and gates are functional assets on many properties. By using perforated sheet metal rather than the typical metal rods, you can achieve elegant curb appeal. When employing sheet metal in fences and gates, sound absorption and privacy are added perks.
- Roofs, Cupolas, Domes, Steeples: Large undertakings involving sheet metal call attention and admiration to structure. Typical architectural projects include roofs, cupolas, domes, and steeples.
Showcase of Heather & Little's Sheet Metal Project Gallery
Be sure to visit our online sheet metal project gallery to see the diverse projects we have completed for clients over the years. From refurbishing aircrafts to restoring delicate items, Heather & Little Ltd. has earned a sterling reputation for having a Midas touch when it comes to ornamental sheet metal.
For example, Cree more Springs Brewery trusted our team to restore an original brew kettle to its original copper sheen. We repurposed the brew kettle with a custom-designed video monitor for use at the business.
The World Peace Monument in Toronto is a stunning testament to a perfect idea. So, you can imagine how excited we were when we received a commission to restore the metal statue. Our metalworkers first created a spherical brass frame to support the globe. We then created a copper skin to renew the look of this national treasure.
These are just two examples of our custom sheet metal work.
At Heather & Little Ltd, our team specializes in creating decorative sheet metal for a wide range of architectural projects. Our artisans bring your vision to life, with our high-quality sheet metal materials, flawless design execution, and precise cuts and stamps. We will carefully craft and construct sheet metal to exceed your expectations.
Our team can recreate or restore historical architecture, ranging from cathedral domes to government buildings. Skilled and experienced in a wide range of materials, our pros retain the original historical materials, such as brass, bronze, copper, or gold when performing reconstructions. We also maintain the integrity and intention of the initial work.
Further, Heather & Little Ltd is at the forefront of metal fabrication companies for contemporary materials and design. We have extensive knowledge in construction of unique, modern designs from new materials. Aluminum, galvanized steel, tin, or zinc are all exceptional choices for creating strong, lightweight fabrications that hold up to various conditions.
Interested to know more? Have questions about sheet metal for architectural purposes? Feel free to contact us online or call us toll free at 1.866.674.3153