Types of Metals

Types of Metals used as Interior Design and Decorating Finishes

This is always a tricky subject for female designers as unfortunately they often lack basic education in the area of metal. Boys frequently learn metal work at school, yet it is still not often offered to girls, so when it comes to understanding metals and what you can do with them, females have to work harder to get the basic knowledge before they can start thinking about how to use  it and which metal is best for the application they require. So use these few articles to get that basic education on metals and their properties so you can keep up with the boys. (Males can use these pages as a refresher!)

Types of Metals Used for Decoration

While we won’t be covering every metal type available, we will cover the most commonly used metals in buildings and interiors. We will explain their properties and define the terms used in describing metals.

Why do we as interior designers need to know this?

You need to understand the application and use that the metal can be put to and why some metals cannot be used with others.

To quote Alan Everett, in Mitchell’s Building Construction

” Metals can be defined as elements which readily form positive irons and which are characterised by their opacity and high thermal and electrical conductivity. “

To put it in layman’s terms, they are so dense that light can’t pass through them easily. They conduct (let it pass through) electricity (e.g. copper wire). They conduct heat (transfer the heat through the metal). They are usually hard. They are often mixed together by melting to form things called alloys.

The metals we use in building today all conduct heat and electricity,* are generally ductile (capable of being drawn out or hammered thin) and malleable (able to be bent or rolled) and are dense and strong.

*Note: Stainless steel bench tops are metal and are often close to electricity. It is therefore important that they are earthed.

There are two basic groups of metals as well as their alloys. They fall in to the categories of Ferrous and Non-Ferrous metals.

More Articles on Metal

next page is Ferrous Metals


Non Ferrous Metals

Types of Metal

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