Zinc Shelf – What You Must Know Before Buying Them

Shelves and countertops made form metal have been in rave for quite some time. Of the different materials available, zinc is a popular choice for residential as well as commercial needs. They offer many benefits, but before you invest in them, here are a couple of things to know, so that you can decide if they’re really suited for your needs.

Zinc shelves have a changing appearance

The shelf that you install in your kitchen or prep room does not look the same always. The metal reacts with the different substances that it comes in contact with, lending a different appearance every time. Also, the location in which it is placed has a role to play in the appearance of the zinc shelf. One that is installed in an outdoor kitchen near an ocean will look way different from a shelf that is installed in a climate-controlled, heavily used restaurant bar.  In a typical residential kitchen, spots appear within the first few weeks of use. Eventually, these spots overlap to form a mottled charcoal look. Furthermore, this changes from one kitchen to another depending on the frequency of cleaning, minerals in the water, and type of use. In a commercial restaurant or bar, which is prone to heavier use and more frequent cleaning, the zinc shelves look like they’ve been in there for ages, even when used for a week or two. These shelves, when used in an outdoor area like near an ocean, react with the salty air to develop a white, oxidized coating on their surface. The coating gets wiped away easily with heavy use and frequent cleaning in hospitality settings. When used in drier air, such as in a rocky outdoor mountain bar, the zinc surface ages with class and natural beauty. Whatever the location be, zinc shelves feature a dynamic finish that is ever changing.

The metal can incorporate varied finishes

The surface of the metal can be finished in different ways to suit different aesthetics. Popular among these are the Non-Directional Matte finish, Dark Patina, and Aged Mottled Patina. The Non-Directional Matte finish is the most popular kind as it allows the metal to adapt to its environment quickly, and react once in use. Many zinc shelves can also be designed with patinas and colors as per user requirements. The finish thus developed in an additional step that mimics what happens naturally. However, even after patination or coloring, the metal continues to react to its environment to present a unique look every time.

Zinc shelves are safe to use

Zinc is a naturally occurring element, which is critical to human health. It can be found in many foods and multivitamins, and is generally safe and non-toxic, unless consumed in high doses. Zinc is generally a good choice of long-lasting surface material in home or hospitality projects. When used in shelves, the may be prone to scratches or marring, which usually remains unnoticeable. Though Zinc is safe for use, it is ideal to choose a different surface material for food preparation or food storage needs. This keeps the shelf in good condition for longer, and is better in daily use.

A little care goes a long way

Zinc is a reactive metal by nature, and anything from finger prints to acidic liquids, or even cleaning agents can leave spots in its surface. A fully clean zinc shelf can show spots and form a patina, which changes with time. Polishing helps remove such spots, but they re-appear with time and use. So, it is best recommended to let the shelf develop a natural patina based on its use, and opt for cleaning techniques that are suited to your household or business. A soft cloth and mild soap are recommended for daily cleaning. Scrubs or abrasive sponges may be used occasionally. It is best to avoid using cleaners that contain ammonia, bleach or citric acid. Spray cleaners and commercial soaps may darken the zinc surface, so they need to be tested before use. Unsightly spots can be removed with metal polishes, but it is not recommended to maintain a polished surface when using zinc shelves, as this can be tricky to do on a daily basis.