What’s the difference: part 1 of 3

Cliffside’s customer service representatives field hundreds of questions a day. We’ve compiled a list of some of the most common, and an overwhelming majority related to comparisons of Cliffside’s finishes. In this three-part series, we’ll examine some of the finishes that Cliffside offers as part of its signature line and clarify the similarities and differences between them.

What’s the difference between…

…polished chrome and polished nickel?

Cliffside’s polished chrome, or PC, finish is similar to the color of chrome you would find on a car. It’s a classic finish with a variety of uses, from traditional to contemporary. It has a high-polish lacquer on it to maintain that timeless reflective shine.

Polished nickel (PN) is also a high-polish gray finish, like PC. However, the major difference comes from the color tone. Where polished chrome tends slightly more toward colder, bluer tones, polished nickel is more warm and yellow-hued. Designers who have compared the two say that the polished nickel is slightly darker.

Below, you can compare the finishes for yourself on a solid brass knob:

161 knob, shown in PC (left) and PN (right)

Polished chrome is also available on zinc die-cast hardware; with a different base material, PC looks nearly identical. Polished nickel is a premium finish only available on solid brass hardware.

…polished nickel and silver satin?

Above, you can see that polished nickel has a high-gloss lacquer. Silver satin, or SS, also has a lacquer, but it is a clear lacquer with much less sheen. The color of “silver satin” is actually a brushed nickel finish, and is comparable to much of the brushed stainless steel that you will find on the market today.

Silver satin and polished nickel (along with polished chrome, above) are part of Cliffside’s ten signature finishes, which means that they are available on all of the pieces shown in the Cliffside solid brass hardware suites. When viewed next to one another, you can see that SS is merely a brushed version of PN.

See the similarities below:

K341 cup pull, shown in PN (above) and SS (below)
K341 cup pull, shown in PN (above) and SS (below)

…silver satin, brushed nickel, and stainless steel?

These three finishes are all very similar in the Cliffside line. Silver satin is available on both solid brass and zinc die-cast hardware. It is similar to brushed nickel, but items like K-514 will be slightly different due to their underlying material and finish process. All Cliffside stainless steel is brushed, not polished, so its color tone is also very like the SS.

Compare the three side-by-side:

At left: solid brass items #100 and #SP-3; center, zinc die-cast items #K-514 and #P-195; at right, stainless steel items #T565-30 and T366-96
At left: solid brass items #100 and #SP-3; center: zinc die-cast items #K-514 and #P-195; at right: stainless steel items #T565-30 and #T366-96

Top five design trends

As you recover from your holiday indulgences, we’re presenting a lighter version of our earlier top ten lists. This list was compiled from research into our own products and other industry publications as a guide to what is driving kitchen and bath designers right now. No leftovers here! For your Thanksgiving pleasure, it’s Cliffside’s top five design trends!

Antique iron Sedona hardware

1. Antique colors/finishes

In examining our data, one of the most prevalent trends we noticed industry-wide was the use of antique colors, styles, and finishes. Cliffside provides ample opportunity to participate in this trend; some examples are the old antique, flat black, iron, oil-rubbed bronze, and old copper finishes, and the new Venetian bronze. The Sedona line, pictured here and in the header image above, is also a prime example of this “distressing” fad. Out of Cliffside’s top ten finishes, five are associated with this trend, proving that some things just do get better with age!

Brushed nickel hardware

2. Brushed finishes

A second trend that is popular throughout the kitchen and bath design world is the use of satin and brushed finishes. Cliffside offers many products in our most popular finish, silver satin, as well as brushed nickel, which matches SS very closely, and the naturally brushed stainless steel. On our solid brass knobs and pulls, the antique brass finish also sports a brushed look. The new Venetian bronze, as mentioned above, is a hybrid of antique and brushed, showing copper details hidden underneath its dark facade. As our top-selling finish, silver satin proves that sometimes, being popular really is the way to go!

One of Cliffside's crystal knobs

3. Elegant hardware

Some of the most elegant pieces that Cliffside offers are genuine lead crystal knobs. Though the crystal is crafted in Europe, the pieces are proudly assembled in the United States and ship direct from our supplier to your front door. These classic pieces lend an elegant tone to any kitchen or bathroom! We also offer marble hardware to coordinate with stone countertops, both in stock items and special order. For a formal look, designers can also explore our lines of solid brass hardware, which will be expanding early next year.

Stainless steel hardware

4. Contemporary colors

The classic contemporary colors are a staple of our line and are popular throughout the industry, and we have recently added to these finishes. The brushed tones of silver satin, brushed nickel, brushed black nickel and stainless steel mingle with the silvery gloss of polished chrome, nickel chrome, and polished nickel to create modern stylings that are truly dazzling. In addition, we have ball tip hinges to coordinate with our contemporary hardware. Though Cliffside is a “distributor of traditional hardware,” no one can ever say that we don’t keep up with the times!

Got turtles?

5. Novelty hardware

Full of fun and whimsy? Maybe you are the right kind of person to try out our novelty hardware! We have hardware that is appropriate for certain regions of the country, such as maritime hardware for a beach house, or a moose knob for a house in the Upper Midwest or Alaska! We also have knobs and pulls to appeal to the hobbyist, including golf bags, music notes, and cacti.

That’s it for this holiday edition of the Cliffside Industries blog. Be sure to tune in next Tuesday for our next great entry, and visit our website this weekend!

Can you be allergic to nickel?

Nickel (Ni) is a silvery-white metal that can be found in nature. It is usually mixed with other metals to produce alloys. For example, nickel-iron, which is used to manufacture stainless steel, is the most common nickel alloy. Other nickel alloys are used to make coins, costume jewelry, zippers, buttons, eyeglass frames, pens etc. Nickel is found in many common, everyday items.

Nickel allergy is a contact allergy, which is an allergic skin reaction in response to being exposed to a contact allergen or irritant, such as nickel. A nickel allergy can occur at any age, and typically manifests a few days after first contact as eczema (allergic contact dermatitis), which appears as an itchy, dry/crusty, and red/pigmented skin rash with watery blisters.

Additionally, nickel is used as a primary chemical throughout the plating process used by Cliffside’s supplier to color and finish the hardware. For customers with allergies to nickel, the following finishes in our catalog should be safe, using these finish codes: