What You Need To Know About Unlacquered Brass Faucet

Find out what to look for when purchasing an unlacquered brass kitchen faucet (also known as a living finish or raw brass), where to shop for one, and what to expect as the faucet ages.

If you are looking for a touch of old world class, then this faucet is for you. Made from solid brass, the Unlacquered Brass Faucet is a timeless classic. Here are my favorite tips and tricks for that charming aged brass finish you’re looking for.

We remodeled our kitchen several years ago, and I knew right away that unlacquered brass was my favorite material. Something about that patina appeals to me… it lends a sense of warmth and elegance to any space.

It’s no secret I’m a big fan of brass in my home. Read on to learn where they can be found and how to care for them!

What You Need To Know About Unlacquered Brass Faucet

unlacquered brass faucet living finish

Unlacquered brass (also known as raw brass or uncoated brass) is polished raw brass without a protective coating, so as it ages, the color darkens and develops a patina.

This is often used for lighting, door knobs, cabinets, faucets, etc. Each piece ages unevenly due to use, exposure to water, elements, etc. Door and cabinet knobs that are frequently used will darken faster than those that are hardly used.

Unlike protected brass, it gets darker with age and adds charm, warmth, and character. There is no rusting or corrosion to worry about with this material. It is often found in traditional homes. It is also being installed in more modern designs!

It’s very low maintenance, so if you like embracing imperfection (like marble countertops), unlacquered brass is a great choice. On an uncoated brass faucet, spots blend in with the patina, unlike polished brass faucets that need to be cleaned frequently!

Unlacquered Brass Kitchen Faucet with Sprayer

The process of designing our new kitchen required us to make a few compromises along the way. We had to compromise with our purchase of an unlacquered brass kitchen faucet.

There were many characteristics that I liked about the side spray, and it was significantly less expensive than other options. The sprayer is more important than anything else! We considered doing without the side sprayer, but I’m so glad we didn’t.

In our farmhouse sink, it’s almost a necessity to let bits of food go down the drain. It makes cleaning the sink much easier. It is so valuable that I am convinced we could not live without it!

Why Choose a Living Finish Faucet?

unlacquered brass faucet

One of the hardest decisions to make is to choose something you’ll love as much in ten or twenty years as you do now.

A faucet like this needs to feel special! Since my style is minimalistic and simple, I wanted the faucet to be the star of our kitchen.

Unlacquered Brass has no comparison in my opinion. It’s timeless and ages gracefully, as well as being impossible to replicate in a less expensive format. Simply put, it’s unique!

Is it possible to be in love with a faucet? My favorite features are the delicate knobs that mimic those on our nearby range.

I also like the living finish that allows us to choose whether we want the brass to age gracefully or polish it back to its original appearance.

Check out our farmhouse sink and I’ll share all the secrets to finding your own!

What to Look for When Buying an Unlacquered Brass Faucet

It can be challenging to find true unlacquered brass. This is a long-term investment for your kitchens or bathrooms, so you’ll want something that will stand the test of time.

Here are some tips to help you choose your unlacquered brass faucet:

  • Make an effort to visit show rooms where high-end kitchens are displayed. Seeing it in person can give you a better idea of scale, shape, and details that photos might miss.

  • Request a sample whenever possible. Brass has become such a popular finish in home design that some manufacturers have created imitation finishes that are certainly not true brass.

  • Allow plenty of time for delivery. Most of these high-end kitchen fittings are custom-made and can take a long time to arrive. If you need to renovate your kitchen, plan ahead!

  • Real unlacquered brass really lasts. You don’t want to regret your decision by choosing a “trendy” style down the road if you invest in a brass kitchen faucet like this. Consider historical kitchens when choosing a style that will stand the test of time!

One of My Favorite Unlacquered Brass Faucet​

Kohler K-14406-3-2MB Purist Bathroom Sink Faucet

Kohler K-14406-3-2MB Purist Bathroom Sink Faucet


It is technically a bathroom faucet, but it could also be used in a kitchen. It has a Vibrant Moderne Brushed Gold PVD finish with vintage-inspired cross handles with a sleek and modern shape,

How do you care for unlacquered brass faucets?

In general, dish soap and water can remove debris from food or smudges from dirty hands, and a soft cloth like microfiber will polish it. But acidic kitchen substances, like lemons or tomatoes, or bathroom staples, like toothpaste, can speed up tarnishing.

To keep your faucetry looking its best in these instances, you will need brass polish (rub on a soft cloth, wipe in an upward motion, rinse with water, and dry). “Brass will change eventually, no matter what you do, but you can keep it looking like the day you bought it [for longer] if you polish it frequently,”

When it comes to brass polish, there is one thing to keep in mind, however: Some formulas are corrosive to some countertop surfaces, like marble or wood. Be careful not to overdo it, especially around the escutcheons that join the faucet to the countertop.

For the most part, Sallick doesn’t recommend homemade mixtures, as they are frequently abrasive and scratch the finish. Depending on how much patina you want, unlacquered brass kitchen faucets can be polished every few months or twice a year.

If your brass faucet tarnishes more quickly than you’d like, you can also consider sealing the surfaces with carnauba wax (and reapplying once it wears off). If properly cared for, brass should last a lifetime.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is unlacquered brass likely to patina quickly?

It takes about a year to begin to see the patina. The patina is probably the darkest after two years.

Does unlacquered brass age?

Certainly! Brass develops the perfect patina with age, which adds so much beauty and warmth to any home.

Is vinegar harmful to brass that is not coated?

Vinegar is safe to use on brass that isn’t coated.

Can you age brass?

Yes! If your brass isn’t coated, you can patina it with vinegar and salt or a brass ager.

What’s the difference between lacquered and unlacquered brass?

Lacquered brass is finished with a clear coating to prevent tarnish, while unlacquered brass (an alloy of copper and zinc) is left exposed to the elements. Sallick explains that unlacquered brass takes on color over time, and it’s a living finish that evolves over time.

On the other hand, lacquered brass will remain brighter, shinier, and more yellow-toned over the course of its lifetime.Unlacquered Brass as it Ages

The raw brass finish is also called a living finish or uncoated brass. It’s brass that has been stripped of its protective lacquer. It means it changes as it ages, and you can choose to polish it frequently or enjoy its patina over time.

Unlacquered brass faucets have a natural patina that is preferred to frequent polishing. I have observed that oxidation occurs fairly quickly.

How to Polish?

The best way to achieve polished brass is to install polished brass. However, patinated brass can be polished back to its original condition.

Acidic foods such as tomatoes, citrus juice, toothpaste, etc. will tarnish brass – often unevenly. Powder brass polish or a soft cleanser can rejuvenate the finish in just minutes. Make sure to protect surrounding surfaces, especially marble.

Leave a Reply