Chrome-plated Fittings: Advantages and Disadvantages

For a long time it was chic to have chrome-plated fittings in your kitchen and bathroom: they lent a shine and were carefully polished and maintained.

This was made possible by a technology developed by Erik Liebreich in 1920: the chrome bath or chromium electroplating. By means of a chemical reaction, copper, nickel or plastic objects are coated with a thin chromium layer.

Erik Liebreich
Erik Liebreich
Advantages:
Chrome has a nice shine, it's impervious to scratches and protects against corrosion – provided that the layer is thick enough and has been professionally applied.
corrosion-resistant chrome
Water on gleaming chrome
Disadvantages:
  • If the chrome surface is insufficiently polished or rough (not visible to the naked eye), the water doesn't drip off it very well, forming limescale. When this is scoured off, cracks can ensue – especially on cheap products that have only been coated with a thin layer or where a poorly adhering plastic forms the base. The result: the chrome cracks and/or peels off. So corrosion protection is compromised, and rust may form... learn more about watersavers
    Chrome plating itself is a chemical process that can greatly harm workers and the environment: the foaming bath produces bubbles. When these burst, chromium trioxide escapes, which is highly carcinogenic. In Switzerland, strict regulations are in place governing how baths are evacuated and how the emergence of hazardous chromium aerosols is to be prevented using a foam blanket. Additional regulations govern how the acids used for electroplating plus lead alloys are disposed of in an environmentally friendly manner.
  • Swiss suppliers have invested a lot in recent years to ensure compliance with these regulations – something which however has made the process more expensive. That is why many European-produced fittings are now shipped to China or other distant locations – to be chrome plated and returned: There are less stringent requirements in some of these countries, and items can be processed more cheaply – notwithstanding the costs to workers and the environment, as this article shows.
Chromium Trioxide
Chromium Trioxide
AquaClic Maintenance:
We are fundamentally of the view that today there are high-quality alternatives to chrome.

Our stainless steel products (AquaClic Inox for faucet, “Elégance” designer shower head, “Publique” wall shower), are scratch resistant, (corrosion proof) because they are uncoated and low-maintenance: a microfiber cloth with no cleaning agent is usually enough!

Water drips off stainless steel
Water drips off the stainless steel Publique wall shower
Shower head
If you would still like a chrome-plated shower head, you will find high-quality models at AquaClic, which have been produced according to Swiss environmental and quality standards: high-gloss chrome or glazed. And UNDER the chrome plating, you won't find any cheap plastics, but high quality ABS: this ensures lots of enjoyable showering – and not only does it shine in your bathroom and kitchen, but it excels in environmental protection.
considerately chrome-plated Swiss shower head
AquaClic Clima, great cash checking hand shower
On faucet
When it comes to AquaClic fixtures for faucet, we avoid chrome altogether: to ensure a gleam here use our INOX models made from high-quality stainless steel.

 



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