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Garden Sculpture Care & Maintenance

Our sculptures here at the Black Country Metal Works are made from various materials. Please follow this guideline to care and maintain your garden sculpture.   A more rigorous maintenance schedule maybe required for areas with higher air pollution or in proximity to the coast.

Cast Iron

Maintenance schedule: yearly or as required.

Cast iron is one of the most timeless materials used in the creation of garden sculptures and statues. To care for cast iron, we suggest an annual re-painting in a metal-based paint of your choosing.  This can be recoated with a suitable yacht varnish yearly or as required. Left untreated iron will weather down to gain a beautifully aged patina.  This is especially true for cast iron, where most cast iron sculptures are just left untreated.

Iron is however prone to cracking if dropped or hit with force when mowing a lawn for example.

Aluminium

Maintenance schedule: yearly or bi-yearly depending on the paint finish

Aluminium requires lesser maintenance as it does not rust in the same way as iron or steel. The painted finish of aluminium, however, will still need to be refreshed on a regular basis.

During poor weather conditions, we do recommend covering you garden metalwork or bringing it inside to protect the lifespan of the paintwork. 

Copper

Maintenance schedule: NA to achieve a natural patina. Yearly varnishing to preserve a polished finish or in coastal areas.

Each sculpture has a tough layer of lacquered applied to the surface which initially protects the copper from the elements, over time, however, the lacquer will be broken down allowing the copper surface to be slowly exposed to the outside air. The copper will then go through a slow process whereby it patinas down, gradually turning a deep and rich green colour. Generally, we advise our customers to only purchase a copper sculpture if they are looking to achieve this colouration in the long term. 

Steel & Wrought Iron

Maintenance schedule: Initial yacht varnish within the first 3-12 months, thereafter yearly. To be covered during winter months. 

Steel tends to require higher levels of maintenance, generally for all untreated sculptures with an aged appearance we recommend an annual maintenance schedule of varnish or stove lacquer. For all painted sculptures we recommend a yearly fresh top coat of paint ensuring that all areas of metal work are sufficiently covered.  Hammerite provides specialist directly to rust paints which generally perform well. 

For all hand painted sculptures, we recommend a top coat of yacht varnish is applied within the first 3-12 months and then yearly as required. During winter months we also recommend hand painted sculptures are stored under cover, to ensure they are not exposed to the worst of the elements. 

Bronze

Cleaning with a clean damp cloth is always recommended regularly.

A sculpture in Bronze is naturally inclined to gradually turn verdigris or patina, this is a natural phenomenon and is something that ideally one should embrace and enjoy.

Bronze statuary, whilst used all over the world outside, we do recommend it to be placed or used indoors if you prefer to keep the original bronze finish. If outside, then a sheltered location would also be ideal, especially being sheltered from high winds.

Excessive Heat / Humidity / Wind - should be avoided.

Wooden Elements 

Maintenance schedule: Annual sanding and exterior wood varnish.   Wooden sculptures or those containing wooden elements should not be left outside during the winter months. 

We recommend all sculptures are stored undercover for the worst of the winter months. 

Metal Flower & Mushroom Maintenance

Most of our metal flower and mushroom sculptures are made from high quality stainless steel and hand-painted in a variety of colours and finishes. These sculptures have been primarily designed for indoor or sheltered outdoor locations, where they can stay clear of adverse and harsh weather conditions. Although we recommend keeping your flowers indoors for the best possible lifespan, if you did wish to place your sculpture outside, a yacht varnish should be applied at point of installation and at three-month intervals thereafter. Please note that some of our sculpture designs have been specifically designed to take on a ‘shabby chic’ appearance and will continue to weather naturally and patina over time if left to the elements.

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