Most patio door hardware with a bright brass finish will stand up to many of the rigors of time, but eventually will tarnish as any brass metals will do over time. This does not mean that you will need to replace it, especially because brass hardware is very expensive. Refinishing your hardware is the cost-effective and easy way to give new life to your door hardware.
Like any good do-it-yourself project, your first step should be to gather your supplies. For this job, you will need the following:
Tarnished brass hardware
2 3-gallon buckets
A good polyurethane stripper like Klean-Strip
A clear polyurethane coat (either spray or dip).
Brasso or your favorite brass polish
Lint-free cloth, or polish sponge
The first step in refinishing your patio door hardware is to strip the previous polyurethane clear coat off of the hardware. This is a thin layer that helps prevent tarnish/discoloration from occurring, and will often last for several years, but in the right weather, your hardware can begin to tarnish much sooner than that. This process involves dipping and soaking your hardware in a combination of water and your polyurethane stripper. Some clear-coat removers are not meant to be diluted, so read the instructions thoroughly before using them.
Allow your brass hardware to dry, or dry it with a lint-free cloth depending on the manufacturer’s instructions for your stripping agent. Now you need to polish your hardware with Brasso, or which ever brass polish you wish to use. After you have finished polishing your hardware, make sure to buff it thoroughly with a lint-free cloth until you get a bright shine on your hardware. Remember, this is the finish that you will see for years, so make sure it is just right!
Whether you use a clear-coat spray or a dipping medium, make sure to follow the directions, and not allow the clear-coat to drip so the end of your handle does not have a permanent ‘drop’ on it. Following the instructions on your coating medium, and allow ample time to dry in the conditions specified on the manufacturer’s instructions. I would suggest leaving it to dry for longer than recommended to account for humidity or other differences in climate.
Reinstall your new, bright brass hardware on your doors and windows, and enjoy it for years to come with the knowledge that you did not have to purchase replacement hardware.