Brass Doorstep Covers
Our brass doorstep covers prevent paint from wearing out on doorsteps and add a touch of elegance to your entryway.
We can measure up, manufacture, and install your brass doorstep covers in Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch. Elsewhere, or if you wish to save on overall cost, send us a profile template of your doorstep and we will freight it to you, ready for installation. Contact Marcus to book an on-site templating service or for instructions on how you too can create a template for your fantastic new doorstep cover!
Are they all bespoke-made, or is there a “one-size fits all” option?
Doorsteps are unique, so each of our doorstep covers is individually crafted.
What’s the process for getting a brass doorstep installed?
Design/Measure up, manufacture and install. For an initial, contactless quote and design advice, please email us a photo or two of your doorstep with the door open, advise the width across the door, and across the front elevation of the step. We will contact you to discuss options for profile coverage, fit and finish treatments, and other features, and arrange to come and measure up.
What are the costs associated with each stage?
Contactless quotes and design advice is free. On-site templating is chargeable at our standard labour rate of $95.00 plus GST per hour (or part thereof, first hour) and a vehicle fee, typically $30.00 plus GST (location dependent). This is payable upon acceptance or by default 14 days after the site visit. The step cover itself and finish processes, shipping etc are set prices, the first 50% of these being due on acceptance. The balance of these fees, plus final labour, vehicle, and sundries to install are due on completion. Terms of Trade are stipulated on invoices.
Do you work across the whole of New Zealand?
Primarily we service Auckland, Wellington, and the lower North Island. We can generally book a measure up in these centers within a fortnight. We are also available at intervals in Christchurch. For those outside these areas, we can provide a supply-only solution, subject to terms.
Can I make my own template, and/or install the step myself or with the services of a third party?
Yes. Subject to terms, this is a good option for DIY-capable customers or those with access to tradespersons. Written guidelines for templating and a video tutorial are available on request. Templates can be mailed to us or sent digitally.
How long does it take from start to finish?
A plain brass doorstep can usually be supplied in around a month. If exotic finishes, patinas, lacquers etc are specified, the lead time can be 10 weeks or more.
How much are they?
Cost depends on the profile and width, but for a typical, bullnosed villa step cover, like the one shown, at around 880mm across, budget for around $450.00 - $500.00 plus GST. This is the item-only price, in plain brass, and excludes the measure up, installation, and sundry costs, as above. Steps wider than 1.0m are more expensive.
How thick is the brass, what is the polish level and where does it come from?
Our standard material is 1.2mm, mill-finish brass. This is a bright finish brass though not highly polished; mirror finish brass can be specified but generally is not recommended unless indoors, as it will tarnish outside. The brass is sourced from Italy. High polished brass transits from Italy via England.
Can they be supplied in metals other than brass?
Yes, whilst brass is the classic treatment, we have made many in stainless steel, copper, and even aluminum. Stainless steel has the benefit of being extremely durable and is commonly specified in brushed finish. It’s a great choice for a more modern home or if the entry is subject to heavy traffic, luggage, pets etc. For those who prefer a more subtle silver look – perhaps to tie in with surrounding hardware – we recommend nickel-plated brass. Copper is favoured by some, but being a softer metal, we specify a minimum 1.5mm gauge, which makes it a little more expensive. Aluminum is mostly used in industrial or marine settings and can be supplied in chequer plate or brushed finishes.
Are they a good option for a commercial entry, such as a hotel, retail space, or other public building?
Yes – we have observed brass doorsteps on heritage buildings including several shops on Parnell Rd, Auckland; the Old Bank Building in Wellington with its patterned brass footplates and tile bars; and the Christchurch Club. In these settings, they appear to be performing well. However, where retrofitting a public entrance we would encourage the use of a non-slip brass extrusion in conjunction with any plain brass elements; brass door mat surrounds or inserts are also a welcome treatment.
Is brass a good surface for cleanliness/hygiene?
Very. Brass is a known anti-microbial and was used by manufacturers of touch-free door openers and button pushers, across the Covid-19 pandemic. It is often used in healthcare facilities for the same reason on handles, push plates, and railings.
Should I have it covering the width of the door, or wider than, or narrower than?
This is mostly an aesthetic decision, in the case of classic villa doors with sidelights/side panels, the threshold can be close to 2.0m across, with the door around 900mm across. Where the door can be appreciated from the street or an approach path, the wide treatment can make a grand statement, underlining the beauty of the entryway. Door width, or slightly narrower is a more practical, and economical solution.
I’m thinking of painting my door and entryway What colour schemes go well with brass?
Black, French grey, navy blue, and even red doors can go well with brass, as well as neutral tones such as beige white and brown.
How are they fastened down?
We recommend glued fitment. We use an outdoor, construction-rated urethane adhesive that expands on curing to help fill any irregularities in the step face. This gives a strong, permanent fitment that can help to consolidate the step. Countersunk screwed fitment is sometimes used, this has the advantage of allowing the cover to be removed for restoration or re-lacquering.
I have wear or damage to my step, will this make it harder to install?
Invariably a period villa or bungalow – except those with complete replacement door joinery – will have worn into a non-geometric shape, through decades of access. Generally, the older the home the more pronounced the wear. In these cases, some prior planning/mortising of the step may be required to enable a good fitment. We can perform this for you.
I have an existing step cover that is dented or tarnished. Can we restore it?
Depending on the condition and thickness of the metal, this may be an option. However, such steps are typically beyond economic repair.
How long do they take to install? Will I need to shorten my door?
The simplest step covers on equivalent new thresholds can be installed in as little as one hour. Villa or bungalow steps can take up to several hours due to joinery needing to be adjusted or mortised. Full-width steps are set into a slot cut beneath the joinery and can take longer again. Factors such as clearance needing to be increased for the door – either by shortening the leaf, or mortising-in the threshold can increase labour. In some cases, we plane the steps in flush with the doorstep; these take the longest as they must be chiseled by hand at their periphery. We can provide these services.
How do I maintain them?
For plain brass, we recommend rubbing with a "Between Coats Finishing Pad" (like a fine scotchbrite) and a sanding block with a little water until tarnish marks are removed. Dry off and follow up with Autosol® on a microfiber cloth; then use a clean cloth to buff off. Brass is a living product and by practicing the above over time, you will cultivate a nice antique patina. The best approach is a little and often. Waxed only applied patina brass will need the wax replaced at intervals. Lacquered patina’d steps should simply be wiped with a neutral soap solution.
I want the brass to look shiny and “goldy” without any maintenance. Is this possible?
No. Sadly there is, as yet, no such magic bullet invented, save perhaps for gold plating. Brass is a living product and has an affinity for oxygen and even a microscopic pore in an applied lacquer will exacerbate breakdown of the surface in that area. Steps can be kept reasonably bright by maintaining as above, though most customers are content for a more mellow, antique look to evolve. We do offer lacquer on our applied patina brass steps, as the surface is more stable and the process enables better product adhesion to the substrate.
Should I go for a pre-patina and lacquer finish, or stick with a plain finish and let it age naturally?
(See the gallery of patina’d images)…. Pre-patination enables a particular shade of bronze/brown/dark gold to be supplied; if you wish to have the aged look from day one, or to approximate a finish match with existing door furniture. By electing lacquer also it makes the product easier to look after and provides a consistent appearance. Like any protective coating, it will eventually breakdown due to exposure to UV, mechanical wear etc. At such time the step can be reverted to living finish (natural patina) or restored and re-lacquered.
Are they slippery?
Entry thresholds have been sheathed in brass since villas were first built and continue to be added or replaced. This would suggest that they are safe. We haven’t had any feedback from customers to suggest they’re slippery. If you have a busy doorway, we recommend using a non-slip Italian extrusion, which can be built up in modular fashion, or in conjunction with plain brass sheet.
I have French doors or other double doors, or sliding or bifold doors with a built-in metal channel. can you make them to suit?
Yes, the maximum unbroken run is 2.0m; wider steps can be made but they need to be lapped or welded construction; where welded they must be applied patina’d. The detail to work a solution for such doors can require a considerable budget.
I have an unusual door sill, such as a curved or turret step. Can you make a step to suit?
Yes. We have made a radiused step in stainless steel for a circular conservatory.
Do you make or install any other brass products to enhance the entryway?
Yes. For example: Raven weatherseals; kick plates, push plates, doormat surrounds, doormat divider bars, stair riser cover plates, dog scratch plates, full height stile covers, door lock reinforcement plates, covers to reinforce split joinery or other hardware points. We can also restore letter flaps, door knockers, lock escutcheons, handles, curtain rail brackets; window stays; and design and install brass plates for features or cladding on fire hearths, doorway joinery such as sliding or barn door surrounds.
What are some other brass pieces that might add to my entryway, or tie in with the brass look?
Umbrella stands, bootscrapers, lighting sconces, doormat surrounds, carpet or tile edge dividers, nosing caps for deck or approach steps, brass switch plates or surrounds; brass hat and coat hooks or stands. The list is endless!