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A156.18 - 2020 Materials and Finishes

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American National Standard for Materials and Finishes

BHMA has created this series of Hardware Highlights to provide useful, accessible information about builders hardware for architects, specifiers, builders, building code officials – anyone with an interest in the devices that hang, control, secure, and trim the doors. For further information about architectural materials and finishes, consult the full standard, ANSI/BHMA A156.18 for Materials and Finishes.

BHMA has created this series of Hardware Highlights to provide useful, accessible information about builders hardware for anyone with an interest in devices that hang, control, secure, and trim the doors. BHMA is the trade association which represents almost all of the North American manufacturers of builders hardware. One of its main activities since 1983 has been the development and maintenance of ANSI-approved standards for 35 separate product categories.

Product Performance: Purchasers of Builders Hardware with finishes certified to A156.18 ( can be assured products will perform to their expectations.

Below are an explanation and some examples of the evaluations conducted for certification:


Nearly every type of Builders Hardware is evaluated to the salt spray test described in the Standard. The test method and failure criteria (lack of corrosion, staining, blistering), are described in detail.


A combination of tests including pencil hardness, abrasion and perspiration resistance are offered to provide assurance that the surface will hold up to handling during the operation of the hardware.


Finishes need to be formulated to resist degradation over time from exposure to light; Visual failure modes are any chipping, flaking, cracking, color loss, or change (from clear to white, yellow or brownish); .


Useful to designers, specifiers and other users, just about every possible combination of architectural finish and substrate is assigned a BHMA Code Number such as 605 for clear coated bright brass (formerly US3)

Finish Terminology: The standard contains a full set of definitions for applicable finishing terms, such as:

  • Relieved - To set off by contrast through the partial removal of finish, creating a brushed, satin or antique effect.

  • Satin - A smooth dull finish with or without a directional pattern


Locksets contribute to building sustainability through their verified durability, as well as material characteristics such as recycled content and recyclability. Long lasting architectural finishes reduce the need to replace assemblies and components. BHMA has developed Product Category Rules, which will further define sustainability requirements and guide life cycle assessments and environmental performance declarations.

ANSI/BHMA A156.18 provides comprehensive tables with the finish code numbers, descriptions and equivalent finishes such as those shown below:

BHMA Code Number Finish Description Base Material Category Nearest Former US Equivalent
605 Bright Brass, clear coated Bronze A US3
612 Satin bronze, clear coated Brass A US10
618 Bright nickel plated, clear coated Brass, Bronze A US14
625 Bright chromium plated over nickel Brass, Bronze A US26
620 Satin nickel plated, blackened, satin relieved, clear coated Brass, Bronze C US15A

This document is not a substitute for the full standard. Refer to the entire standard for full information.

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Participate in the BHMA® Certification Program by voluntarily submitting a hardware product to independent laboratory testing to confirm that it fully meets the criteria of the appropriate ANSI/BHMA® standard.  This industry-wide certification program does not call for a manufacturer to be a BHMA® member in order to certify its products.

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