Woodlawn, Ohio
10530 Chester Rd
Cincinnati, OH 45215

The Differences Between Decorative & Hard Chrome Plating October 12, 2020

Woodlawn, Woodlawn
The Differences Between Decorative & Hard Chrome Plating, Woodlawn, Ohio

Chrome plating is found on a variety of products, prized for its durability and bright finish. However, this process can also produce exceptionally hard finishes suitable for an extensive array of industrial applications, from metal shops to manufacturing plants. Below is an overview of the primary difference between decorative and hard chrome plating.

What Hard Chrome Plating Is

Both types of chrome plating are created using the same electrolytic process. First, an object is submerged in a solution of chromium that is slightly charged with an electrical current. This process deposits a smooth, even layer of chrome on even irregularly shaped parts.

Decorative vs. Hard Chrome Plating

hard chrome platingWhile both types of plating are accomplished using the same process, hard chrome plating results in a much thicker layer, which brings out different properties of the metal. Materials covered in hard chrome are much more resistant to extreme temperatures, friction, and impact damage, making them ideal for especially harsh industrial environments.

Decorative plating, by contrast, results in a thinner layer of chrome, which is usually polished to a high finish. This attractive result may be somewhat more durable than the base material but can still be easily scratched or damaged.

Applications of Chrome Plating Process

Decorative chrome plating is often employed in the automotive industry to enhance the aesthetic appeal of bumpers, wheels, and engine parts. Musical instruments also commonly feature chrome plating, along with kitchen utensils and some hand tools.

Hard chrome plating might also be used to enhance the durability of engine components and other parts of high-performance vehicles. Piston rods, hydraulic parts, and bearings may also be plated to extend their useful lifespan, prevent corrosion, and reduce excessive wear. 


Since 1946, R. A. Heller Co. has provided expert hard chrome plating to manufacturers and other businesses throughout the Cincinnati area. Their machine shop features an array of cutting-edge equipment and a highly trained team of experts who pride themselves on delivering exceptional results on every job. Visit their website for more on their chrome plating services, get more updates and tips on Twitter, or call (513) 771-6100 to discuss your project and request an estimate.

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