At first glance, it's easy to see why chrome plating is so popular. It has the appearance of liquid metal, almost like the T-1000 from Terminator 2. Once you take a closer look though you'll see that all that glitters isn't gold.
1.IT FLAKES OFF
Much like an ex sometimes something beautiful just turns into a flakey mess (cmon we've all been there am I right?). Once the process starts there’s no stopping it. Once it starts to flake and peel there’s nothing left to do but replace it. Kind of like what you had to do with that crazy ex!
2.IT WILL MAKE YOU SICK
Hexavalent chromium is listed as a carcinogen by the EPA and is a hazardous air pollutant. In addition to it being seriously toxic (carcinogen = cancer) the creation of certain types of the process results in toxic waste like lead and barium sulfate. Not good.
3. THE COATING ISN'T ALWAYS UNIFORM
Part of the plating process is that it uses an electro-chemical bath to adhere the chromium atoms to the surface that’s being dipped. The short story is that it ends up clumped up on edges which leaves you with less of it inside corners, holes, letters, etc. It's also much more likely to peel there, see below.
What can you do? Definitely make sure you’re not getting the toxic hexavalent chromium. Try the slightly less toxic trivalent chromium if your heart is set on getting something plated.
If you want something that’s going to last, definitely not going to flake off and ruin your day, and will look great for years. Then you should check out what we can do with stainless steel. By changing up the finish or adding carbon fiber and LED lighting our stainless steel products make chrome plated or billet aluminum products look well, cheap!