Real silver leaf feels superior to aluminum leaf in many ways. Silver leaf has the inherit quality of precious metal and a warmer tone with the soft shifting hues of yellowy grays. If these aspects are important to you then the real silver leaf might be worth the higher cost of materials and application compared to using aluminum leaf.
There are a few more reasons other than the higher cost of the material itself. Working with real silver leaf is a bit more tedious because of the fragility of the material. Also, the finish will tarnish over time if not sealed, thus adding more labor costs to the price tag.
Before deciding which material to use, consider the many charms of aluminum leaf.
- It’s shinier! This translates to more luminosity.
- More cost effective.
- Does not need a sealer.
Having done many jobs with the two metal leafs, we have found aluminum leaf to be much easier to apply. The leaves themselves are hardier and won’t crack and disintegrate mid-application. Aluminum will not tarnish and does not require a sealer coat, therefore the surface remains super shiny and reflective.
Both the tray ceiling with Art Deco details and this very traditional barrel ceiling are sporting aluminum leaf. Both look fabulous and more expensive than if had we had used the real silver leaf.