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Wall Fountains

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Until recently, fake waterfalls, or wall fountains, were found nearly exclusively in such venues as upscale Asian restaurants or trendy hotels. Very recently, wall fountains were almost prohibitively expensive and difficult to maintain. However, the positive effects of competition have produced fountains that are attractive, relatively inexpensive, and easy to clean.

There are numerous specialty companies that make wall fountains, in a variety of styles, colors, materials, and prices. The range of materials most commonly used include: copper, stainless steel, slate, pebbles, aluminum, and resin. Prices range from around $100-–for a 16-inch by 24-inch arched fountain—-to $1,300 for a 24-inch by 61-inch copper and slate masterpiece. Fountains also often have a loudness rating, giving prospective owners a chance to discover beforehand whether the sound will be relaxing or annoying.

Fountain Care and Maintenance

Modern fountains require very little in the way of maintenance. However, they do require some maintenance. Diligence in keeping up your fountain is directly proportional to the length of time it will remain in service. The amount of maintenance required is also directly proportion to the material of which it is constructed.

Copper is the material requiring the most amount of work. Some fountains made of this material are covered with a "powder coating," which is a heat-baked enamel finish applied to the surface of the metal. The terms "powder coat" and "clear coat" mean the same thing. The coating protects the copper from turning green. To maintain, wax your fountain with commercial car wax every two to three months. Note that all copper will eventually turn green, even clear coated copper, and that the coat and wax will only slow the inevitable.

If you happen to be fond of the copper patina, choose a fountain without the clear coat. Don't use copper polish, however, as this will-–not surprisingly—-remove the patina. Left on its own, copper will eventually take on the verdigris quality of an old copper roof. How quickly this happens is dependent on climate and the water used in the fountain. Also note that copper will darken when exposed to the sun.

Stainless steel is virtually maintenance free. It is, of course, stainless. The non-porous surface makes it difficult for bacteria and other micro-organisms to adhere and survive, and thus corrode. To remove fingerprints, use a damp sponge or microfiber cloth. Don't use abrasive cleaners, as they will leave scratches. Bleach is also a no-no.

Acrylic fountains are a touch trickier. Like wood or silver, acrylic can scratch. Unlike those materials, however, a scratch can be easily removed. Plastic polishes will remove most scratches, and deeper ones can be removed by using restoration kits. Be sure to remove the water from your fountain before cleaning it.

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