Stainless Steel Care and MaintenanceWhy Stainless Steel? Stainless Steel is a generic term used for a family of metals which are highlighted by their elevated level of corrosion resistance. Traditionally Stainless Steel contains more than 10.5% Chromium. The chromium slows down the corrosion process and plays a key part in defining stainless steel. Stainless Steel is renowned for excellent weldability, ductility and hygiene characteristics. When Nickel is added in sufficient amounts the metal forms into what we commonly know as 300 Series Stainless Steel.
Stainless Steel Grades 304 & 316 are the most commonly used forms of the metal used in the world today and are used in nearly all of the components in Stainless Steel Balustrading. Grade 304 (A2) is by far the most common grade of Stainless steel used. It has excellent corrosion resistance and resists rusting in most applications. Grade 316 (A4) also commonly known as Marine Grade and has Molybdenum added which gives a higher level of corrosion resistance and is most suited in aggressive environments such as where components will be subjected to salt water spray or even immersion. Corrosion Contrary to popular belief, Stainless Steel can corrode. The Chromium present in the metal causes a thin film to form on the surface thus providing the corrosion resistance. This film can be damaged by actions such as scratching or surface contamination by foreign materials such as salt, metal filings, pollution etc. When this surface rust is removed the metal usually self-heals after a short period of time. People often mistake a surface disscolouration known as Tea Staining with corrosion. There is no known cause for this condition and it can occur quite rapidly. While it causes no structural damage to the metal it is cosmetically unpleasant and is best controlled by regular maintenance such as applying a metal protector or lubricant. Choose a Smoother Surface The main cause of this problem is salt deposited on the stainless steel surface. To reduce the risk of tea staining, choosing or creating a smoother surface is an ideal combatant. A process call pickling may be used to remove surface contaminants, but may dull the surface. Alternately electropolishing may be used, and has the added benefit of brightening the surface. Specify Grade ‘316’ Stainless Steel As outlined in the previous section, Grade 316 is ideal for marine and highly corrosive environments. Regular maintenance and use of either our Lanoguard or Poligrat protectants will ensure the best resistance against tea staining and corrosive effects. Maintenance and Protection Rain washing the stainless steel surface can help reduce tea staining, and should therefore be an important project design consideration. Best results are achieved by washing with soap or mild detergent and warm water followed by rinsing with clean cold water. Surface appearance may be further improved by wiping dry the washed surface and treating the stainless steel with either the Lanoguard or Poligrat cleaner / protective range. Available at Metal by the Metre. We can advise you on your best options which will help retain an “as new” look to your Stainless Steel.