Stainless steel is both stunning in look and also practical in application when it comes to choosing a balustrading system that can last a lifetime. If you live in a coastal environment, all types of balustrade materials, be it stainless steel or alternative metals, will be subject to salt and wind exposure, industrial pollution and temperature fluctuation. However, if properly cared for and maintained, stainless steel will keep its ‘as new’ look for many years to come, far outperforming alternative metals.
Grade 316 with a smooth mirror surface finish should be selected as the minimum quality for outdoor use, especially when within 5km of the coast. We do not recommend using a brushed satin finish externally unless you are prepared to regularly maintain it!
Grade ‘304’ (18% chromium, 8% nickel) is the most common stainless steel produced, however it is inadequate for many exterior coastal applications.Grade ‘316’ (17% chromium, 10% nickel, 2% molybdenum) offers the best corrosion resistance among standard stainless steels. It resists pitting and corrosion by most chemicals, and is particularly resistant to salt water corrosion.
For best results use soap or mild detergent and warm water followed by rinsing with clean cold water.
If salts and other contaminants are left to build up they can cause a brown stain on the surface of the stainless, known as ‘tea staining’ (note this is not rust). Tea stains can be removed with a tea stain remover, however if you leave it too long it will involve a lot of elbow grease! Always wipe in the direction of the grain and never use an abrasive cleaner or cloth as these will scratch the surface of the stainless steel. Remember simply rinsing the stainless with water once a week will help significantly to keep the surface looking good.
Our tips for a premium quality finish...
- 316 grade mirror finish for all outdoor balustrades
- Keep it clean! A quick once over with some warm soapy water and a quick rinse every few weeks will save hours of elbow grease if you leave it too long.
The information on this page was obtained from ASSDA, the Australian Stainless Steel Development Association.
Preventing Tea Staining - click to view PDF