Lets talk stainless
We all know that living near the coast has it’s own set of challenges and when you’re looking at solutions for outdoor living, it’s important to know what materials work best where. Coastal areas are one of the harshest environments to live in with high levels of salt and high winds that can cause unwanted damage to our properties.
One of the main questions we get asked when looking at balcony installations in Cornwall is, are there different types of stainless steel and what is best for my outdoor furniture or home improvement project?
Matt Myers, Director of Tecmet has been in the stainless industry for nearly 30 years and understands the importance of using the right materials for the right job. ‘There are hundreds of grades of stainless steel on the market with many of them known for nuclear, hygienic or oil exploration. The two main grades used in Tecmet’s balcony installations and balustrading in Cornwall are T304 and T316, marine-grade stainless steel.’
Type 304 is known as a more general grade of stainless steel used for manufacturing catering equipment, indoor balustrading, and fabrications where corrosion resistance is not an issue. This material is generally not used outside as although it wouldn’t physically degrade, it’s surface will discolour in saltwater and coastal environments. Type 316, which we generally use in all of our external fabrication installations has a higher chromium and nickel content which means it has much better corrosion resistance in saltwater and coastal environments.
Stainless steel finishes
When it comes to the finish of your balcony or outdoor furniture project, you have a choice of finishes to choose from. Dull and satin polish offers a brushed effect finish and is often used for cooker hobs, catering equipment, and splashbacks. This finish is perfect for indoor fabrications but also works well externally when not in a coastal environment.
An alternative to satin polish is mirror polish which is shiny and bright in appearance. Unlike the brushed finish, mirror polished is not prone to discolouration so is more suitable for coastal environments. Although virtually maintenance-free, your stainless steel balcony project does benefit from a good regular wipe down to retain its full lustre.
Rusting in coastal regions
Stainless steel depends on its thin oxide film known as its passive later for resistance against corrosion. The layer underneath is not corrosion-resistant so regular cleaning to maintain its finish is highly recommended to protect from airborne particles and chlorides.
Balcony maintenance in Cornwall
The main benefit of cleaning down your balcony regular is to clean off any surface contaminants and salt. This can be done with any basic cleaning method ie soapy water however more sophisticated, specialist products are available for the cleaning of stainless steel should you require it. As part of our aftercare service, we are happy to supply this to our customers as prevention is always easier than cure.
If you’re in Cornwall and are looking at improving your home with a balcony installation, then let’s talk through your options. We have a combined 70 years of experience as industry consultants, so there are probably more design options than you thought possible. We are proud of the quality of work we create and install in Cornwall and even prouder to be leading the way in stainless innovation and glass balcony installation.