Stainless steels combination of high strength, excellent corrosion resistance and workability makes it an excellent choice for architects. Modern technology for material processing and finishing gives an even wider choice ranging from standard mill finish through to several grades of brushed and polished finishes.
As well as different polish surfaces, a range of patterned and embossed finishes can also be supplied. The various grades available offer varied degrees of corrosion resistance. The European standard designation according to EN 10088/1 is 1.4301, the equivalent American designation which is more generally referred to and more commonly known is grade 304. This is the grade typically used for kitchen utensils and professional catering equipment. It is also the standard grade for building interiors and exterior applications where the environment is not so aggressive i.e. normal urban. For more corrosive conditions such as industrial, or where the materials on facades that cannot be guaranteed to be cleaned, it is essential that grade 316 is used. This also applies to areas of facades that may become contaminated with de-icing salts.
When specifying a particular finish i.e., “2b” it is important that products in the same elevation are (where possible) sourced from the same batch as a 2b finish from one fabricator may not be the same as from another. Based on this it is essential that the grade and finish is clearly stated on any specification. It must be noted that 304 is considerably less expensive than 316 and as such and could result in material failure in the long term.
We would recommend a discussion takes place to agree on the design of the joints, corners and special features as in some instances welds that are removed and buffed can still appear as a line which is particularly evident after anodising.
Overall stainless steel is a wonderful and distinct product and has been used on many prestigious and well known landmarks since the 1920’s, however the correct material grade finish and product design are essential.