Deciding to go with stainless steel is a practical choice for door handles. We see stainless steel in use in hospitals, restaurants, and hotels. Our homes use stainless steel in kitchens, bathrooms, and outdoor settings. But what is stainless steel and how can it affect my decision?
Stainless steel was primarily made from iron and carbon. At least that is what it used to be made of. Today recycling has taken over. Today stainless steel is more likely to be made from corrosion-resistant alloy of iron, chromium and, in some cases, nickel and other metals.
The recycle process has improved stainless steel slightly. It now boasts characteristics like low maintenance, weld ability, aesthetic appeal, durability, low life cycle cost, good erosion and corrosion resistance. Pretty impressive, or is it?
Stainless Steel Grade
There are two main strains of stainless steel when it comes to door hands. They are graded as 304 and 316 grade. The 304 grade is the most common. You will find it used for hinges, railings, and of course door handles.
The other stainless steel is the 316 grade stainless steel. You will find this mainly on marine hardware, particularly on boats. There are 316 grade door handles and hinges available for the home.
The difference between the two is simple, Rust! Our 304 grade stainless steel although aesthetically appealing with good corrosion resistance, will rust. On the other hand, the 316 grade stainless steel has a higher chromium content, and therefore less likely to rust.
The Down Side To Stainless Steel
The biggest drawback with 304 grade stainless steel is that if you do not take care of it you will see it rust. Rust left untreated will eventually destroy the item. What causes rust? The elements do. Rain and salt water are the biggest destroyers of stainless steel items.
When we consider 316 grade stainless steel you will see what is called tea staining appear on the surface of the item unless you look after it. Tea staining is a form of rust but on 316 grade it is more surface discoloring. But it is not something to be ignored. Rust the destroyer will eventually if allowed do serious damage to 316 grade stainless steel. It just takes longer to corrode.
To prevent and prolong rust on stainless steel you must clean it regularly, in particular 304 grade. If you live along the coast even with 316 grade items, cleaning is on going. Regular maintenance is required, the same as if you owned a boat.
Stainless Steel Cabinet Hardware
Kitchens and cabinets are often decked out with stainless steel hardware. They present a clean aesthetic appearance. They are also easily cleaned with a little white vinegar and warm soapy water. Making kitchen presentation more agreeable.
Because these stainless steel items are mostly inside they are away from the elements of rain and salt. Within closed walls the opportunity of rust is seriously reduced. However along the coast salt is wind bound and can still cause problems.
Here again regular cleaning is necessary in the form of wipe downs. In most cases a simple wipe down with a clean damp cloth is enough to remove salt and grime. Just as long as it is not left for any length of time.
Stainless Steel Door Handles
We need to apply the same concerns to stainless steel internal door handles as we do with kitchen cabinet handles. Our 304 grade stainless steel door handles that are inside are less likely to rust even with minimal maintenance.
Door handles inside are less exposed to the outside elements. In most cases we do not see problems with stainless steel handles that live inside. Just as long as they are cleaned regularly. Keep in mind, if you open your home to the elements, as in open those big balcony doors over looking the ocean, you are letting salt penetrate the interior.
Living on the coast is not only wet but very much salty. Salt has the bad habit of sticking to objects. Salt builds up over time. In turn it will eat away at door handles and metal objects. Door handles in 304 grade have less chance of survival. The 316 grade can resist rain and salt as long as they are cleaned regularly. 316 grade will show signs of tea staining which is the first indication sign of 'get cleaning'.
The Pros Of Stainless Steel
Stainless steel is a clean, durable, corrosion resistant material with a design life expectancy of over fifty years. Grades 304 and 316 are very much desirable as jewelry, kitchenwares, hospital equipment, marine hardware, and door handles.
When you take the time to attend to your stainless steel items, they will in turn see you and your family through a very long life time. Stainless steel is strong, making it perfect for construction purposes. Being corrosion resistant, it can last a long time without being replaced or breaking.
At Architectural Design Hardware our specialty is door handles. The range of stainless steel door handles is immense. Both 304 and 316 grade door handles adorn the majority of homes and offices. Cabinetry, and kitchenware in stainless steel are fitted to all the major restaurants and hotels. Stainless steel is the choice of sustainability, strength, durability, and still very pleasing to the eye.
Choosing Your Stainless Steel Handles
The hardest part of choosing stainless steel handles is going to be the style. There are numerous styles from various manufactures. Stainless steel door handles will present on round plates, square plates, and long plate furniture.
Our only recommendation will be if you live along the coast, do consider 316 grade stainless steel over 304 grade. We want you to enjoy your door handles for a long time. Bearing in mind that yes, you do need to clean them regularly. If you lived on a boat, who wants tea staining ruining the look and appeal of stainless steel.
During the Art Deco period, stainless steel was the most popular material of choice. One of the most famous examples of stainless steel art deco use is in the upper section of the famed Chrysler Building. But really you just need to look at those luxury yachts with their stainless steel trimmings.
At Architectural Design Hardware we have the range of stainless steel door handles and cabinet handles to suit. Stainless steel is strong so door handles will last. Stainless steel is also safe for your health. Which is why you see it in restaurants and hospitals.
Stainless steel does not look cheap despite being very affordable. With a smorgasbord of styles, shapes, and designs, come visit our showroom. You can touch, feel and see for your self the beauty of stainless steel.
A final word. If you see tea staining or rust, try some baking soda on a clean cloth. If you need more power break out the metal scourer and start rubbing. You will see the difference very quickly. I'm told toothpaste can also be used, just like brushing your teeth.
Many of our suppliers offer stainless steel door handles. I've listed a few below or you can visit our showroom. If stainless steel is not what you are looking for, we do have Brass!
Links within our website: