Does Stainless Steel fully Stainless?

Does Stainless Steel fully Stainless?

Rust and corrosion are major factors facing all metals and the builders who use them, pioneering the creation of stainless steels.

 With the increasing popularity of people searching for that laid back beach lifestyle and moving ever closer to our oceans, comes mega mansions and expensive homes.

Having long been perceived as rust proof, stainless steel fixtures and features are increasing in popularity in many of these ocean view palaces for its esthetic appeal and its commonly perceived ability to withstand the elements of nature and resistance to rust and corrosion.

Stainless steels were originally crafted for their ability to be more corrosion resistant or "stain less," then most metals including steel, brass, and wrought iron, but are in fact not stain-free. These stainless metals do have a higher resistance to corrosion and oxidation from natural and man made exposures.
 Depending on the intended use, the corrosion resistance levels can very based on grades of stainless steel and the applied finishes, to suit the environments in which they are used. The grade of stainless and the ability to resist corrosion comes from the alloys, which include carbon and chromium, among others, added to the steel, in varying amounts, during the creation process, to increase strength and resistance to moistures and heat.

"I've seen a large increase of stainless in the homes in my area," said John McClintock, a local real estate broker in Manhattan Beach, California. "I've noticed an increase in corrosion of stainless steel during many of my property inspections despite what I had previously known of its ability to withstand rust."

With the growing economy and the recent real estate boom in America, home owners and builders are looking to customize and accent their homes. Stainless steel has grown in popularity in the use of handrails, countertops, appliances, roofing, and fixtures both in and outside the home. Stainless steels strength, relative in-expense, and low maintenance compared to other metals and wood finishes are ideal to the home owner and builder.

Though stainless does have incredible resistance to oxidation and corrosion there are still major factors that can lead to different types of corrosion.
 Corrosion, often a red-brown color, commonly known as rust, occurs when a metal surface is exposed to air, moisture, and varying temperatures, which can penetrate the pores of the metal and cause a reaction that will deteriorate or discolor the metal. Corrosion of stainless can come from moisture from the ocean and air, humidity and temperature from weather, as well as the oils and skin secretions from people.

"I was shocked to see the stainless steel railings inside my house showing rust," said Mike, a home owner in Manhattan Beach. "I am building a new home and having all may stainless coated with a clear coating by a local company. I like the look of stainless and want to see it last. But I don't want to have to worry that someone might lean against a rail and have it break, or touch it with their hands and have to clean it right away."

There are increasing measures being taken to combat the effects of corrosion of stainless steel and other metals leaving owners and builders to look to outsides sources for assistance. "I am all for anything that will preserve some of what we do," said Jonny de Ver Green, a contractor in Southern California. "Even with the properties of stainless, proper care and added protection does need to be taken to prevent corrosion."

Corrosion will continue to be a factor facing stainless steel, and efforts are begin taken to stop this natural occurring process. To prevent corrosion, all stainless steel should be kept cleaned and coated with a corrosion prevention coating. In salty and humid environments they should be washed more regularly as salt can accelerate the rusting process. Though stainless steel is corrosion resistant it is not stain less and must be properly maintained.

Written by Jared Fredrickson


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