Stainless Steel Finishes – Which Do I Use?

Stainless steel is commonly used in commercial and industrial fabrication because of its versatility, strength, and durability. It’s also popular because its choice of finishes allow for either a rustic or more glamorous aesthetic.

What exactly is a stainless steel finish?

Well if you’ve ever strolled down the kitchen or bathroom aisle of your local DIY store, you’ll probably have seen several stainless steel options to choose from. There are shiny, brushed, and metallic options as well as mirrored styles to choose from.

Knowing which stainless steel finish to choose depends largely on your project since different finishes are more porous than others, which could affect the longevity of your project.

What are the stainless steel options?

A mill produces stainless steel with a hot roll finish which has the sort of appearance that you probably imagine metal to look like. It’s neither shiny or glossy, nor mirrored or brushed. Instead, it’s been left as is and is often used for items which will be visible to customers. Picture a standard kitchen sink, and that’s the sort of finish we’re talking.

Sometimes metal comes from the mill having been cold rolled, meaning that it looks flat and dull. Typically this metal has a more grainy appearance and is usually cheaper than hot rolled metal. Again, this metal has been left as is and is usually used for projects which don’t require a high end finish but do need the strength of stainless steel.

Ordering stainless steel

When it comes to placing an order for stainless steel, the various types of finish are identified by numbers, as follows:

  • #2B or #2D signify a cold rolled metal with a dull finish. This would suit a project where durability is essential but the end result lacks that ‘finished’ appearance
  • #3 and #4 are types of hot rolled metal which offer a professional, finished look to a project, for instance, a kitchen sink. It’s also ideal for blending seams in welding projects
  • #10 represents hot rolled metal which reflects back like a mirror. Often this goes to a polisher at the end of manufacture and before installation.

Stainless steel between 3 and 10 represents the degree of mirrored finish and your metal fabricator should be able to show you examples of each one, if you’re not sure which level of finish you require.

At Metro Steel we’re happy to work with our customers to help them choose the best finish for their end project and the aesthetic required. Why not give us a call on 07 3204 1000 and speak to one of our experienced team or drop by our facility at Kabi Circuit, Deception Bay to discuss what you have in mind.

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