Whether in homes or commercial office buildings, stainless steel balustrades are making their rounds on handrails and balconies. Easy to install and boasting an anti-corrosive surface, stainless steel wire railings make for a popular addition to already-stunning interiors. Unlike wood or concrete, the material doesn’t tend to chip, crack, or flake over time. However, that doesn’t mean you should entirely forego cleaning and maintenance.
To avoid having to invest in a replacement sooner than you would like, consider the following maintenance tips below.
Cleaning Your Stainless Steel Balustrade
Whether on a daily or weekly basis, the following tips can help you maintain a sturdy and spotless stainless steel structure.
Use Mild Detergent
To clean your stainless steel balcony or staircase, avoid using harsh chemicals that leave spots after drying. Instead, use a mild wash or detergent diluted with a little bit of water. Be sure to dust off the rails before soaking them and dry them with a towel after they’re washed.
Remove Scratches and Stains
To scrub rails and remove difficult stains, use a soft scrubber like Scotch Brite. Repeat rubbing in the same direction to avoid making crisscross scratches and use a soft cloth to wipe down your handles.
Purchase a Stainless Steel-Specific Balustrade Cleaner
Even with regular care, a stainless steel balustrade can be prone to rough scratches that are difficult to remove. Thus, consider purchasing a cleaner specifically made to remove tough stains and markings. When polishing your surface with this type of cleaner, be sure to rinse it and use a dry towel to wipe it down. Always follow the instructions listed on your chosen cleaning product.
Airborne pollutants can impact even the toughest materials, including stainless steel. Though less corrosive than most materials, steel can still develop rust if it absorbs moisture and dust over time. To keep moisture from seeping into your balustrade, use a wax that helps prevent rusting.
Avoid Using Harsh and Rough Products
As much as possible, you’ll want to keep your handrails from developing rust, scratches, and stains. However, you’re still better off avoiding products such as metallic scourers, abrasive powders or brass and silver cleaners. Avoid using sandpaper, steel wool, and hydrochloric acids, instead opting for gentle cleaning products when maintaining your surfaces.
Mistakes to Avoid When Maintaining a Stainless Steel Fixture
Just as there are dos when it comes to cleaning your stainless steel balustrade, there are also don’ts you should religiously adhere to.
Using Abrasive Cleaners
Depending on what type of surface you use to finish your stainless steel structure, abrasive cleaners can lead to scratching. Especially if your bannisters are highly polished or mirrored, they’ll be more prone to scratching than those with duller finishes. Put away the damaging cleaner and use a mixture of gentle soap and water instead.
Forgetting to Rinse the Surface
Wet surfaces are the ideal breeding ground for pesky problems such as mould or rust. As such, you’ll want to wipe down gritty or dirty water to avoid staining your finish. When washing outdoor fixtures, give them a blast with a garden hose and rinse them thoroughly afterwards.
Using Chlorine Cleaners
Under no circumstances do metal and chlorine work well together. Most homeowners or building owners who get stainless steel staircases fitted in Perth end up allowing corrosive attacks to occur as chlorine tends to penetrate metal’s protective chromium oxide layer. Though thoroughly rinsing the area may not remove all stains, it’s best to avoid using bleach.
Blaming the Cleaner
If you notice spotting or staining after cleaning your balustrade, don’t jump to the conclusion of it being the cleaner’s fault. Sometimes, hard water can cause railing to stain over time—so be sure to wipe them down every time.
Using Steel Wool or Brushes
Because steel products tend to break down the protective layers of a surface, they can leave hard-to-remove corrosion stains and rust on your balustrade. Corrosion stains are among the hardest to remove—you may end up having to replace your balustrade entirely.
Regardless of whether your balustrade is located indoors or outdoors, periodic care and maintenance is key to retaining its corrosion-resistant properties and keeping it clean. Despite it being known to stain and discolour throughout the years, you can achieve its maximum lifespan through regular cleaning.
Why Stainless Steel Rusts and How to Avoid It
Though strong, durable, and corrosion-resistant, stainless steel isn’t rust-proof. Keeping it free of contaminants and understanding why this material stains can help keep rust at bay. The main elements in stainless steel that work towards preventing rust are carbon, iron, and chromium. However, lengthened exposure to oxygen can form a ferric oxide, which can create rust.
If chromium levels incorporated into your particular stainless steel rails are below 12%, there is a greater chance of oxygen penetrating the surface. To avoid this, let your contractor know of any specific requirements ahead of time. You can prevent rust from developing by considering the following tips.
Choose the Appropriate Surface Finish
Some finishes are applied to stainless steel balustrades during production, while others are applied after installation. Of these finishes, you can choose between steel-specific products that are polished, brushed, etched, anti-fingerprint, anti-bacteria, blasted, or self-cleaning.
Avoid using a rough surface finish or alumina belts, which can lower the corrosion resistance of lower-grade stainless steel. On the other hand, you can achieve a satin finish using a SiC polishing belt.
Purchase a Stainless Steel-Specific Cleaner
To remove contaminants, combat rust, restore surfaces damaged by corrosion and bring stainless steel balustrades back to their original finish, purchase a cleaner that is specifically formulated to enhance the look of stainless steel. Provided that the metal is not pitted, you can likely restore the sheen on your handrails and balconies with an affordable cleaning solution.
Stainless steel balustrades in Perth homes and offices are becoming increasingly popular due to their anti-corrosive properties and sleek look. As with any fixture in your home or office building, regular cleaning and maintenance is key to expanding your structure’s longevity.
For steel and glass balustrades in Perth that best suit your needs and aesthetic preferences, work with us at Aussie Balustrading and Stairs! We provide innovative solutions and additions to your home that are fully customised according to your unique tastes.