Modern structures use different types of balustrades for handrails and balconies. You can have balustrades placed in homes, schools, or wherever you need visual division and security.
The most popular material for these fixtures is stainless steel, which looks clean, is anti-corrosive, and contrasts excellently against many construction materials.
Steel balustrades are not prone to flaking, chipping off, or cracking like concrete or wood. This is not a reason to stop caring for it, though. It is crucial to keep steel balustrading on a regular maintenance schedule; if you do this, you will not need to replace it anytime soon. Here are some maintenance tips for balustrades.
Use gentle chemicals on your balustrades
Do not wash your balcony or handrail with harsh detergents. Instead, dilute some dishwashing liquid in water, and use that to clean your railing. When cleaning, you should dust the rails with a dry cloth before washing it with the cleanser.
After you have done this, you must wipe the handrails thoroughly. You do this to prevent spots from forming on the steel, which usually happens when you let chemicals dry on your balustrades.
Carefully scrub the stains away
There are plenty of soft scrubbers available commercially, ones that you use for cleaning cookware and dishes. You can also use these to scrub stains away from your handrails. Put some force into scrubbing but do not go overboard; this can cause the steel to scar.
Note that you should always rub in the same direction when cleaning steel railing. If you don’t, you will see crisscrossing lines and circles on the metal. After this, you can give your staircase railing or fence a final drying off with a piece of cloth.
Look for a stainless steel cleaner
Railings will inevitably accumulate scratches that are tough to remove. To clean your handrails up and keep them looking beautiful, you should get a cleaning solution specially formulated for removing stains and scratches.
A specialised formula will help polish your railing and keep it gleaming and clean. When you do get a steel cleaning solution, make sure you read the instructions on the product.
Different brands and strengths would not have the same directions on the packaging, so make sure you are performing the right steps.
Keep rust at bay with wax
If you live in an area prone to dust storms and tornadoes, your balustrades might be at risk for rusting and corrosion. Since these weather events bring airborne pollutants, they cause steel surfaces to absorb inordinately large amounts of moisture and dirt at the same time, which causes degradation.
Put protective products on your stainless steel handrails to prevent this from happening. You can apply car wax on your railings to guard them against excess moisture.
Do not use abrasives when cleaning
Dish scrubbers are enough for your rails. Do not use abrasive pads, metallic scourers, silver cleaners, or harsh cleaning powder when treating your steel balustrades.
Though they clean well, they will only spoil the fixtures’ look and make them dull in the long run. Do not use sandpaper, chlorine and hydrochloric acids either. Doing so will help keep your steel surface’s longevity.
You might think that a dull finish will not show scratching like highly reflective ones do. However, it is not always the case. If you must use strong chemicals or pads, test it on a place hidden from view and observe the effects on the metal.
Always rinse the surface you cleaned
You might damage the finish of your stainless steel balustrades if it soaks in dirty or gritty water for some time. Even the residue of cleaning solutions, when left to dry on its own, can stain and damage the finish.
If you have outdoor balustrades, you can use a garden hose when rinsing the entire structure. You can mop up the worst of the excess water. Indoors, you must use a bucket with clean water and wipe the rails down instead of hosing.
Do not use cleaners that have chlorine
One thing you should always remember is that bleach and metal are highly reactive to each other. Chlorine eats through the chromium oxide layer of steel balustrades, which makes it easy for this steel to corrode.
Even if you rinse the structure entirely with water, you might not be able to wash everything away thoroughly. Your best bet is to avoid using bleach when cleaning steel railings.
Do not forget to dry the balustrade
After cleaning your steel railing, and especially after following the directions on your cleaning agents, you might notice spotting or staining. These would usually look like translucent rings or threads on the surface of the metal, and are entirely normal. These rings typically form due to the water drying on its own.
This situation is especially common in places with ‘hard’ or ‘heavy’ water. That is, their water supply comes from a place that has plenty of mineral sediments. These minerals can cause spotting and can stain your metal surfaces after they dry.
To prevent this from happening, you should make it a point to wipe down your staircase railing after you have finished washing and scrubbing it clean. Wiping a balustrade down is an essential part of the cleaning process. You do not want to have gone through all of that work only to undo it at the last step.
Keep your balustrades looking new
Cleaning your steel balustrades requires a little more effort than just running a feather duster over its surfaces. To help it become resistant to corrosion, you must be sure that you wash, scrub, wipe dry, and polish it regularly.
This metal, though it is durable and versatile, is also prone to discolouring and attracting grime and dust. When you know how to maintain it, though, you will surely enjoy it for many more years.
On your next cleaning session, avoid the mistakes we discussed in this article to make sure you are giving your balustrades the best care and maintenance possible. Whether your railings are indoors or outdoors, they need care and attention for them to stay corrosion-resistant, reliable, and stylish.
Homes and buildings are sure of the quality of products they will get from Aussie Balustrade and Stairs. We are based in Perth, and we provide Western Australia with top-notch stainless balustrade solutions. Get in touch with us today for more details.