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Stainless steel railings Vs Cleaviews railings

In order one can make an informed decision as to which materials to choose when deciding on which handrails and structure to order for your glass balustrades, it is important to research and understand the advantages of each type of material.

Important factors to take into account in relation to stainless steel railings, aluminium railings, stainless steel balustrades and aluminium balustrades are:

Longevity – i.e. corrosion resistance
Maintenance requirements
Aesthetics and finish quality
Eco rating – i.e. how “green” is the use of the product?

The information below has been compiled to help you better understand the differences between stainless steel balustrade system to Clearviews glass balustrade system.

Stainless steel railings, stainless steel handrails, stainless steel balustrades etc…

A bit of history first…

Stainless steel was discovered by Harry Brearley in England in 1913. Brearley discovered it while doing an experiment of increasing the levels of chromium. Based on his experiment, a 12% of chromium makes the steel resistant to corrosion caused by acid. In 1920, there are two stainless steel types that were found to be useful and these are the martenstic stainless steel and the austenitic stainless steel.

Stainless steel is also known as steel alloy that generally have at least 11.5% of chromium content. This material has certain qualities that do not stain and rust as compared to ordinary metals. When the alloy grade and type are not completely identified, it is known as corrosion resistant steel.

Stainless steel has different grades and surface finishing. It has around 150 grades. Fifteen of these grades are widely used. These types are produced into coils, plates, sheets, wires and tubing. Due to the qualities of stainless steel, it made its way as one of the mainly used steel in many commercial applications.

Stainless steel handrails and stainless steel railings are very popular and generally considered one of the most preferred materials for balconies in marine areas. This is true to some degree but there are some real pitfalls in this that, if not known or properly avoided, disappoint both end user and manufacturer.

Almost everyone who makes stainless steel products finds that they rust occasionally. That upsets users since they have paid for “stainless.” A good question for designers, then, is “How and when do stainless steel railings become vulnerable to corrosion and how can they be protected?”

To address that question, Hitchiner has tested various conditions that cause stainless steels to rust. Here’s a synopsis of the factors at play in stainless steel corrosion and the results and conclusions that can be drawn from Hitchiner’s testing program.

Stainless Steel Corrosion - There are two basic types of stainless steel—highly corrosion resistant, nickel-chromium austenitic steels and less corrosion resistant ferritic and martensitic steels. For special purposes, there are also duplex stainless steels, a mixture of the two structures.

Basically, the formation of a passive surface layer of chromium oxide on stainless steel handrails protects the metal from corrosive media in everyday usage and surroundings. The alloys’ resistance to various chemical solutions is too complex to cover fully here; Results from testing most stainless steel alloys extensively in atmospheres around Europe & the United States, show that, in a few years at most, both rust and white corrosion products form on all stainless steels, even those that were perfectly clean at the beginning of the tests. If the stainless steel handrails and stainless steel railings are kept clean, it will not form either corrosion product for many, many years. This stresses that regular cleaning of the stainless steel balustrades is essential. Many different mechanisms can play a role in forming these corrosion products. In some cases, redeposition after dissolution from the alloy surface leaves ions on the steel’s surface. With the right conditions of heat and humidity, these ions combine with oxygen and develop a corrosion product. Redeposition of iron ions leads to rust spots; redeposition of chromium ions leaves a deposit of chromium oxide, indicated by white spots having a matte finish on the polished steel.

A particular area of severe importance and the area most responsible for “rusting” or staining on stainless steel handrails is where welds are incorporated, causing iron contamination. The use of non-stainless steel processing and handling equipment. This is a frequent source of contamination. Non-metallic contact materials and vacuum lifting equipment should be used to avoid process contamination.

Handling or fabricating stainless steel on equipment, using tools also used for non-stainless steels should be avoided. Working in 'mixed-metal' fabrication shops, without taking segregation and cleaning precautions can result in contamination.

Cutting of stainless steel handrails or grinding debris from non-stainless steels should not be allowed to settle on stainless steel items. As soon as any of this contamination becomes wet, rust staining will result.

Stainless steel balustrades, in particular when 316 (marine grade) stainless alloy is used are relatively expensive and cost between £500 to £800 a meter.

Stainless steel railing are very aesthetic and can be finished is various ways from a matt finish to a mirror polish. Many stainless steel balustrades require posts and to connect the glass use glass clamps which are sometimes considered unsightly by some.