Australian homeowners can now choose from an increasingly diverse range of products to use for fencing and furniture in and around their gardens. While wood and wrought iron are enduringly popular, gardeners looking for a more contemporary finish may want to consider stainless steel. Of course, although the name implies that stainless steel won't need any cleaning, there are still various things you should know about how to keep your stainless steel in top condition. Learn more here.
The properties of stainless steel
As well as its striking looks and reflective surfaces, stainless steel is a popular choice for homeowners because it is highly durable. Stainless steel is tough, weather-resistant and light, but it's also often cheaper than other metal finishes like aluminium.
Stainless steel is a generic term that applies to various grades of low-carbon steel mixed with chromium. Chromium gives the stainless steel its resistance to moisture and corrosion. An invisible layer of chromium oxide on the surface of stainless steel protects against corrosion and will reform within minutes if damaged.
Choosing the right grade
Buyers can choose from different grades of stainless steel. In Australia, buyers living in coastal areas should choose 316 grade or marine grade stainless steel. This type of stainless steel is more resistant to salt. 304 grade stainless steel is a good choice for buyers who live inland and don't need the added protection of 316 grade.
However, 316 grade stainless steel is still a better choice if you live inland and decide to install stainless steel features on a patio or around a pool. For example, stainless steel balustrades offer a striking addition to any pool design, but you should opt for 316 grade materials to give you the added protection against chlorine from the water.
Regular cleaning will ensure that the surface of your stainless steel furniture or fencing remains shiny. Use a non-abrasive cloth and some warm water to keep stainless steel looking good. Some mild detergent may help you remove dirt and fingerprints, but warm water alone will often suffice. Wipe with the directional grain of the stainless steel, or you may scratch or scuff the surface.
You can buy stainless steel cleaner for more stubborn dirt and discolouration. Brown spots will sometimes appear on the surface of the steel, especially in coastal areas, but specialist cleaners can help you remove these marks as long as you follow the product instructions carefully. Don't use harsh cleaners like bleach or chlorine. These products can damage the surface of the steel.
Stainless steel can add a smart, contemporary finish to any garden, but you still need to take steps to keep this material shiny and clean. Talk to your supplier for more information and advice.