Stainless Wire Balustrade: Are Stainless Steel Systems Maintenance Free?
Stainless Wire Balustrade
Stainless Wire Balustrade systems are not maintenance free as many people believe, but they are super corrosion resistant. Stainless steel has a tendency to stain (tea stain) if it is not maintained. This blog post will go in depth about the different types of stainless steel and how to maintain your balustrades so they stay looking their best for years!
The most common discolouration is a brown rustlike stain on the surface and is commonly known as ‘tea staining’
Its been identified in coastal applications both in Australia and overseas.
Factors affecting tea staining have been researched extensively by ASSDA (Australian Stainless Steel Development Association) and the following information is a result of it’s findings.
What is it?
Tea staining is a cosmetic issue that does not affect the structural integrity or the lifetime of the materials, it occurs most commonly within about five kilometres of the surf and becomes progressively worse closer to the marine source.
However, wind exposure, pollution levels, local sheltering and higher temperatures can create environments where tea staining might occur 20 kilometres or more from the surf.
The effect is much less severe around sheltered bays and it should be noted that these same factors also increase corrosion rates of alternative materials.
Why does it occur?
The relationships between the contributing factors are complex, but generally become increasingly critical closer to salty water. Tea staining occurs as a result of the local conditions (such as temperature, relative humidity and presence of corrosives on the surface) being too aggressive for that stainless steel grade in its installed condition.
How can I prevent it?
For most people it won’t be an issue, however if you live in a highly corrosive area then looking after you balustrade is simple, along with your normal external maintenance you can:
- Give your wire a light wash every 6 months or so with soap or mild detergent and rinse with clean water, and it’s even possible that natural rain washing may be sufficient.
- If you wish you can also treat your balustrade with waxes or oil based products (lanolin, silicone aerosols) which will restrict chloride access to the stainless steel and help protect the surface and maintain a clean fresh look.
A little bit of light maintenance a couple times a year and you're wire will be looking brand new for years and years.
Thanks for reading our latest blog entry
The Scrooz Fasteners Team