Stainless steel is a low maintenance material but not maintenance free. Long life can be achieved with stainless steel wire and mesh providing the grade that best fits the application selected, applying the appropriate fabrication and following installation procedures – and with regular cleaning undertaken – it’s atheistic appeal will be retained.
Tea staining is the brown discolouration of the surface of stainless steel caused by corrosion. It is a cosmetic issue that does not affect the structural integrity or life of the stainless steel. Tea staining occurs most commonly within 5km of coastal areas however it can also occur in polluted urban environments.
Surface contamination in the form of deposits must be prevented. These deposits may be minute particles of iron or rust from other sources such as tools previously used on carbon steel. There are also naturally occurring atmospheric conditions which produce deposits, such as salt from marine environments. The more aggressive the environment is the more regular the cleaning program will be required.
The cleaning frequency of stainless steel depends on four points;
A rule of thumb for cleaning external stainless steel is when you clean the surrounding windows also clean the stainless steel.
|Environment||Grade 304||Grade 316|
|Clean Inland||3 – 6 months||6 -12 months|
|Polluted urban/Industrial||Not suitable||6 -12 months|
|Coastal/Marine (not splashed)||Not suitable||3 – 6 months|
Note: Rainwater is an effective natural cleaner, stainless steel that does not get rained upon will need more frequent cleaning.
Stainless steel can be contaminated by carbon steel which will lead to corrosion. Ideally, a fabricator will have dedicated workshop and tools for stainless steel only.
Contamination can be picked up from:
It is recommended than when stainless steel is to be used for external purposes that it be electropolished.
The Australian Stainless Steel Development Association (ASSDA) www.assda.asn.au
For technical FAQ’s, visit http://www.assda.asn.au/technical-info/technical-faqs
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