One of the misconceptions that we sometimes come across is that stainless steel is corrosion-resistant. We all know it to be a high quality, durable material, often used in the harshest of environments, but occasionally it may be subject to ‘tea-staining’ (or surface rust). Whether this happens depends on a number of factors, including:
- the grade of stainless steel specified – by the way, all our Jakob materials are made from the highest grade (316) – often called marine grade
- the environment in which the material is to be used
- the exposure to rain water and sea water
- the surface finish – for example, a brushed finish which has fine grains running through it can cause problems as the grains can trap salts and other contaminants
The build-up of salt and contaminants can damage the chromium oxide layer, causing staining. So for example, in a higher risk area, rather than using a brushed-finish, a smooth finish which is then electro-polished would provide extra protection.
If there is a risk of surface staining, we advise a simple routine of cleaning – nothing more than washing the surface with soapy water every 3 to 6 months and then rinsing it off with clean water. In extreme circumstances (where salt levels are high) the application of a coat of a proprietary, lanolin-based solution after cleaning would protect the stainless steel further and cut down the required cleaning frequency.
So although in some cases, stainless steel may require a cleaning regimen to maintain its corrosion resistant properties, in our experience it’s well worth it – to maintain your beautifully elegant stainless steel finish for many years.
If you have any queries or would like advice about the care of your own stainless steel systems, please don’t hesitate to contact our technical support team. We’re very happy to help.