Stainless steel is an incredibly durable material to use for outdoor railing systems. Whether contractors use it for residential or commercial purposes, it doesn’t degrade and cuts down on maintenance. If we want to get anyone excited about stainless steel, then we have to answer your question: what stainless steel grade is best for outside railings?
Why Use Stainless Steel for Railings?
Many wonder why we use stainless steel at all. One of the reasons why stainless steel is suitable for outside railings is its diversity. These railing systems are prefabricated or customized to fit a specific style or design in a residential or commercial building.
Here are other benefits of outdoor stainless steel handrails:
- Handrails don’t cause you to rethink layout design like other metals; they enhance the environment and add a beautiful modern touch to a building’s exterior.
- Stainless steel is solid. Compared to other metals, namely copper, it tolerates environmental elements like rain and snow. Copper doesn’t have as much of a handle on inclement weather as stainless steel.
- This metal is expensive but requires little maintenance, meaning you don’t need to work hard or spend extra to remove rust.
- There are three grades of stainless steel: austenitic, ferritic, and martensitic.
316-Grade Stainless Steel
316-grade stainless steel is one of two high-quality stainless steels. 316 is an austenitic alloy that melts between 2,500 and 2,550 degrees Fahrenheit. This metal doesn’t corrode and is valued for its easy maintenance. This grade is used widely across industries, including pharmaceuticals and commercial kitchens.
304-Grade Stainless Steel
304-grade stainless steel is another austenitic alloy. Compared to 316-grade stainless steel, 304 is commonly found in businesses and residential properties. This one is so widespread because of its rich blend of iron, chromium, manganese, silicon, and carbon. These chemical elements maintain corrosion resistance and integrity in climates with high chances of rusting metal objects or structures.
Which Stainless Steel Grade Is Better?
With all that being said, you might wonder what stainless steel grade is best for outdoor railing systems. It depends on a few things, namely your environment. If your climate is along the coast and is wet and humid, 316-grade is the best choice because of its molybdenum content.
Molybdenum (Mo) creates an extra layer of protection from corrosion. In climates where rust is inevitable, Mo improves stainless steel’s hardness rate while decreasing the quench rate. 304-grade stainless steel doesn’t have this property, but it is affordable, does well outdoors, and looks nicer than the 316-grade metal.
If you’re still considering the best metal type for your dream project, come talk to a rep at Custom Manufacturing and Polishing, Inc. Our knowledgeable team is ready to answer questions about creating a stainless steel handrail system for your outdoor space. Find out how we can turn your dream project into a reality.