There are so many options to consider these days when you’re adding new fixtures to your home - in addition to the style, colour, placement, and size of your fixtures, you also have to choose what material you want it made from. As you would expect there are pros and cons to each type of material, the most common being stainless steel, brass, ceramic, pewter, copper, and other non-corrosive metals that are usually plated in chrome or nickel. Speciality materials like wood and glass can also be found on occasion, but these are by far the most common and durable types of fixtures.
Why Choose Stainless Steel?
There are three major reasons why someone would choose stainless steel fixtures throughout their home. Some may find that the stark industrial look of stainless steel is too cold for their tastes, but there’s no denying that a properly cared-for stainless steel handle or faucet can add a very modern look to a room. Compared to other metals, stainless steel doesn’t become tarnished as quickly, and is easier to wash. You don’t have to have any special cleaner to remove fingerprints or other smudges, and it is usually used in a single-piece construction, meaning there are no weak points in the fixture to crack or separate. Additionally, stainless steel is totally recyclable, and can often be made from roughly 60% recycled materials in the first place. This makes it a much more eco-aware choice in your home or place of work.
What Types of Stainless Steel Fixtures Are Available?
Stainless steel can be used on nearly any type of domestic fixtures and fittings. In addition to plumbing fixtures like faucets, it’s also very popular for items like cupboard pulls and towel racks.
Door handles for both interior and exterior doors are also common fixtures that can be made of stainless steel. This material is perfect for an office door, or any other room that needs a sleek, professional look. And our line of high quality Eurospec stainless steel door handles includes a variety of styles to meet any need.
Eurospec CSLP1163 Curved Door Handle on Backplate
From straight, mitred styles that add a touch of no-nonsense authority to a space, to curved designer options for something more elegant, there are many ways to use our stainless steel door handles to finish off your look. We have subtle stainless steel door handles that don’t overwhelm a busy space, and bolder door handles on back plates that stand out and let you add some flair to your room. If you prefer a smudge-free design, the Eurospec SteelWorx Carbon Fibre Door Handle has a black carbon fibre grip, with a satin stainless steel finish at the neck.
What About Corrosion and Staining?
One thing that concerns many homeowners is the idea that, while stainless steel does resist corrosion and rust, it might eventually corrode over time, especially when used in a room like the bathroom or kitchen, where it might become wet on a regular basis. With basic maintenance, corrosion is almost never an issue for in-home use - but let’s examine why metals becomes corroded, and how stainless steel works to prevent that.
Stainless steel is made up of several types of metals. At least 10% of stainless steel is chromium, with the rest being various other metals like Nickel, Molybdenum, Titanium and Copper. Chromium is a protective element that stops metals from readily breaking down. In fact, the Chromium levels present in stainless steel is what separates it from carbon steel, which can rust when exposed to moisture or air. Rust and corrosion occur when air, moisture, and other environmental elements interact with unprotected metals to cause the formation of iron oxide. Chromium forms a film over the structure of the metal, which blocks air and moisture from interacting with the metal at the most basic level. Therefore, with no way for iron oxide to form, there is less chance that you will ever see a corroding stainless steel fixture.
Despite the name, stainless steel fixtures can indeed become stained or smudged - the term “stainless” really applies to the metal’s ability to resist rust. However preventing stains should never be a problem with a basic cleaning schedule that simply consists of wiping off your handle or fixture once every month or so. You don’t need any special cleaners for this, just a regular, mild detergent and a soft cloth. This should prevent any stains or smudges from appearing. Additionally, you don’t need to be worried about removing the protective layer of chromium that keeps stainless steel from corroding. Once your fixture has dried after a cleaning, the unique makeup of the metal alloy will automatically reform that layer within a few days.
Are There Any Other Maintenance Tips for Keeping Stainless Steel Looking Great?
While a basic cleaning routine is more than enough to keep stainless steel looking its best, there may come a time when you really want to impress. Perhaps you’re selling your home, or your office is coming under inspection. Whatever the reason, here are a few tips for getting your stainless steel handles looking like new.
A basic dishwashing soap or mild hand soap is usually the best way to clean your stainless steel. However, you can also use glass cleaner, white vinegar, or baking soda to brighten the appearance of the fixture. If the fixture is a faucet that has hard water deposits built up around the head, for example, soaking it in a plastic bag full of white vinegar will remove those stains effortlessly.
You should never use any cleaners that have particles designed to scrub, such as a bathroom cleaner for the toilet, as these abrasive materials can leave scratches on stainless steel handles. Anything harsh like bleach, or chlorinated cleaners, can also strip the metal of its protective chromium.
If you can avoid the application of sea water or hard water, that will help prolong the life of your stainless steel fixtures - this is particularly important if you live near the sea, or are buying accessories for a boat. When you do clean handles, faucets, or cupboard pulls, be sure to dry them with a soft cloth right away, because evaporation can leave behind water stains.
By following these simple tips, you will be able to keep your stainless steel fixtures in perfect condition for many years to come.