Stainless steel is often used as a railing material, especially where corrosion resistance is a major concern. However, many design/construction professionals may be unaware of the finer nuances of selecting the right type of material. Having a better understanding of finishes is critical.
Specifying high-performance coatings for structural steel framing, decking, or curtain walls can be a tall order when the application surface is located hundreds of feet above ground level. The specified coatings must protect the structural integrity of these hard-to-reach steel exposures against corrosion.
Galvanizing is one of the best ways to protect steel, but the complex series of reactions necessary to prevent corrosion can be undermined by exposure. When hot-dipped galvanized steel is first exposed to the atmosphere, near-pure zinc at the surface reacts with oxygen to form zinc oxide.
Architectural and engineering firms are increasingly exploring stainless steel’s possibilities as a structural material as new research, structural codes, and design guides become available. Most designs have used the familiar Types 304L or 316L alloys from the austenitic family of stainless steels.