Stainless Steel Railing: Is It Easy to Clean and Maintain?
Naturally, your porch and deck areas will feel the full force of the elements, especially during the winter months. These spaces are constantly exposed to pollutants such as general dirt and grime, plus environmental mineral deposits. Plus, if your deck is overlooking sea views, you’ll also have saltwater to consider too.
For properties that have Stainless Steel Railing Systems, you’ll enjoy several benefits of this installation, including low maintenance, however, although ANSI 316 Stainless Steel Railing boasts high resilience in exterior settings - due to steel’s corrosion-resistant properties. It’s essential to keep on top of maintenance to ensure it looks its best all year round.
Fortunately, maintaining your Deck Railing is reasonably simple, and with regular care, you’ll have a System that looks as good as when you first installed it.
Take a look at some easy techniques to keep your deck and porch areas looking as good as new.
- General Cleaning Techniques
- Removing Oil And Grease
- How To Remove Scorch Marks From Stainless Steel Surfaces
- The Importance Of Regular Maintenance
- What Things To Avoid When Cleaning Stainless Steel Railing?
- How Do I Prevent My Stainless Steel Railing From Rusting?
- Which Stainless Steel Grade Is Best for Railing?
- How Do You Fix A Rusty Stainless Steel Railing?
- Choosing The Best Products
1. General Cleaning Techniques
Every day dirt and residue can start to build up, leaving a thin film on the surface of the steel. Depending on the Railing location, for example, under trees or near foliage - moss can begin to grow due to damp conditions.
You can remove this dirt easily by applying mild soap and water and gentle washing it off with a clean cloth.
For Glass Railing Systems, you may also require a glass cleaner for those stubborn marks. Once completed, rinse with clean water and dry to alleviate streaks and watermarks. For bar railing, you will need to clean each bar individually from the inside and outside face of the railing, in addition to cleaning the railing posts and handrail. On the other hand, for cable railing, you will need to clean the posts and top rail only.
2. Removing Oil And Grease
There may be times where oily residue builds up on your porch and deck railing. In some cases, this might require something more robust than soap and water to remove. To tackle this grime, use alcohol-based products that will break through the grease.
Be sure to check the product can be used with your installation and use a non-scratching cloth to wipe clean. Once completely removed, rinse with clean water and dry thoroughly.
3. How To Remove Scorch Marks From Stainless Steel Surfaces
Stainless Steel is renowned for its hardy composition. However, it’s not immune to scratches and general wear and tear. Most light blemishes can be removed using a non-scratch scrub sponge and everyday dishwasher liquid.
To find out more about this technique, take a look at our tips sheet here on How To Remove Scorch Marks From Stainless Steel Surfaces.
4. The Importance Of Regular Maintenance
Although steel has a passive layer that protects it from deep corrosion and staining, maintaining your Railing System will ensure it stands the test of time. As discussed above, there are simple ways to clean everyday residue, but we know how easy it is for exterior maintenance to become the last of your priorities when life gets in the way.
Regular cleaning will not only help to keep your Deck Railing looking great and free of surface rust. It’s also an important step to maintain safety for everyone using it. Why not carry out spot checks such as cable tension and baluster condition during this maintenance to repair or replace fixings before they become a more costly issue.
5. What Things To Avoid When Cleaning Stainless Steel Railing?
It’s common to assume that Stainless Steel Railing or glass Systems can withstand harsh cleaning solutions and powerful tools. But in reality, it’s best to avoid using more challenging methods when maintaining your installation to get the best out of it.
There are a few things to avoid when cleaning your deck and porch areas, such as:
- Muriatic/Hydrochloric acid
- Cleansers with chloride properties
- Scouring powders
- Scouring pads
- Scrapers or knives
- Wire brushes
- Cleaning wool
The above products and cleaning equipment can contaminate Stainless Steel, including staining it permanently or scratching the surface.
6. How Do I Prevent My Stainless Steel Railing From Rusting?
- Use austenitic grade ANSI 316 Stainless Steel superior corrosion-resistant to extreme environments
- Use a Railing that is correctly designed and installed for the project location
- Properly maintain the Stainless Steel Railing by passivating the surface as recommended by the manufacturer
- Add a powder coating to the Stainless Steel Railing to provide an additional protective layer over the entire exterior surface of the metal
7. Which Stainless Steel Grade Is Best for Railing?
With over 50 types of Stainless Steel, ANSI 304 and ANSI 316 are the best for Railing systems. Both ANSI 304 and ANSI 316 are resistant to ordinary rust and corrosion, with ANSI 316 performing better in outdoor or extreme locations, including chlorinated or salty environments. ANSI 304 requires a regular cleaning cycle, while once passivated, ANSI 316 requires virtually no maintenance.
8. How Do You Fix A Rusty Stainless Steel Railing?
No metal is impervious to the effects of nature. ANSI 316 Stainless Steel Railings tend to provide high resistance to
corrosion in environments where corrosion is accelerated. When there are early signs of rust, it is paramount to
remove it and passivate ASAP. Often this can be done before any deterioration or pitting to the surface.
Surface deterioration, scratches, or pitting are not unusual in an environment with chlorine, chlorides, or hypochlorites present. To repair the surface is not a challenging task. This is best done by buffing the Stainless Steel blemishes using fine sandpaper (400 to 600 grit) or a rubbing compound in the direction of the metal grain. When you get the desired result, passivate the surface to create a protective layer.
Passivating Stainless Steel
9. Choosing The Best Products
Several cleaning products on the market are designed specifically for Stainless Steel Railing Systems. Some cleaning solutions also offer a protectant coating that doesn’t attract dirt or dust and lasts for several months.
From the list above, you can see what elements to avoid. However, don’t be afraid to ask at a local hardware store if you’re unsure of product suitability.
Note: Please check cleaning equipment and products before using your Deck or Porch Railing System to ensure you do not tarnish the surface. If you are unsure, contact your supplier for advice on suitable aftercare for your Railing installation, or you can reach out to our sales team at email@example.com.