Different Types of Stainless Steel
Stainless steel is an extremely valuable material for furniture makers, as it possesses a unique combination of strength, durability and aesthetic appeal. That is why we recommend many of our stainless steel table base models for outdoor applications, and for supporting heavy table tops in humid environments. Stainless steel has a beautiful silver finish, is easy to clean, and resists corrosion. That last quality is what makes stainless steel table bases so great for outdoor use, they do not rust! While they do require periodic cleaning to stay looking their best, maintenance is relatively easy. There are dozens of types of stainless steel on the market, and just a few different types of stainless steel are used for table bases. Keep reading to learn about the differences between these types of metal!
Almost all of our stainless steel table bases are made from 304-grade stainless steel, which is also known as “food grade” stainless steel because it is easy to sanitize. You’re probably familiar with 18/8 stainless steel used for high-quality pots and pans, this is 304-grade stainless. The 18/8 refers to the percentage of chromium and nickel respectively, so 304 grade is 18% chromium and 8% nickel. These are the metals that add corrosion resistance and shininess to the stainless steel.
Another common type of stainless steel is called 316 grade, or marine grade stainless steel.
Generally speaking, the higher the number, the more corrosion-resistant the metal. 316 stainless steel is commonly called “marine grade” because it is more resistant to saltwater corrosion than other types of stainless steel. However, the downside of 316 stainless is that it contains more nickel, which makes it more expensive to produce. That is why most of our bases are 304 grade, as it strikes a good balance between corrosion resistance and price. However, we do have a new base coming soon called the RSQ Marine that will be made from 316-grade stainless steel. These bases will be great for harsh outdoor environments, such as near chlorinated pools or coastal areas near salt water.
One of the key advantages of stainless steel over steel or cast iron is that the metal does not need to be coated, which means a longer life. We use commercial grade finishes on all of our bases, but even the strongest finish can chip and deteriorate over time (especially when used outdoors). Stainless steel does not usually have a coating, it’s simply polished or brushed, which means it’s very easy to refinish when you’re ready to give your furniture a refresh, as there are no messy coatings to reapply. Stainless steel is also very easy to clean, just get some stainless steel cleaner and a rag, and give things a good wipe down. All of the stainless steel’s unique properties make it a great choice for commercial furniture, whether you are using it indoors or outdoors.
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