Stainless Steel Overview
Stainless steel is synonymous with modern architecture. Since the early part of the twentieth century it has provided opportunity and inspiration for generations of designers. Exciting and contemporary, yet with an impressive history spanning many decades, stainless steel blends successfully with its environment, reflecting surrounding colors and images with a dynamic and often stunning effect. It has a subtle sheen, which does not overwhelm or intrude on other design and color elements; rather, it complements, reflects and highlights surrounding materials. Stainless alloys offer excellent atmospheric and chemical resistance and afford a finished permanent surface appearance, as there is no danger of it deteriorating, streaking or staining surrounding materials. Stainless is among the strongest, lightest and corrosion resistant metals available. Sturdy design elements paired with high tensile strength, competitive cost and a wealth of colors and finish options continue to further its use in architectural building applications.
Stainless steel has a thermal coefficient similar to copper. It is a versatile material that is eminently suitable for most building and construction applications, including fascia, gutter, coping, shingles, windows, doors, building entrances, accents and a host of attractive interior and artistic applications. There are however certain applications that require similar preparation to zinc regarding thermal movement and should be observed when using stainless steel for large area wall and roof panels to minimize deflection.
A wide range of surfaces and finishing techniques are available for stainless steel. Color anodized, plated, abraded, mechanically polished, textured and embossed or coated with zinc provides alternatives for the most demanding applications. Appreciation of the range and the methods used is important, since selection of the final finish applied will have a major effect on appearance, corrosion resistance, ease of cleaning and resistance to damage.
Conventional installation and fabrication procedures, similar to those used for other architectural metals, apply to most stainless steel alloys. Its workability is comparable to conventional steel or Titanium. Standard metal forming tools, processing and techniques are employed for stainless steel. Regular MIG or TIG welding procedures is the norm. Stainless steel can be hot soldered and readily accepts adhesives and sealants. Strength to weight ratio simplifies fabrication and permits ease of installation. Stainless steel is available in round or square tube, structural shapes, plate, coil or sheet. Typical thicknesses range from 0.020” to 0.25”, widths up to 60″. Type 304 is most commonly specified for arid architectural applications, while type 316 should be used in coastal projects.
Green Building Product
Sustainable materials are key elements of green buildings. Some benefits of sustainable materials include durability, long life, recyclability, and energy and thermal efficiency. Stainless steel ranks highly in all of these categories.
A Cost Effective Building Material
Stainless steel is competitively priced with other architectural metals. Emerging markets and, more effective production techniques, combined with an abundance of raw material have improved availability and lowered its cost. Stainless steel’s corrosion immunity, strength and physical properties further lower its installed unit cost. Well-researched designs that exploit its unique attributes and long-term savings from durability and low maintenance make stainless steel one of today’s most cost-effective architectural building materials on a lifecycle basis. We selectively partner with vendors offering the highest quality materials available in many sizes, thicknesses, colors and finishes. Please contact us for details. 25-Year Coastal Warranty.