Why I love the look of stainless steel balustradesOctober 7, 2018
What comes to mind when you think of stainless steel balustrades? It’s probably something curvy, shiny, and chilly to the touch. Stainless steel fencing is all that, but it’s also convenient, affordable, and stylishly modern. It’s deceptively sturdy despite its lightweight structuring and works just as well indoors and outdoors. Their glossy neutral appearance makes them easy to accessorise, so they can be co-opted into any decorative theme.
Paired with the right lighting, it can open up your space with its pretty reflective surfaces. Stainless steel balusters can be used to frame a glass fence, but they can also be used as a standalone fencing option. Their main disadvantage is they don’t offer much privacy, but you can correct this by adding a papyrus screen or planting pretty creepers through the steel frames. Let’s look at those other advantages.
Easy to maintain
You may have seen ‘rust spots’ on stainless steel and wondered what that was about. After all, doesn’t ‘stainless’ imply no discolouration? Well, when your stainless steel products rust, it’s usually because a lot of steel rose to the surface, so it’s the steel bits that are rusting. This can happen in marine environments, because sea-salt corrodes chromium, which is the element which makes the steel stainless. Regular steel can rust just like any other metal.
It can also happen with kitchen utensils or sinks after cleaning with steel abrasive pads. Still, regular maintenance can protect your chromium. You don’t need to do any scrubbing. Just wipe the fence with damp cloth or microfibre. You can also use cleaning products formulated for stainless steel. The bars will likely get fingerprints and watermarks, so you can wipe them with soft cloth to remove the smudges. Frequent buffing will prevent accumulated grime.
Stainless steel balusters are usually hollowed out to make them lighter, but the thickness of those pipes can vary. It could be as thin as wire or as wide as an inch. The styling options are endless. Your stainless steel can be carved, rounded, angular, or coiled into intricate designs. Because it can be bent into shape, you can use it on staircases, corners, and curves. You can thread them through wooden poles or use stainless steel throughout. It’s a popular option for emergency exits and stuffy corridors, because it allows air to circulate freely.
The reflective aspect of the metal also brightens dimly lit spaces. Also, stainless steel has certain connotations. In the same way that wood recalls the rustic charm of country living, stainless steel invokes industrial style, minimalist décor, and modern living. And even though they’re unpleasantly cold on your fingers (and can scorch you on a particularly hot day), they can survive lots of variation in ambient temperature including fire and heat waves.
Don’t let their skinny appearance fool you. Those narrow steel tubes can hold several hundred kilos of weight. That’s why they’re so commonly used for staircases and balconies. They look delicate and wispy, but try leaning against one and you’ll realise how much mass they can support. They’re also quite easy to install and don’t need extra treatment or attention. In comparison to wood or iron, a stainless steel fence is a breeze.
Stainless steel rods are stylish, giving your space a certain sleek elegance. They do need specialists to install them though, because they have to be laid in the right positions and carefully welded to avoid leaving dark spots on the metal. Your installer needs to be particularly keen at the joints because that’s where any potential weaknesses or breakages will appear, and the results of a detached rod can be catastrophic.
Other types of fencing can be assembled offsite then carted into place. Even aluminium balusters are cast at the factory then screwed or hammered into place. Stainless steel can only be welded on-site, so you have to be extra careful in your choice of labourers. Get referrals and check that they’re insured against work-site accidents. On the upside, they can tailor your stainless steel rods to your taste. They could even be coiled to spell your name.
Balustrades generally remain at waist height, and this works with stainless steel, because the low height gives added stability. With such narrow piping, the longer they are, the more likely they are to buckle. That’s why the horizontal rods are frequently interspersed with vertical reinforcement. That said, stainless steel rods may be good conductors, but they’re heat resistant are won’t warp in warmer climes. You can also top your stainless steel fence with timber handrails, but remember to seal the wood against water and wood pests.