What are the benefits of stainless steel fixings?
Stainless steel is an alloy of iron that contains chromium. Chromium produces a thin layer of oxide on the surface of the steel known as the ‘passive layer’. It’s this layer that stops corrosion of the surface. Increased chromium equals increased resistance to corrosion. Adding other alloying elements can make stainless steel even more corrosion resistant and also add to its strength, making it more tensile.
So why is this a benefit? As an iron alloy, stainless steel is already a strong material with plenty of durable properties. Even the most simplified compositions of stainless steel provide resistance to weathering and corrosion but the combination of elements makes stainless steel a material to be messed with.
Plus, all chemical compositions of stainless steel are tested against ISO 15510:2014 to make sure they’re compliant. The mechanical properties of stainless steel fixings are put to the test in accordance EN ISO 3506 (1–4).
But that’s enough science. The real question is ‘why are stainless steel fixings good for your project?’
Not that this has been mentioned a lot already but stainless steel is resistant to corrosion. Low alloyed grades resist corrosion in atmospheric conditions; highly alloyed grades can resist corrosion in most acids, alkalines, and chloride-bearing environments, even at elevated temperatures and pressures.
Why is this helpful? It means you can install stainless steel fixings anywhere and you don’t have to worry about them corroding and falling apart—damaging infrastructure and money output.
For stainless steel washers and fixings used in waterside/oceanic applications, this is particularly helpful in sustaining a long life resistance against water/salt/rust.
High and low-temperature resistance
Cold temperatures? No problem. Rising heat? Also no problem. The ‘creep rate’ (deformation) of stainless steel is very minimal even at high heats. Forms of stainless steel can even be used in cryogenic applications.
Unless the temperatures that your stainless steel fixings will be exposed to is extremely high or low, s/s can withstand damage and retain its properties even after exposure.
Stainless steel is strong and with chemical composition alteration, it can be made stronger. The tensile strength of stainless steel fixings, dependent on selected thickness, can provide a supportive, long-term anchoring to make sure the quality of your project isn’t impacted.
When you’re completing a project, you need to know that it’s going to go together just how you want it to. And why ‘invest’ in a fixing that is going to need replacing or cause fixtures to change shape or position—possibly present a health and safety risk.
Stainless steel is available in many surface finishes. It is easily and simply maintained resulting in a high quality, pleasing appearance. For exposed fixings such as stainless steel bolts, it reduces the pressure of feeling like you need to do extra work to hide them. But for hidden fixings such as stainless steel nails or screws, you don’t have to worry about being able to access them as they don’t require maintenance.
Should your stainless steel need a spruce up, wire brushes can make short work of any contaminants on the surface of the fixing.
Life cycle characteristics
Stainless steel is a durable, corrosion-resistant (not sure we mentioned that) and low maintenance material. In terms of life long ROI, stainless steel fixings are often the least expensive choice in a life cycle cost comparison.
Stainless steel alternatives
The biggest and most important point about stainless steel is that the entirety of the fastener is stainless. It isn’t just a coating. Its strength and rust protection are throughout.
Alternatives such as zinc plated fixings are plated. Although it’s usually steel that is plated, this layer can eventually wear away to expose a ‘weaker’ layer beneath. The primary draw of zinc coatings for steel projects is its effectiveness at warding off the oxidation that typically leads to rust and corrosion. Before rust can reach the metal itself, zinc forms a barrier that makes the onset of corrosion. With stainless steel, there is no barrier because the whole product is resistant.
Zinc is rarely used in its pure form but its blended products such as brass, copper and aluminium are considered a more cost-effective solution than stainless steel. They are rustproof and durable but the strength and aesthetic appearance are greatly reduced. There’s also a high chance they will need replacements.
Stainless steel is the more pricey options out of its alternatives but stainless steel is a lifetime investment. Avoid frustration, replacement costs and possible larger damages with a stainless steel fixing that can guarantee it’ll maintain the same properties throughout its life.
Who uses stainless steel fixings?
Stainless steel fixings can be used in areas of high pollution e.g., cities and near major traffic routes, and also near coastal regions and areas that are damp in general. With stainless steel fixings, your projects don’t have to be limited and you don’t need to put a lot of thought into sourcing a specific fixing for a project by the sea or an inner-city home application.
Compared to alternatives, stainless steel fixings are also much more widely available as an off the shelf solution so contractors and project managers can have access to the quantities and types they need to stay in-line with production schedules.
One of the major benefits of stainless steel is the fact that the protective surface is often self-repairing. If it becomes lightly damaged by scratches, the exposed inner layer of the material will react with oxygen to create a new layer to protect the underlying material. Combined with low maintenance, contractors and installers can be confident that any minor damage incurred during projects won’t result in long-term issues.
These fixings can be used in almost any sector; from hospitality to healthcare to education and luxury architecture. The combined qualities of good-looking finish, durable life and elemental resistance make them the best choice out there for project leaders that don’t want to compromise.
Where to order stainless steel fixings
Anchor Fixings are a dedicated company that specialises in the supply of standard and non-standard fixings to the construction and related industries throughout Ireland and the UK. Our customers are the most valued part of our business and we understand what it takes to meet their demands.
If you want a company that aims to reduce your downtime by keeping a huge range of stainless steel fixings in stock and delivers them directly to your site upon request, then Anchor Fixings is the solution for you. Open an account with us today and utilise our easy-to-use, fast enquiry basket service to make your process even quicker.
So if you want the best from your next project, choose us to supply you with the best stainless steel fixings. Find out more or place an order by contacting us today on 028 9084 2373 or email [email protected]
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This article was written by Anchor Fixings Director Andy Walker.