Stainless steel railing usually rusts only externally


If a stainless steel railing rusts, the cause may be in a wrongly chosen alloy or be sought in external influences. In addition to mechanical damage to the oxide layer, extraneous metal and dirt particles that have been impacted from the outside can also lead to rust, which is usually referred to as flash rust.

Rust settles on the surface

Whether a stainless steel railing rusts or not depends in most cases on the local conditions of the construction site. The two most typical triggers are sulfur-containing car exhausts and airborne road salt particles. Experienced handyman fitters know they should only use high alloyed V4A stainless steel near busy roads, highways, railways and even in saltwater catchments.

When the stainless steel is rusting, in the majority of cases, an external cause is crucial. Lower alloyed stainless steels do not rust, but form on their surface a better "runway" for attacks of other substances. The same effect can be caused by a coarsely ground surface. For stainless steel grinding and polishing, no damage to the passivating oxide layer may occur even with brushed versions.

Too much and wrong care can be counterproductive

Obviously, once absurd, the advice sounds like a stainless steel railing not too strong and often to maintain. The strongest protection of stainless steel against rust is the forming passive layer by oxidation. If aggressive cleaners and mechanical forces are used to remove the rust, this self-protection capability will be impaired.

Regrinding a railing to remove the rust must be done with a minimum grade of 600. Treatments such as pickling or electropolishing are less promising because they also affect the passive layer formation. A high alloy stainless steel railing should be polished about twice a year.

When choosing care products, it is essential to ensure that they are free from chloride and iron. Pickling should not be too aggressive and care must be taken to ensure perfect removal and drying of the stainless steel surfaces after the care measures.

Tips & Tricks

You protect your stainless steel railing, especially in the winter season by the order of protective sprays such as Caramba or WD-40. The spray film, which you should renew about every two weeks, prevents rust formation caused by road salt particles.


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