When it comes to designing and outfitting coastal homes, the choice of materials is paramount. One material that has gained significant popularity in recent years, particularly for railings, is stainless steel. Its unique combination of durability, aesthetics, and resistance to coastal environmental challenges makes it a compelling option for homeowners looking to enhance both safety and style.
Coastal homes are subjected to a range of environmental stressors, including saltwater exposure, humidity, high winds, and the occasional storm surge. These factors can wreak havoc on traditional railing materials like wood or iron, leading to corrosion, rotting, and fading. Stainless steel railings, however, are designed to withstand such conditions.
Perhaps because we often think of stainless steel as a “finish” many people think that it is just steel with a special finish applied on top. But, stainless steel is actually an alloy, or a mixture of two metals. Stainless steel must be steel mixed with at least 11% chromium. It may also have other metals or nonmetals mixed in to improve its properties for specific uses. Thanks to their chromium content, stainless steel railings exhibit exceptional corrosion resistance, ensuring that they maintain their structural integrity and appearance even in the harshest coastal environments.
Durability is a key factor in the appeal of stainless steel railings. They require minimal maintenance compared to other railing materials, such as wood which may need regular staining or painting to keep them looking good. Stainless steel railings, on the other hand, only require occasional cleaning to remove salt residue and maintain their lustrous finish. This not only saves homeowners time and effort but also reduces the long-term maintenance costs associated with railing upkeep.
Many of our railings use 316 marine grade steel, which is among the best performing options. It is resistant to a wider range of corrosive medias and can even resist the corrosion issues which occur from welding. This steel has molybdenum mixed in to achieve this resistance. As its name would suggest, marine grade steel can withstand salt spray and brine, two of the most corrosive medias for steel, which cause pitting corrosion. Most steels resist crevice corrosion, but marine grade steel is known for better resistance to pitting corrosion.
Stainless steel railings also offer an aesthetic appeal that complements the coastal setting. Their sleek and modern appearance can effortlessly blend with various architectural styles, from contemporary beachfront villas to traditional coastal cottages. Stainless steel’s reflective surface can even contribute to the illusion of a larger space, which can be particularly advantageous in smaller coastal homes where maximizing the sense of openness is crucial.
Moreover, stainless steel railings provide an added layer of safety to coastal homes, especially if they are built on elevated platforms or cliffs. The high tensile strength of stainless steel ensures that these railings can withstand the force of accidental impacts and provide a reliable barrier for homeowners and visitors alike. This is especially relevant in areas prone to high winds and rough seas, where sturdy railings can prevent accidents and offer peace of mind.
In terms of design versatility, stainless steel railings offer various customization options. Homeowners can choose from a variety of styles and finishes. Brushed, satin, and matte finishes are among the choices to choose. This adaptability allows homeowners to select the perfect railing design that complements their home’s architecture and personal aesthetic preferences.
While stainless steel railings undoubtedly offer numerous advantages for coastal homes, it’s essential to consider potential downsides as well. One primary concern is the initial cost, as stainless steel railings can be more expensive upfront than some other materials. However, when factoring in the reduced maintenance costs and extended lifespan, the long-term value becomes evident.
Stainless steel railings are a smart and practical choice for coastal homes. Their remarkable durability, low maintenance requirements, aesthetic appeal, and safety-enhancing features make them well-suited to the challenges posed by coastal environments. Despite a slightly higher initial investment, the benefits they provide in terms of longevity and overall value make them a sound investment for homeowners looking to secure and beautify their coastal abodes. Whether you’re looking for a contemporary edge or a timeless charm, stainless steel railings are sure to enhance the allure and safety of your coastal residence.