3 Ways To Use An Opaque Glass Partition Wall

Here are our top 3 ways to use an opaque glass partition wall:

  1. To provide privacy whilst maintaining natural light
  2. To switch between privacy and transparency
  3. To create a blank canvas

Providing privacy whilst maintaining natural light with an opaque glass partition wall

With an opaque glass partition wall, you get the best of both worlds when it comes to privacy and light. Whichever style of opaque glass you choose to use, it will blur or distort any shapes placed behind it. You can do whatever you want behind that glass and nobody will be any the wiser. Light, including that all-important natural daylight, can still pass through the glass, illuminating the room beyond. The design possibilities are endless!

An increasingly popular design feature in hotels, but certainly suitable for the home as well, is the practice of separating the en-suite bathroom from the rest of the bedroom with an opaque glass partition wall. En-suites are often relatively small, windowless rooms in which you can easily feel closed-in or claustrophobic, especially if the room begins to heat and steam up. Having an opaque glass partition wall opens up the room by allowing natural light to flood in.

In an office, opaque glass walls are brilliant for creating private work spaces or meeting rooms that don’t feel dark and dingy. They even help solve that perennial issue of glare on computer screens.

As well as visually obscuring what’s going on beyond the glass, many opaque glass partition walls have sound insulation properties equal to that of a normal, solid partition wall.

Switching between privacy and transparency

With the advent of intelligent glass, also known as privacy or switchable glass, installing a opaque glass partition wall doesn’t have to mean permanently closing off an area. With just the flick of a switch, an electrical current is applied to the intelligent glass wall and the glass is transformed from opaque to completely transparent. Remove the electrical current again and the glass will revert to its opaque state.

As well as assisting with privacy, intelligent glass also comes with significant temperature control benefits. If the light levels within a room reach a certain level, sensors will detect that and automatically switch the glass to opaque, helping to keep temperatures low.

Creating a blank slate

The surface of an opaque glass partition wall is perfectly smooth and unblemished. This makes it ideal for projecting text or images onto. In a work environment, you could use an opaque glass partition wall in place of a projector screen for presentations in meetings, giving a sleeker and more impressive experience to clients. Back at home, you could turn an opaque glass partition wall into your very own home cinema. Simply sit back and relax as your favourite films, television shows and old family videos appear on your glass wall, free of any unfortunate dents or cracks.

Glass and Stainless can design and produce bespoke opaque glass partition walls, however you plan to use them. Contact us today to discuss your specification.

How To Install Glass Shower Door Handles

Glass shower door handles come in a whole range of styles and sizes. At the most basic level you need to decide whether or not to choose a set of back to back handles that work in pairs, or a single mount handle which can function on its own. You also have the choice of whether or not to have a hollow handle (tubular) or a solid one. Some people prefer the reassurance of a heavier handle whereas others prefer to not push as hard on the handle when it’s wet.

Shape wise, there is practically no limit. For example, you could choose square or circle, H-stye or arch. Some styles are specifically designed with ergonomics in mind for ease of use. Whatever shape of door handle you choose, you then need to consider the finish. The most commonly used options are matte, etched or high-shine.

One important point to bear in mind is that toughened glass cannot be cut. This means that your new shower door handles will need to fit in the same space as your previous ones.

Want to know how to install glass shower door handles? Read our hints and tips below.

Removing The Original Glass Shower Door Handles

Before you install a new glass shower door handle, you will need to remove whatever is already in place. For a single handle:

  • Firstly, you will need to remove the end cap. This is simply the small piece of metal that sits on the inside surface of the door, holding the handle in place. It is approximately ½ inch in size.
  • Initially, the end cap will probably be too stiff to loosen by hand so we would recommend that you use a set of pliers. Simply turn the metal in a counterclockwise direction. Once it is loose enough, you can switch to using your hands, ready to catch the metal which it falls.
  • With the end cap removed the handle will simply slide out of the hole.

How To Install The New Glass Shower Door Handles

Before fitting any new shower door handles, we would always recommend that you give the glass a bit of a clean. Dirt and limescale can easily build up around a door handle, and there will likely be residue from your previous handle. Just use a cloth and a limescale remover to get the job done.

For a double sided handle:

  • Firstly, check whether there is an obvious difference between the two handles. This may indicate that one is meant for you use on the inside surface of the shower e.g. it is designed for greater grip.
  • Decide where the natural and functional position of the exterior door handle is, and line it up with the pre-existing holes in the glass.
  • To help protect the glass and form a seal, some shower door handles come with small rubber washers. These will need to fitted to end of the handle shaft.
  • Once the exterior door handle is in place you’ll want to keep it secure using masking tape.
  • Line up the interior glass shower door handle with the exterior one and screw them both into place. You can then remove the masking tape.

For a single handle, the same principles apply but you will be attaching an end cap in place of an inner handle. To get a tight fit, you’ll probably want to use pliers again. However, you need to be careful that you don’t scratch or otherwise damage the metal or glass. To help prevent this, we would recommend covering the end cap in a piece of cloth.

Glass and Stainless offer a range of glass shower door handles that perfectly suit our frameless glass shower doors. Contact us today to discuss your requirements.

How To Install A Sliding Glass Shower Door (With Frame)

Given the choice between a shower curtain and a glass shower door, we would always recommend the latter. From a practical perspective, they are for more waterproof than a shower curtain as the entire space is sealed shut with no gaps. A glass shower door is easy to maintain, and you don’t need to worry about refitting it every time you want to clean it. If we’ve got you convinced, here is our guide on how to install a glass shower door with frame.

How To Install A Sliding Glass Shower Door (With Frame)

Step 1: Measuring Up

  • As with most DIY projects, the first step of installing a glass shower door is to take accurate measurements. Before you go ahead and buy anything, you need to be sure that it will fit the space you’ve got. Make sure that you measure both the height and width.
  • When buying your glass shower door, make sure that it comes with matching metal tracks, rollers and wall screws.
  • Be aware that the tracks in many shower door kits are slightly longer than needed. You will simply needed to cut them to size.

Step 2: Making Your Marks

  • Before you begin drilling it is important to make clear and accurate marks. These will help you keep everything straight and even, giving a more professional look once completed.
  • You’ll want the glass shower door to rest in the centre of the shower tray lip, so make the centrepoint at regular intervals along it, a minimum of three times.
  • Most models of glass shower door frame columns come with the screw hole pre-cut. You will simply need to line the column up with your central lip markings and make a mark through the hole.
  • If you’re not sure if your markings are perfectly aligned, you could use a vertical spirit level to double check.
  • To avoid permanently marking any tiles or other material, we would recommend that you stick a bit of masking tape over the area. Leave this in place as it will come in handy later.

Step 3: Applying The Silicone Seal

  • The first part that you’re going to install is the threshold.
  • To affix it to the shower door tray lip, we recommend that you use a silicone sealant. It is both waterproof and has a good resistance to mold.
  • Apply the silicone sealant to the flat underside of the threshold using a caulking gun.
  • When moving it into place, make sure that you line it up perfectly with the marks you’d already made. Once you’ve got it how you want press down firmly.
  • For the perfect seal, dip your fingers in some soapy water and then smooth over the bulging sealant, flattening it out.
  • You will need to work relatively quickly as the sealant only takes fives minutes or so to start drying.

Step 4: Drilling Holes For The Columns

  • Drill into the tiles at the points that you have previously marked
  • Make sure you’re using the right drill bit for the job. A ceramic drill bit will typically be made of ground tungsten carbide or diamond, and should be used slowly and steadily.
  • Remember the masking tape that you left in place from early on? By drilling through that instead of bare tile, you minimise the chance of any costly cracks. The tape can also give you a bit more grip than the smooth surface of the tile so you’re less likely to slip with the drill. You can remove the tape once the drilling is done.

Step 5: Inserting The Wall Anchors

  • Use a hammer firmly push the wall anchors into the newly created holes.
  • Wall anchors are used to create a surface onto which the screws can grip.

Step 6: Screw The Column Into Place

  • Hold the column up against the wall so that the pre-cut holes in the metal line up with the wall anchors, and the bottom matches up with the threshold.
  • Use a screwdriver with the provided screws to secure the column in place.
  • Apply silicone sealant with a caulking gun on either side of the column to create a watertight seal.
  • Repeat on the other side.

Step 7: Adding Support To The Top

  • Most glass shower door kits come with a crossmember to attach the two columns together at the top.
  • In most cases, they can simply be fitted by clipping it on at the top. If your columns aren’t evenly lined up you may encounter problems at this stage.

Step 8: Fitting The Glass Shower Door Itself

  • Roller installation varies from manufacturer to manufacturer so please follow the instructions they provide. Typically however, they will simply slide into the threshold.
  • Double check that you’ve got the door the right way round with the door facing outwards before you fit it.
  • Line up the glass panel with the rollers and slowly lower into position. Give the door a few experimental slides to ensure that the movement is smooth.

Finally, we would recommend that you wait 24 hours before using the shower in order to give the silicone sealant time to completely dry. You want to be sure that your glass shower door is as watertight as possible.

Glass and Stainless can design, install and advise on any sliding glass shower door. Contact us today to discuss your requirements.

How To Install A Glass Splashback

Glass splashbacks are a brilliant way of adding a bold splash of colour to any kitchen. They come with the added benefit of having a highly reflective surface which light can easily bounce off, making a room feel bigger and lighter. Here’s how to install a glass splashback in 5 easy steps.

Remember, when working with glass you should always take extra care. Don’t leave the glass splashback somewhere where it could be knocked or damaged. At Glass and Stainless we only use toughened glass which is one of the safest forms out there, but it always pays to be careful. Toughened glass is four times stronger than annealed glass but unlike the latter, it cannot be cut once formed. That’s why Glass and Stainless create each glass splashback bespoke to your needs.

How To Install A Glass Splashback

Step 1: Preparing The Surface

Before you try to install your glass splashback you’ll want to double check that the wall is flat, level and dry. We would also recommend that you give the wall a thorough cleaning. Glass is obviously transparent so you don’t want any unsightly marks or smudges showing through.

Step 2: Measuring Up The Space

The vast majority of glass splashbacks only cover a section of the wall, directly behind the hob. From an aesthetic perspective, you’re going to want to ensure that the splashback is fitted central to the hob rather than offset to one side. Getting this right is all in the measurements. Measure the width of the hob itself and then halve that number. This is the centre point of the hob and you should mark it with a pencil. You will also need to mark out the span of the glass splashback, with the width evenly split either side of the hob centre point.

Step 3: Applying The Silicone Sealant

Before applying any silicone sealant, we would recommend that you protect the kitchen top surface as much as possible. This will save you a lot of time on cleaning up later on. For example, you could place a strip of masking tape along the length of the marked out space. Leave a few millimetres gap from the wall though in order to apply the silicone sealant.

When it comes to installing a glass splashback you should only use a clear silicone, not a white one. The transparent nature of glass means that any other type of silicone will simply ruin the look. When applying the silicone to the back of the glass splashback itself, make sure that the front is resting on a clear, clean surface that won’t scratch the glass surface.

First, apply the silicone sealant in a thin strip in the space where the kitchen wall meets the surface top, within the marked out area. With that done you can turn your attention to the glass itself. Apply a thin beaded line on the back of the glass around the edges. Leave a bit of space between silicone and edge however, as you don’t want the silicone to squish out.

Step 4: Putting The Glass Splashback In Place

To fit the glass splashback, work from the bottom onwards. Line up the bottom edge of the splashback with the silicone sealant that you’ve placed at the junction of wall and surface. Double check that the glass is lined up with pencil marks from earlier. From there, ease the rest of the glass splashback upwards whilst pressing it firmly onto the wall.

Step 5: Wait For The Silicone To Dry

We recommend that you leave the silicone to dry for 24 hours before touching it again. This will ensure that the silicone is dry and the glass splashback is secure.

Glass and Stainless can design, install and advise on any glass splashback tiles. Contact us today to discuss how we can help you.


Planning Your Glass Garden Room Extension

Glass garden room extensions, also known as glass boxes, are an ultra-modern way of opening your home up to the great outdoors. Large frameless glass panels will give you stunning panoramic views, supported by sympathetic aluminium frames. By adding sliding or bifold doors, you can easily step out onto a patio or into the garden.

Striking to look at but also eminently practical, a glass garden room extension can add real value to a property. Having a sheltered living space is ideal for evening dining when you might want some additional warmth or shelter without losing the sensation of being outside. Equally, it could provide protection from the sun on a hot summer’s day.

How is a glass garden room different from a conservatory?

The primary difference between a garden room and conservatory is how substantial it is. A conservatory is built in a similar manner to a standard extension as the intention is that it will be used year round, just like any other room of the house. You might use it in the same way as a living room. A conservatory will require foundations, damp proofing and double glazing. In addition, there is a high ongoing cost due to the expense of heating a conservatory.

In contrast, a glass garden extension is considered to be more of an enclosed section of garden, rather than another room. It feels as much part of the garden as it does the home, particularly when the doors are fully open. There is no requirement here for a percentage of the structure to be made of brick. Instead, you can use floor to ceiling glass with minimal supporting framework to open up your views as much as possible.

Unless the glass garden room is of an unusual height or close to a boundary, you shouldn’t require planning permission. Furthermore, it can typically be erected in a couple of days.  

What are the benefits of a glass garden room extension?

The most obvious advantage of a glass box extension is that you receive the maximum amount of light possible. Aside from the slight frame and any blinds that you choose to install, there is nothing to block the light. Sat inside, you could truly forget that you’re not outside.

Whatever the weather, a glass garden room can offer protection. If you’re finding the hot summer sun to be overwhelming or are concerned about burning, such a structure will provide you with a measure of relief, particularly if you add retractable blinds for added shade. Equally, a sudden downpour shouldn’t keep you from enjoying your garden.

From a design perspective, aluminium frames are available in a range of colours to match the architecture of your home. A powder coating will ensure a stunning and even finish.

At Glass and Stainless, we design and build glass garden rooms in line with your specification and preferred design. If you have any questions about what is possible, do please get in touch.

What sort of glass should you use?

Whilst you can just use standard safety glass for a garden room extension, there are optional extras for you to consider. For example, if overlooking neighbours make you feel uncomfortable, you could choose to use privacy glass. At the flick of a switch, the transparent glass will turn opaque and shield you from view whilst still allowing a degree of light through. Self-cleaning glass is commonly used in this situation thanks to its ability to use UV rays to break down any dirt present on the panels.

Glass and Stainless can design, install and advise on any glass garden room extension. Contact us today to discuss your requirements.

Choosing The Ideal Glass Canopy For Your Front Door

Glass canopies are brilliant for giving visitors an excellent first impression of your building, whether it be a commercial premises or your own lovely home. They’ll be particularly thankful when the weather is awful and they want to shelter from the rain or hail. Meanwhile, you aren’t left rushing to answer the door as quickly as possible and can take your time instead. As well as providing shelter, a glass canopy can also be a stunning architectural feature. It’s just case of finding the right design. Here are some of our best tips for choosing the ideal glass canopy for your front door.

Why choose a glass canopy for your front door?

When it comes to an entranceway canopy, we would almost always recommend using glass. This durable yet incredibly elegant material suits a wide variety of architectural styles. Unlike a solid metal, brick or timber canopy, an abundance of light is still able to reach the covered space. This stops the entrance from feeling or looking enclosed, which can be quite off-putting to visitors. You could use plastic instead of glass but the overall effect tends to be diminished.

Glass is an easy material to clean and maintain. You simply need to use a cleaning solution and cloth. Your regular window cleaner may even be able to do it as part of their round.

Our glass canopies are made from toughened glass, also known as safety glass. In the unlikely event that the glass smashes, any resulting shards will be small and have rounded edges. This will vastly reduce the chance of injury.

What type of glass?

When it comes to choosing the glass canopy for your front door, your options are near endless. We can cut glass bespoke to your design and requirements. Coloured glass can be used to brilliant effect in a glass canopy as the passing light throws gorgeous colour onto your entrance.

If blocking out a hot summer sun is your primary concern, we would recommend choosing a frosted glass. Light is still able to pass through but the shaded area remains cooler. This is particularly useful if your front door contains a glass panel and the hallway is prone to heating up.

What style of canopy?

Crucial to the success of your canopy will be its shape and pitch. We would always recommend that you choose a pitched canopy, even if the angle isn’t huge. A flat roof can be problematic as there is simply nowhere for any water or detritus to drain. Pools of muddy water and piles of leaves begin to build-up and need to be removed by hand.

A curved, convex glass provides excellent drainage and also directs the glass to the left and right of the doorway. If you choose a glass canopy that slopes downwards away from the building, you run the risk of directing water into the path of anyone approaching the front door. Furthermore, if you have a wooden door it is worth considering whether any water is likely to gather close to the door and pose a risk of rot.

Choosing the right frame for your glass is the key to nailing a specific aesthetic. Stainless steel will give your entrance a sharp-edged and contemporary look whereas timber will suggest a more rustic vibe. Often, people like to match their canopy structure with the material and colour used in their front door or window. At Glass and Stainless we can create bespoke canopy structures that perfectly match the architectural style of your building. For example, we could add lots of curved metal flourishes in order to complement an art deco building.

Glass and Stainless can help you create the ideal glass canopy for your front door. Contact us today to discuss your requirements.

Types Of Glass Flooring: Finding The Perfect Finish

Glass is glass right? Wrong! There is a variety of types of glass flooring out there for you to choose from, and each is going to give you a slightly different look. From the opacity of the glass to its shape and colour, the options are numerous. To help you make some important decisions, we’ve pulled together a list of elements to consider.

Types of glass flooring

When it comes to structural glass flooring, your two main choices are toughened and laminated glass. Toughened glass is roughly five times stronger than standard glass, thanks to the unique process by which it is made. During its creation, it is heated to 650°C and then swiftly cooled. Toughened glass is incredibly hard to smash but should it do so, the glass crumbles rather than shatter into shards.

Laminated glass, meanwhile, contains a thin layer of plastic. Should the glass shatter, the shards stick to this resin layer and prevent them from flying through the air. The shards themselves are smaller and rounded than standard annealed glass. Adding plastic to the centre of the glass necessarily makes it thicker, resulting in a great insulator.

Depending on your preferences, you might want to choose a low iron glass for you structural glass floor. Most types of glass flooring have a slight blue-green tint to them due to the presence of iron within the glass. Iron is necessary to the creation of glass but the levels can be lowered to give a clearer glass without the tint.

Whichever glass you choose, ensure that it has been subject to architectural testing. Any supplier, such as Glass and Stainless, should be able to confirm this.

Shapes of glass flooring

Glass is an incredibly versatile material which can be cut bespoke to your needs, whether that is a traditional square or rectangle or something a bit different, like a circle or triangle. With more unusual shapes you will need to consider the distribution of the glass’s weight and how it will be supported. We are more than willing to provide you with advice on this subject.

If you wish to create a grid-like effect with multiple smaller glass panels, we would recommend that you choose glass pavers. If you want a sleeker look with large sheets of glass, possibly even just one, you will need bespoke cast glass. Ensure that any panes aren’t so large that they become unwieldy and difficult to install.

Opacity of glass flooring

Having a glass floor doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to sacrifice your privacy, in either the upper or lower space. You can choose whether you have a transparent or opaque glass. With an opaque glass, light can still pass between the spaces but people won’t be able to make out distinctive shapes. Sandblasting and acid etching are both options for creating the distinctive frosted effect.

Safety of glass flooring

The smooth surface of glass can be a concern for the more clumsy among us! Thankfully, anti-slip technology exists to make structural glass floors more practical. A common approach is to acid etch a subtle design into the top of the glass. We would certainly recommend that you apply an anti-slip surface to any external glass flooring. Inside the house or commercial space, we would suggest that you use it in areas with high traffic, such as corridors. Kitchens are another area to consider given the number of spillages.

Glass and Stainless can advise you on different types of glass flooring for your situation. Contact us today to discuss your requirements.

How Best to Use Bespoke Glass

Whatever the project, things always feel so much better with design and installation work when you can create with freedom.

Off the shelf, prefabricated products might offer convenience, but you are restricted in where and how you can use them. What if the space you are working with does not fit the dimensions available? What if the shape is irregular?

One of the reasons glass is so popular in building and design is the flexibility it offers. Bespoke glass services mean you can get panels cut to order precisely to suit the size and style you need. Not only does it give you freedom and control, it is also cost effective. And to make it even more convenient and easy, nowadays you can order bespoke glass online.

So when might bespoke glass be the ideal solution? Here are some examples of how to use bespoke glass to the best of its potential.

Glass Balustrades

Installing glass balustrades around a patio or decked area, on a balcony or balconette, or even on an interior landing, can create a stunning visual effect. But it is unlikely that pre-cut glass panels will fit the area exactly, and people can sometimes assume it would be too expensive to opt for a bespoke solution. This is not the case. Bespoke cut-to-measure glass is cost effective and straightforward, meaning you can get the perfect balustrade any place you wish.


If you want to open or brighten up an interior space, an all glass staircase can be the perfect way to make a statement in your home or office. Staircase balustrade systems are often manufactured at a standard height, but what if you want to go all the way and have glass treads as well? The width of these will vary from installation to installation, so bespoke cutting is the only option.


Glass partitions can seem quite a functional way to divide interior spaces. But with a little creativity and imagination, they can be used to create an exciting design feature in their own right. Choosing textured, patterned or coloured glass can help you make more of a simple partition. These specialised glass types are available through good bespoke glass cutting services.

Shower Screens and Fittings

Revamping a bathroom with a new shower or adding an en suite to a bedroom are two of the most common home refurbishment projects people embark on. Often these will involve squeezing showers into little nooks and crannies to make the most of the space available, with dimensions and shapes which don’t suit prefabricated cubicles. Don’t let that put you off, however – glass shower fixtures and fittings can be easily made to measure.


As with glass partitions, don’t make the mistake of thinking a splashback on a hob or range has to be purely functional. It offers a fantastic opportunity to add a touch of style and something unique to your kitchen, so take it. Again, look at options such as patterned or coloured glass, or at stencils and prints you can add. Have the glass cut to measure, taking advantage of the opportunity to introduce different shapes.

Join Glass & Stainless at the NEC!

What have you got planned for the last weekend in March?

If you’ve got nothing on, why not head to the UK’s biggest home design and fabrications industry extravaganza – the National Homebuilding & Renovation Show?

While you are there, you can stop by and say hello to the Glass & Stainless team, who are all delighted to exhibiting at the event once again.

The year’s first leg of the National Homebuilding & Renovation Show takes place at the NEC in Birmingham from Thursday 23rd to Sunday 26th March.

Talk to the Glass & Stainless Experts

The exhibition is a fantastic opportunity to kickstart your next project. Bringing together experts from all corners of the homebuilding industry, it gives you a unique opportunity to meet specialists face to face, get one to one advice, and view the latest products first hand.

The Glass & Stainless team will be on hand to answer all of your questions and talk you through our bespoke range of products and services in person. It is a great opportunity to come along and ask our advice face to face if you are:

  • planning on installing a new staircase or want advice on making your stairwell and landing lighter and more spacious;
  • considering adding a balcony or Juliet balcony to the exterior of your home;
  • looking for fresh new ideas for adding a balustrade system around your garden decking.

At the show, we will be able to show you first hand some of the stylish and contemporary effects you can achieve with glass and stainless steel in your interior designs. You can see for yourself how it can open up space and create bright, eye catching finishes. And our experts will be able to talk you through the best options for your project step by step, from design to choosing the right products and materials through to installation.

Find Inspiration

While you are at the show, of course, you will be able to get inspiration from hundreds of other vendors showing off the latest brands in home construction and renovation. It is a great opportunity to see everything all under one roof, without having to spend hours surfing the internet – or driving all over the country visiting different showrooms!

As well as exhibitors displaying and offering advice on their products, the show has a full programme special events to attend. A whole host of self build and home improvement specialists have been signed up to deliver seminars and master classes throughout the weekend. You can even pick up DIY tips from professional builders during the ever popular Tricks of the Trade talks.

The NEC event is the first of seven Homebuilding & Renovation Show events scheduled for 2017. So if you cannot make it to Birmingham, look out for events closer to you later in the year in Glasgow, Surrey, London, Edinburgh, Harrogate and Somerset. A full calendar can be viewed here.

Get in touch with us today for a free ticket! 

How to maintain stainless steel


Stainless steels are selected in applications where their inherent corrosion resistance, strength and aesthetic appeal are required.

However, dependent on the service conditions, stainless steels will stain and discolour due to surface deposits and so cannot be assumed to be completely maintenance free. In order to achieve maximum corrosion resistance and aesthetic appeal, the surface of the stainless steel must be kept clean. Provided the grade of stainless steel and the surface finish are correctly selected, and cleaning schedules carried out on a regular basis, good performance and long service life will result.

Factors Affecting Maintenance

Surface contamination and the formation of deposits must be prevented. These deposits may be minute particles of iron or rust from other sources used on the building of new premises and not removed until after the stainless steel items have been fixed. Industrial and even naturally occurring atmospheric conditions can produce deposits, which can be equally corrosive, e.g. salt deposits from marine conditions.

Working environments can also provide aggressive conditions such as heat and humidity, in a swimming pool buildings. These conditions can result in surface discoloration of stainless steels and so maintenance on a more frequent basis may be required.

Modern processes use many cleaners, sterilizers and bleaches for hygienic purposes. Proprietary solutions, when used in accordance with makers’ instructions, should be safe but if used incorrectly (e.g. warm or concentrated), may cause discolouration or corrosion on stainless steels. Strong acid solutions are sometimes used to clean masonry and tiling of buildings. These acids should never be used where contact with metals, including stainless steel is possible, but if this happens, the acid solution must be removed immediately, followed by dilution and rinsing with clean water.

Maintenance Programme

With care taken during fabrication and installation, cleaning before “hand-over” should not present any problems. More attention may be required if the installation period has been prolonged or hand-over delayed. Where surface contamination is suspected, immediate cleaning after site fixing should avoid problems later. Food handling, pharmaceutical, aerospace and certain nuclear applications required extremely high levels of cleanliness applicable to each industry.

The frequency of cleaning is dependent on the application; a simple rule is; “Clean the metal when it is dirty in order to restore its original appearance”.

This may vary from once to four times a year for external applications, but may be daily for items in “hygienic” applications. Recommendations on cleaning frequencies in architectural applications are shown in Table 2.

Cleaning Methods

Stainless steel is easy to clean. Washing with soap or mild detergent and warm water followed by a clear water rise is usually quite adequate for domestic and architectural equipment.

Where stainless steel has become extremely dirty with signs of surface discolouration (perhaps following periods of neglect, or misuse) alternative methods of cleaning can be used, as outlined in the Table 1.

Table 1 Summary of Cleaning Methods for Stainless Steels

Requirement Suggested Method 1,2 Comments
Routine cleaning of light soiling Soap, detergent or dilute (1%) ammonia solution in warm clean water. Apply with a clean sponge, soft cloth or soft-fibrebrush then rinse in clean water and dry Satisfactory on most surfaces
Fingerprints Detergent and warm water, alternatively, hydrocarbon solvent Proprietary spray-applied polishes available to clean and minimise remarking
Oil and grease marks Hydrocarbon solvents (methylated spirit, isopropyl alcohol or acetone) 2 Alkaline formulations are also available with surfactant additionse.g.”D7″ Polish1
Stubborn spots, stains and light discolouration
Water marking. Light
Mild, non-scratching creams and polishes. Apply with soft cloth or soft sponge and rinse off residues with clean water and dry6,7 Avoid cleaning pastes with abrasive additions.3 Suitable cream cleansers are available with soft calcium carbonate additions, e.g. “Cif”’, or with the addition of citric acid, e.g. “Shiny Sinks”1
Do not use chloride solutions8,9
Burnt on food or carbon deposits Pre-soak in hot water with detergent or ammonia solution. Remove deposits with nylon brush and fine scouring powder if necessary. Repeat if necessary and finish with ” routine cleaning” Abrasive souring powder can leave scratch marks on polished surfaces
Tannin (tea) stains and oily deposits in coffee urns Tannin stains – soak a hot solution of washing soda i.e. sodium carbonate
Coffee deposits – soak in a hot solution of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate)
These solutions can also applied with a soft cloth or sponge. Rinse with clean water.
Satisfactory on most surfaces.
Adherent hard water scales and mortar/cement splashes 10-15 volume % solution of phosphoric acid. Use warm neutralise with dilute ammonia solution, rinse with clean water and dry6. Alternatively soak in a 25% vinegar solution and use a nylon brush to remove deposits Proprietary formulations available with surfactant additions
Take special care when using hydrochloric acid based mortar removers 8,9
Heating or heavy discolouration a) Non-scratching cream or polish e.g. Solvol Auto Chrome Metal Polish 1,9
b) Nylon-type pad, e.g. ‘Scotchbrite’3,4,5
Creams are suitable for most finishes, but only use “Solvol” on bright polished surfaces. Some slight scratching can be left.
Use on brushed and polished finishes along the grain.
Badly neglected surfaces with accumulated grime deposits A fine, abrasive paste as used for car body refinishing, e.g. ‘T-cut’ rinsed clean to remove all paste material & dried1 May brighten dull finishes
To avoid a patchy appearance, the whole surface may need to be treated
Paint, graffiti Proprietary alkaline or solvent paint strippers, depending upon paint type. Use soft nylon or bristle brush on patterned surfaces Apply as directed by manufacturer



Table 2 Cleaning Frequency in Architectural Applications for

Location 1.4016 (430) 1.4301 (304)
Internal As required to maintain appearance or design
Industrial or urban Grade not recommended 3-6 months 6-12 months
Coastal or marine Grade not recommended Grade not recommended Grade not recommended

1. The products referenced in this information sheet are understood to be suitable for stainless steels. However, no endorsement of the products or their manufacturers is implied and it is acknowledged that other manufacturing companies may provide products of equal or better quality.
The following companies manufacture proprietary names mentioned: –
“Cif” (Jif) – Lever Brothers Ltd
“Shiny Sinks” – Home Products Ltd
“Ajax” – Colgate Palmolive Ltd
“D7 Stainless Steel Polish” – Diversey Ltd
“T-Cut” – Automotive Chemicals Ltd
“Solvol Auto Chrome Metal Polish” – Hammerite Products Ltd
2. Cleaning agents should be approved for use under the relevant national environmental regulations and, in addition, prepared and used in accordance with the manufacturers or suppliers’ health & safety instructions. Solvents should not be used in enclosed areas.
Before commencing any task ensure that you have received the appropriate health and safety literature from the supplier and fully understand it. If in doubt seek advice.
3. Nylon abrasive pads should be adequate for dealing with most deposits. If a more severe treatment is needed to mask coarse scratches or physical damage on a surface, use the finest abrasive medium consistent with covering the damage marks. With directional brushed and polished finishes, align and blend the new “scratch pattern” with the original finish, checking that the resulting finish is aesthetically acceptable. Silicon carbide media may be used, especially for the final stages of finishing. Avoid using hard objects such as knife blades and certain abrasive/souring agents as it is possible to introduce surface scuffs and scratches. Scratching is particularly noticeable on sink drainer areas. These are usually superficial and can be removed with proprietary stainless steel cleaners or, alternatively, with a car paint restorer, such as “T-cut”.
4. If wire brushes are used, these should be made of a similar or better grade of stainless steel. Ensure that all abrasive media used are free from sources of contamination, especially iron and chlorides
5. When cleaning a surface with any chemical preparation or abrasive medium, a trial should be done on a small, unobtrusive hidden or non-critical area of the surface, to check that the resulting finish matches with the original.
6. To avoid water marks, use clean rinsing water, such as reasonable quality potable (tap) water. Drying marks may be avoided using an air blower or wiping with clean disposable wipes.
7. Rust marks or staining on stainless steels is unlikely to be the result of corrosion to the stainless steel itself (similar marks may also be found on porcelain and plastic sinks). These marks are likely to result from small particles of “ordinary” (non-stainless) steel from wire wool or scouring pads becoming attached or embedded in the surface. In the damp environment of a sink, these iron particles rust and cause staining. Rust marks may be removed using non-scratching creams or alternatively using an oxalic acid solution, where iron particles have been embedded in the surface. Special precautions are necessary with oxalic acid, as, although it may not “burn” unprotected skin, it is poisonous, if ingested

8. Chloride-containing solutions, including hydrochloric acid-based cleaning agents and hypochlorite bleaches can cause unacceptable surface staining and pitting, and should not be used in contact with stainless steels. Under no circumstances should concentrated bleaches contact decorative stainless steel surfaces. Hydrochloric acid based solutions, such as silver cleaners, or building mortar removal solutions must not be used in contact with stainless steels. Hypochlorite containing bleaches must be used in the dilutions suggested in the manufacturers’ instructions and contact times kept to a minimum. Thorough rinsing after use is very important. A frequent cause of staining and micropitting of stainless steels is splashing with undiluted bleach solutions and mortar cleaners. Soaking stainless steel sinks or cookware in dilute bleach solutions for long periods e.g. overnight is not advisable. Similarly, common salt added during cooking or concentrated salt/vinegar mixtures may cause pitting over a period of time. It is good practice to wash stainless steel surfaces after food preparation and cooking.
9. Heavy heat tinting (oxidation) of stainless steel surfaces is unlikely to be encountered in normal use. Normally repeated cleaning with non-scratching creams should remove burn marks from stainless steel cookware, but in exceptional cases, (e.g. after a repair requiring welding or after fire damage) it may be necessary to clean these areas using nitric acid-hydrofluoric acid pickling pastes or a nitric acid passivation solution. Changes in surface appearance usually result when cleaning with these acids. Strong acids should only be used for on-site cleaning when all other methods have been proved unsatisfactory. Nitric and phosphoric acids can be used with care for cleaning and maintenance on stainless steels but sulphuric and hydrochloric acids can be very corrosive and should not be used for cleaning and maintenance of stainless steel items. Citric acid cleaners are less potentially hazardous. Rubber gloves should be used when handling strong acids and care taken to avoid spillage over adjacent areas (see note 2).
10. If all the suggestions and actions in the table have been attempted unsuccessfully, it is worth bearing in mind that stainless steel can be mechanically polished or electropolished by specialists on site. Stainless steel is homogenous and does not rely on surface plating or its corrosion resistance. If in difficulty contact your supplier or the BSSA

Assessment of Cleaners and Polishes for use on Stainless Steels
British Steel Swinden Technology Centre – Confidential Report SL/SSE/RGC/S1147/1/97/R
PF Freeman
Architects Guide to Stainless Steel
Steel Construction Institute – SCI–P–179
N Baddoo, R Burgan, R Ogden