Invented around one century ago as a solution to the common rusting problems of standard grades of the metal, stainless steel has become the material of choice for many building projects nowadays. Unlike other metals, stainless steel has unique properties that allow engineers to take advantage of the steel’s strength in situations when potential corrosion of plated items could constitute a real problem, such as marina docks and trailers or redwood siding, for instance. Still, nowhere else is stainless steel more useful than in the construction industry.
Advantages of stainless steel fasteners in constructions
Facilities need to be strong enough to withstand all sort of weather condition, while keeping the inhabitants and equipment safe. As industries developed and expanded, the use of stainless steel fasteners has also increased exponentially and their benefits over other traditional materials soon became widely recognized. The advantages provided by stainless steel in the construction industry include:
- Strength to withstand extreme conditions
- High ductility
- Certain grades of stainless steel come with non-magnetic properties
- Performs well in both high and low temperatures
- High resistance to staining (hence the name)
- Incredible corrosion resistance
- Aesthetic finish
- Stainless steel is a recyclable material
- Good investment in the long run
Stainless steel and rust
In spite of the popular belief, stainless steel can develop rust similar to any other metal – except gold, platinum and palladium. Even though it is less likely to rust and it is more resilient to corrosion compared to other metals, it is necessary to mention that the smaller percentage of chromium incorporated in the alloy, the more likely the stainless steel is to develop rust.
Nevertheless, if you’re involved in a project that implies using metal fasteners in non-optimal environments, then you should select screws and bolts made of a stainless steel alloy that integrates 18% chromium and 8% nickel. To put it simply, any fastener under the “passivated” category is a good choice for marine applications or geographical locations that see a lot of rainy days and heavy storms.
Stainless steel and strength
It is important to note that even though rust and corrosion will not be an issue for many years to come, the fasteners made of 300 stainless steel alloys are not durable enough to be utilized in heavy industries. Therefore, if you can afford to sacrifice a bit of the alloy’s corrosion resistance for strength – and sometimes cost, depending on the manufacturer – then the 410 stainless steel might be a better choice. What makes the 410 stainless steel unique is its magnetic properties and the fact that it can be heat-treated. This is also the reason why the self-drilling fasteners used in constructions are usually constructed from this alloy.
On a side note, despite the fact that the 410 stainless steel incorporates only 12% chromium and no nickel, that doesn’t mean it will rust easily. After all, let’s not forget that any alloy that integrates at least 12% of chromium in its composition has a moderately high resistance to rust and corrosion.
Started my career in the fastener world in 1969 at, Parker Kalon Corp. a NJ based screw manufacturer located in Clifton, NJ working in inventory control, scheduling secondary production and concluding there in purchasing. In 1971 I accepted a sales position at Star Stainless Screw Co., Totowa, NJ working in inside sales and later as an outside salesman, having a successful career at Star I had the desire with a friend to start our own fastener distribution company in 1980 named: Divspec, Kenilworth, NJ. This was a successful adventure but ended in 1985 with me starting Melfast in August 1985 and have stayed competitive and successful to date. Melfast serves the OEM market with approximately 400 accounts nationally.