What exactly is ‘stainless steel’ and do you need 316 marine grade stainless for your house number or house name?
When it comes to choosing the right steel for your external numbers or signage there can be a lot of misleading information. All steels have a basic iron and carbon composition, but stainless steel will also contain chromium and nickel, and it is this alloy that gives stainless its famous resistance to corrosion in wet conditions.
There are multiple grades in the ‘stainless’ category, each with a slightly different alloy composition, and therefore slightly different characteristics when it comes to durability. The two most common grades of stainless steel are 304 and 316 which are the grades that we use of the manufacture of our house numbers and house names.
316 is the superior option due to the presence of molybdenum, an alloy that enhances corrosion resistance even further. 316 stainless steel is often called ‘marine grade stainless’ as it is resistant to the salt corrosion that happens in coastal areas where the sea-salt gets into the air. Whilst this exceptional quality grade is often used for producing exterior signage it is simply not necessary if you live inland, and you can save money by opting for the lower grade of 304 which will be perfectly weather resistant if sea salt is not in the air.
So how close to the sea will I need 316 grade house numbers?
Generally speaking we advise within 3km of the sea is the necessary area for 316 numbers, however geographical considerations such as estuaries and islands can also play a part in the way sea salt influences the surroundings. For example customers on Jersey, Guernsey or other UK islands will have sea salt coming from all directions even if they live in the centre of the island so 316 would always be advisable. Take a look at the map below of the river dart in Devon; the pin in the map is 5km from the coast line, but right on the shore of a river estuary, where the tide is rising and falling every day. The hills either side of the river mouth will also help to channel the wind up the river from the sea, and so the salt level in the air will be much higher.
5km away from the coast, but right next to a river estury? We would reccomend a 316 steel here!
Which of your house numbers are 316 grade?
We offer 8 stock styles of 304 stainless steel house numbers, as well as one stock range of modern 316 house numbers. We can also cut these styles to order in the alternate grade, and offer a custom font service for your house number if you can’t see something you like. All our bespoke signage can be produced in either grade too, so just ask us if you would like a sign like THE ENGINE HOUSE below in 316 grade.
Do you offer other materials that are okay for use by the sea?
Power coatings can be applied to any of our products and these durable industrial coatings can be used on signage right next to the sea. We regularly coat in Anthracite Grey and Black, but any RAL number can be used to match in with any other architectural features in your home or for a pop of colour. ‘The Lookout’ sign below was installed onto an amazing holiday rental property in Wyke Regis, Dorset where the coastal elements hit the anthracite grey surface daily.