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Stainless steel rolled finishes provide both aesthetic and functional advantages for all types of stainless steel applications. These unique steel finishes are available in course, flat, reflective, and non-reflective options, providing enhanced metal protection and lasting visual allure. Whether you’re looking for a stainless steel finish that protects or enhances the stainless steel’s visual appeal, there are several options available that deliver the results you need.Check out our selection of Stainless Steel at IMS!
Stainless Steel Finishing OptionsYour application requirements will largely determine the finishing options you need. Finishing options are numbered one through eight, with higher numbers more reflective than lower numbers. Lower numbers have a more matte finish, whereas higher numbers have a reflective, polished finish.
Stainless Steel Mill FinishesMill finishes offer a matte finish for stainless steel. It is ideal for applications that do not require bright finishes, or durability remains the most critical factor.
#1D FinishThe No.1D stainless steel mill finish requires hot rolling and minimal finishing to produce a uniform microstructure known as annealing to achieve its desired effect. This process results in the coarsest stainless steel finish available. The #1D finish creates a scale-like finish that is darker and more varied than other stainless steel finishes.
#2D FinishThe #2D finish is perpetuated through a cold-rolled, annealed, and pickling process that creates a dull matte appearance that is non-reflective. The #2D finish is ideal for gutters, drainage functions, and lubricants' retention in deep drawing applications.
#2B FinishProviding a bright/high polish appearance, the #2B stainless steel finish is achieved through cold rolling, annealing, and pickling. The #2B finish is well-suited for solar panels and architectural applications. 304 and 316 grade stainless steels are often manufactured with a #2B finish.
Bright Annealed (BA) FinishBA finish is bright annealed with a smooth reflective surface and cold-rolled processed. BA finish is similar to the #8 mirror finish but without a clear finish and an unscaled surface. BA finish is ideal for various fabrication projects and is often viewed as a lower-cost alternative to a buffed #7 or #8 mirror finish.
Stainless Steel Brushed FinishesBrushed finishes offer a reflective option with parallel or patterned lines. Brushed finishes are often used for buildings and architectural applications.
#3 FinishAlso referred to as grinding, roughing, or rough grinding, the #3 finish is a 100-120-grit option that is applied through a one-directional course. The #3 brushed finish requires mechanical or gradual more refined polishing techniques via special coils or rolls. No. 3 brushed finishes are commonly used in food and beverage production services.
#4 FinishThe No. 4 finish provides a 150-180 grit option with a bright brushed finish characterized by short, uniform parallel polishing lines. Brushed #4 finishes are widely used for kitchen and restaurant equipment, food processing, dairy equipment, hospital surfaces, highway tank trailers, control panels, and water fountains.
Stainless Steel Polished FinishesHot rolled, then buffed, polished stainless steel finishes are highly reflective with a mirror-like shine.
#8 Mirror FinishDefined by their high reflection and mirror-like appearance, No. 8 finishes are the most reflective according to ASTM standards. The #8 finish is created by mechanically treating the surface with a series of progressively finer abrasives. The final process involves buffing the surface for 5-10 minutes to create a mirror-like, highly reflective finish. Additionally, applying a #8 finish enhances corrosion resistance, eradicating crevices that promote corrosion. Mirror finishes are used for ornamental trim, cleanrooms, mirrors, wall panels, and architectural design.
Differences between Brushed Stainless Steel and Polished Stainless SteelBrushed stainless steel finishes can vary due to abrasive techniques and sanding belt differences used for brushed stainless steel products. #4 finish offers more reflective qualities and lines than the #3 finish.
- Brushed stainless steel finishes have a dull lustered appearance, whereas polished stainless steel has a bright, mirrored finish.
Which Stainless Steel Finish is the Best Type of Finish?The best stainless steel finish will depend on your project requirements. Matte finishes are suitable for industrial uses that do not require smooth surface finishes. Highly reflective polished finishes are well-suited for aesthetic and ornamental applications.
Standard Stainless Steel Grades and Shapes that Benefit from FinishesFor construction and other building projects, standard stainless steel grades include:
- 303 Stainless Steel Metal Products
- 304 Stainless Steel Metal Products
- 316 Stainless Steel Metal Products
Stainless Steel ShapesAvailable in various shapes, stainless steel products often used for construction applications and available in different finishes include the following:
- Stainless Steel Bar
- Stainless Steel Sheet and Plate
- Stainless Steel Tube
- Stainless Steel Pipe
- Stainless Steel Angle
Find the Right Stainless Steel Products with Quality Finishing Options
Let us help you find stainless steel products with quality finishes. Our inventory of stainless steel products is available for will-call pickup or next-day local delivery. Order online or stop by one of our locations and get the best steel finish for your project today.