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When considering different stainless steel finishes, you’ll want to contemplate elements such as life span, corrosion, and maintenance. Another aspect you’ll need to think about is how the surface finish will work with the fabrication process.

Whilst stainless steel can come with a number of different finishes, three different popular categories are:

  • Mill finish
  • Polished and Brushed finish
  • Mirror finish

Mill finish

The mill finish means that the stainless steel has not been finished any further. Its dull appearance means that this finished isn’t usually used for aesthetic purposes. This finish would be an option when further finishing is required. To achieve a mill finish, the stainless steel can be either hot or cold rolled. If hot rolled, an acid cleaner is used to de-scale the surface. Some examples of where mill finishes can be found include pharmaceutical equipment, refrigeration, sewage equipment, and chemical equipment.

Different mill finishes:

1D- Hot rolled and annealed, mill scale removed

2D- cold rolled, heat treated and pickling

2B- produced like 2D but with a final rolling using highly polished rolls

2R- cold rolling using polished rolls, bright annealing under oxygen-free atmospheric conditions

Polished and Brushed finish

A brushed finish on stainless steel creates a duller, non-reflective surface. The metal is polished with a grit belt and grit greaseless compound. A unidirectional finish is achieved. It is determined on the original surface, type and texture of the grit belts and brushes, and the polishing process.

Different polished and brushed finishes:

2G- unidirectional surface with low reflectivity

2J- uses polishing belts or brushes, unidirectional, non-reflective

2K- smooth, reflective surface, finer grit belts or brushes used

2P- highly reflective, very smooth- polished and buffed

Brushed stainless steel finish

Mirror finish

Polishing stainless steel will create a highly reflective surface, hence the name mirror finish. Polishing can neaten up a finish, make cleaning easier, and hide effects or damage from other work.

No 8 mirror finish involves the surface being mechanically treated. To imitate the appearance of a mechanical abrasion, a rolling procedure can also be used. Buffing the surface then creates a mirror-like finish.

This finish can help with corrosion. Polishing gets rid of areas where corrosive particles can get stuck.

Stainless steel can come in many other finishes, all with different appearances and uses. If you’re thinking about using stainless steel in your work and want to see what we can offer, email [email protected] today.

Stainless Steel