Grades of Stainless Steel

There are many different grades of steel. Marko Stainless Products ensure that the grade of stainless steel used will match the requirements for your product.


Our most commonly used grades are 304 grade and 316 grade, and are used for both residential and commercial applications.

  Grade   Uses & Properties  
  304   304 grade is the most specified of all Stainless Steel used, 304 grade accounts for more than 50% of our total use. It is extensively used for consumer products and appliances, commercial and domestic kitchens, hospital equipment and all manner of food service applications. It withstands rusting, organic chemicals and a wide variety of organic material. Available in all Stainless Steel finishes in sheet, coil, plate, strip, square tube, round tube, pipe, fittings, bars, angle, fasteners and cast products. 
  316   This is the second most commonly used grade of Stainless Steel with approximately20% of total Stainless Steel use. 316 grade is used when a job requires greater resistance to corrosion than 304 grade. 316 grade has similar mechanical, physical and fabrication characteristics as 304 grade but
is more resistant to corrosion and pitting. It is particularly suited for its resistance to pitting and crevice corrosion in chloride environments
and marine applications. Areas for use include fittings and construction
materials for seafront buildings and marinas where aggressive corrosion
is apparent. 316 grade also is used in food service equipment, chemical
labs resisting organic chemicals, dye stuffs and inorganic chemicals.
Available in similar finishes and configurations as 304 grade, though
with some exceptions.

Good combination of corrosion resistance, formability and mechanical properties. Typical applications include:

  • automotive trims
  • refrigerator doors
  • stove element supports

            Surface Finishes commonly available for Stainless Steel


  2D   A matt non-reflective finish produced by cold rolling followed by annealing
and de-scaling and pickling. Used where a rougher finish is required for
anti galling or better paint adhesion.
  2B   A bright, moderately reflective cold rolled finish with the annealed and de-scaled coil receiving a final light pass through polished rolls. This general purpose finish can be used as is, or as a preliminary step to polishing. 2B is the most commonly used surface finish.  
  BA   A bright annealed finish which has a mirror-like appearance produced by
cold rolling, then annealed in a controlled atmosphere furnace. The final
appearance is developed by a single light skin pass, through a cold mill
over highly polished rolls, but is also dependent on additional mill work
such as grinding. A bright-annealed finish is often specified for architectural
applications where a highly reflective surface is desired. Typical uses
include appliance trim, architectural components, cookware and food processing equipment.
  No.4   No. 4 finish is produced by polishing the surface with abrasives. A general
purpose polished finish widely used for restaurant equipment, kitchen
equipment, shop fronts and dairy equipment. Following initial grinding
with coarser abrasives, final finishing is done with abrasives having
a particle size of approximately 120 to 150 mesh.
No. 8 No. 8 finish is the most reflective finish that is commonly produced on sheet.
It is obtained by polishing with successively finer abrasives and buffing
extensively with very fine buffing rouges. The surface is essentially
free of grit lines. No. 8 finish is used for architectural parts, mirrors
and reflectors.

Care of Stainless Steel

As with most things, a little bit of care will extend the life of your stainless steel product. The following provides a guide you can use to clean your product.

Stainless Steel should be cleaned regularly with plenty of water. Dry afterwards to remove streak marks. Routine cleaning prevents build-up of stains.

What to use   Plenty of water, mild detergent and a soft cloth or brush. You could also use
a 1% solution of ammonia. If cleaning a No. 4 (satin) finish, clean with
the grain. Rinse with plenty of clean water and wipe with a soft cloth
or chamois.
  Guard against scratches   Stainless Steel can be scratched by careless handling. Avoid dragging items across the surface, especially across the grain. Grit under normally smooth objects may also scratch the surface.
incompatible materials

Stainless Steel may discolour if left in contact with salts or acids for
extended periods. Prevent rust stains by avoiding contact with carbon
steel, especially when wet.

What not to do   Do not use steel wool or scrape surface with ordinary steel utensils.Do not use scourers and cleaning cloths that have been used on ordinary
 Do not rub cleaning scourers across the grain.

Do not use concentrated bleach or hydrochloric acid-based cleaning products.

Finger prints and grease marks Wash with mild detergent or dishwashing detergent, glass cleaner, alcohol or methylated spirits. Wash off with clean water and wipe over with a soft cloth or chamois.  If desired, apply 3M Stainless Steel Cleaner and Polish or other reputable brand of polish to reduce instances of stains re-appearing.
Tea and Coffee stains   Soak in a solution of boiling water and baking powder. Rinse well and wipe dry.
Sticky labels     Gentle heat with a hair drier will soften glue to make removal easier. Never scrape with a hard surface. Remove gum with eucalyptus oil followed by mild detergent.   
Rust stains Apply cream cleanser with a soft damp cloth, in direction of grain. For tough
stains, a nylon scourer in the direction of the grain should remove stains.
However, an unwanted change in lustre may occur especially on new surfaces.
The coarser the abrasive, the more the lustre will change. Eventually these
generally blend out with use.
Hard water scale   Heavy limescale from hard water can be loosened by soaking in a hot water and 25% vinegar solution. Rinse well with a solution of baking powder or 1% ammonia and then with clean water wiping dry afterwards.
and external fittings 


Wash down periodically with plenty of water and a soft cloth followed by a dry cloth or chamois. This will help to remove air borne irons and contaminants that cause staining. These stains can occur regardless of grade of stainless


Deep scratches can usually only be removed by professional polishers. Un-trained removal usually results in disaster. Consult a firm experienced in polishing Stainless Steel.  
 Stainless Steel Products

For a more detailed account on the history of Stainless Steel please follow the link – Stainless Steel


Marko Stainless sources articles from ASSDA, ATLAS STEELS and various locations.

We do not accept responsibility for the accuracy of the contents of this publication. Marko Stainless Steel Products.

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