What are your opening hours?
We are open: Monday – Thursday 8.00am – 4.30pm, and Friday 8.00am – 2.30pm
However, there is usually someone available for telephone enquiries or collections, for at least an hour after closing time.
Do you sell to the general public?
Yes we do sell to the general public.
Do you sell offcuts?
Yes, we have offcuts in most sheet materials and sections, which you can buy by weight.
If it is a small amount, or for a cause which touches our hearts, we might not charge at all, but instead ask for a small donation to one of our charity boxes.
Do you have a minimum charge?
Yes. Our minimum labour charge is £9.25 plus VAT (correct at Oct 2013).
Do you accept card payments?
Yes, we accept all major debit and credit cards. Payments can also be made by phone.
Do you take deposits?
Yes, for non-account customers.
Due to a number of uncollected items, we do now ask for a small deposit for all special orders. This is normally either £20 cash deposit or we take credit card details. If the deposit results in an overpayment, the balance will be refunded upon collection of the goods.
For larger jobs, such as balustrades, we usually require a deposit upon acceptance of our quote, with the remaining balance payable on completion.
Do you carry out free site surveys?
Yes. We do carry out free site surveys for balustrades, fire escapes, commercial kitchen installations, ventilation installations etc.
For splashback orders you can email or telephone us with your measurements (preferably in millimetres!). We can provide you with advice over the phone on what you will need or, if necessary, we can visit you for a small extra charge.
Do you deliver?
We don’t have a dedicated delivery vehicle/driver, so in general, unless we are installing an item, no we don’t deliver. However, if an item is too big for you to collect, we may be able to arrange to drop off ‘when passing’ for a small charge, but we may be unable to guarantee a date/time.
What is Stainless Steel?
Stainless steel is an alloy of Iron with a minimum of 10.5% Chromium. Chromium produces a thin layer of oxide on the surface of the steel known as the ‘passive layer’. This prevents any further corrosion of the surface. Increasing the amount of Chromium gives an increased resistance to corrosion.
Stainless steel also contains varying amounts of Carbon, Silicon and Manganese. Other elements such as Nickel and Molybdenum may be added to impart other useful properties such as enhanced formability and increased corrosion resistance.
Does Stainless Steel corrode?
Although stainless steel is much more resistant to corrosion than ordinary carbon or alloy steels, in some circumstances it can corrode. It is ‘stain-less‘ not ‘stain-impossible‘! See our Stainless Steel Care Guide for advice on how to maintain your stainless steel.
In normal atmospheric or water based environments, stainless steel will not corrode as demonstrated by domestic sink units, cutlery, saucepans and work-surfaces.
In more aggressive conditions, the basic types of stainless steel may corrode and a more highly alloyed stainless steel can be used.
All grades of stainless steel will stain and discolour due to surface deposits and can never be accepted as completely maintenance free. In order to achieve maximum corrosion resistance the surface of the stainless steel must be kept clean.
Can I drill holes in Stainless Steel?
Stainless steel is quite a hard material, but can be drilled easily with a little care. We can drill your stainless steel for you, for a small charge.
Use a sharp, good quality drill (Dormer or similar) and use a low drill speed, pressing quite hard, and lubricate the work as you go. You can use proper cutting fluid if you have it, but you can use washing up liquid or even just water to keep the temperature down.
Note: If you use too high a drill speed, with or without lubrication, the drill will burn out very quickly and the metal will be hardened making drilling even more difficult.
How many types of Stainless Steel are there?
There are a great many different stainless steels available. We stock a good selection of Grade 304, in a range of thicknesses and finishes, and a smaller amount of Grade 316 and Grade 430.
Ferritic and Austenitic (see below) are the most common, and are readily available, with other types (e.g. Martensitic, Duplex and Precipitation Hardening) being of a much more specialised nature.*
FERRITIC – Typical Grade 430 – magnetic (STOCK ITEM)
These steels are based on Chromium with small amounts of Carbon (usually less than 0.10%). These steels have a similar microstructure to carbon and low alloy steels. They are usually limited in use to relatively thin sections due to lack of toughness in welds. However, where welding is not required, they offer a wide range of applications. They cannot be hardened by heat treatment. High-Chromium steels with additions of Molybdenum can be used in quite aggressive conditions such as sea water. Ferritic steels are also chosen for their resistance to stress corrosion cracking. They are not as formable as austenitic stainless steels.
AUSTENITIC – Typical Grades 304 (food quality) & Grade 316 (marine quality). Both non-magnetic. (STOCK ITEMS)
These steels are the most common. Their microstructure is derived from the addition of Nickel, Manganese and Nitrogen. It is the same structure as occurs in ordinary steels at much higher temperatures. This structure gives these steels their characteristic combination of weldability and formability. Corrosion resistance can be enhanced by adding Chromium, Molybdenum and Nitrogen. They cannot be hardened by heat treatment but have the useful property of being able to be work hardened to high strength levels whilst retaining a useful level of ductility and toughness. Standard austenitic steels are vulnerable to stress corrosion cracking. Higher nickel austenitic steels have increased resistance to stress corrosion cracking. They are nominally non-magnetic but usually exhibit some magnetic response depending on the composition and the work hardening of the steel.
*For further information on any of these, or any other Stainless Steel products, please see the British Stainless Steel Association (BSSA) website.
Is Stainless Steel non-magnetic?
It is commonly stated that “stainless steel is non-magnetic”. This is not strictly true and the real situation is rather more complicated. (For a full explanation, please visit the BSSA website).
We stock a smaller selection of Grade 430 sheet and sections, which are magnetic, so you could for instance, have a 430 stainless steel noticeboard with magnetic note holders (see our Stainless Steel page). Another advantage is that Grade 430 products are quite a bit cheaper!
However, Grade 430 would not be recommended for external conditions.
What can cause Stainless Steel to stain?
Surface contamination and the formation of deposits must be prevented. Industrial and even naturally occurring atmospheric conditions can produce deposits which can be equally corrosive, e.g. salt deposits from marine conditions. Strong acid solutions are sometimes used to clean masonry and tiling of buildings but these should never be permitted to come into contact with metals, including stainless steel.
In some situations bleach (or other hypochlorate based cleaners) are used to clean stainless steel – this should be avoided wherever possible. The consequences of bleach coming into prolonged contact with stainless steel is surface pitting. Other liquids which cause a similar effect are some toilet cleaners, photographic developing liquids, acids, concentrated disinfectants, chlorine and strong alkalis (ie caustic soda). If any of these solutions do come into contact with the surface these should be thoroughly rinsed off with clean water.
How can I keep my Stainless Steel clean?
Wash down the surface regularly using water containing soap or mild detergents.
- Always rinse the surface with clean water.
- A thorough cleaning operation can be completed by polishing the surface with a soft dry cloth.
Always avoid using coarse abrasive materials such as harsh scouring pads, wire wool, etc., which can scratch the stainless steel surface. In addition, metal particles left on the surface can quickly turn to rust and leave rust stains on the stainless steel. Use brushes and scrubbers which utilise mild or soft bristles such as nylon (or similar).
Removing Stains or Grease
A soft cloth and a mild abrasive cleaner can be used to remove stains or grease. Following cleaning a stainless steel polish can be used to restore shine and provide additional protection.
We sell ‘Stainless Steel Care Packs’ containing everything you need to keep your stainless steel products looking at their best.
We also provide a ‘Balustrade Maintenance Service’ which will restore your stainless steel and glass balustrade to its original shine – please call for details.
Bleach-based cleaners should be avoided.
Most common bleaches, toilet cleaners, photographic development liquids, acids, concentrated disinfectants, chlorine (often present as hyphochlorate) and strong alkalis, e.g. caustic soda, can lead to pitting of the stainless steel surface. If any of these solutions do come into contact with the surface they should be thoroughly rinsed off with clean water.