Before ordering a corrosion resistant stainless steel front door handles, check the environment in which the front door will be installed. If the front door is to be located near the sea, in a coastal area or in the vicinity of main roads that are heavily salted in winter, we highly recommend that you order a handle made of acid-resistant 316 stainless steel (A4 / EN 1.4404). We also recommend polishing such handles for extra protection. We are confident that with the latter option, door handles will be safe from corrosion, complaints and customer dissatisfaction in 99% of cases.
Why are some stainless steel front door handles not corrosion resistant?
Of all materials, stainless steel is the most resistant to corrosion. However, this does not mean that it never corrodes.
Stainless steels are ferrous alloys which receive their corrosion resistance from chromate (forms a self-protective oxidising layer), nickel (increases corrosion resistance) and molybdenum (increases resistance to pitting corrosion), whereas titanium, niobium, zirconium and tantalum are used as stabilisers.
Acid-resistant 316 stainless steel (A4 / EN 1.4404) has a higher molybdenum content, which increases its resistance to corrosion. Standard 304 stainless steel (A2 / EN 1.4305) has a lower content of molybdenum and can corrode in extremely harsh environments if its surface is not properly treated and cleaned. Working with certified stainless steel suppliers who guarantee the right ratio of elements in the steel is of the upmost importance to ensuring quality for the manufacturers of handles and levers.
Standard 304 stainless steel (A2 / EN 1.4305) has a lower content of molybdenum and can corrode in extremely harsh environments if its surface is not properly treated and cleaned.
When to choose the standard 304 stainless steel and when the acid-resistant 316 stainless steel?
Choosing an acid-resistant 316 stainless steel (A4 / EN 1.4404) and a surface polish is highly recommended if you are planning to install the door handle in one of the following situations:
- By the sea, where salt water has the most significant effect on buildings;
- In the coastal area, where sea air currents are still considerable;
- In the vicinity of main roads, which are heavily salted during winter.
The acid-resistant stainless steel handle is further polished to resist corrosion. 99% of such handles will not corrode in harsh environments.
Standard 304 stainless steel (A2 / EN 1.4305) is corrosion resistant and perfectly suitable for most environments. We have proven with a salt spray test that standard 304 stainless steel, which we buy from certified suppliers and then treat with a precise surface sanding technique, is highly resistant to corrosion. However, it is not suitable for harsh coastal environments.
There is also a price difference between the two types of stainless steel. Acid-resistant material is more expensive and recommended for handles in harsh environments. We recommend the use of standard 304 stainless steel handles in most other environments.
At Griffing, we buy stainless steel from the best certified European suppliers. This ensures high quality, but we have no control over nature’s effects on the material.
What can happen to a standard 304 stainless steel front door handle in harsh environments where acid-resistant stainless steel 316 is recommended?
The front door handle in the photos below is made of standard 304 stainless steel and was installed on a front door in a coastal area for about three months before it started to corrode. Due to the effects of the sea, the corrosion started to spread and the client had no choice but to make a claim.
Both types of stainless steel are resistant to corrosion, but 304 to a lesser extent. This does not mean that every 304 stainless steel handle will corrode in a harsh environment, but it is more likely. To save you from unnecessary hassle and customer dissatisfaction, we advise you to choose safely, by selecting the right type of stainless steel for your front door handles.