Stainless Solutions: Stainless Steel Information from Next Door Company
Volume 1, No. 2
Let's face it: traditional hollow metal doors are a commodity product.
If they get a dent or a scratch in manufacturing, no problem - a little body putty and paint will fix them up. If they get too damaged to use, no problem - just replace them.
Not so with stainless steel doors. First of all, they've probably been specified for a demanding installation, so they've got to perform.
They've got a special finish, too, (no finish) which can't be readily polished in the field.
At their high price, stainless steel doors have to fit, have to work, and have to last. Quality starts with full planning.
Quick turnaround on quotes is a fact of life for good manufacturers, but there’s more to look for, too: a willingness to volunteer alternatives to specs when there’s a question or a better way.
For example, a door spec may call for Type 304 stainless steel, when a more corrosion-resistant Type 316 is really best for the installation. Conversely, Type 316 may be specified where Type 304 will do just fine for alot less money. Expect your manufacturer to help you and your customer bring these matters to your attention.
Quality manufacturing starts from the inside.
You can't see them, but they’re there: a dozen details that make the difference between a superior unit and one that will cause problems.
Take hinge or closer reinforcements, for example. They must be of stainless steel. Anything else, and the stage is set for galvanic corrosion between dissimilar metals.
There’s no place for carbon steel in a stainless steel door, yet some specs call for it.
Obviously, "cladding" a hollow metal door with a sheet of stainless steel violates this principal. But that's just the start of the problems with clad doors; they simply don't make the grade.
How interior reinforcements are fastened is important, too. On a hollow metal door, they can just be welded in place, but quality manufacturing in stainless steel calls for "channel" construction. That way welds can be hidden, rather than using surface welds which could discolor the door’s exterior skin.
Look for a perfect surface.
The distinctive surface of a stainless steel door requires extreme care to produce and protect.
Heat tinting can ruin a door’s appearance. If a manufacturer is serious about quality they will employ only welders who are certified for stainless steel work, and will invest in state-of-the-art equipment such as the gas tungsten arc (TIG) equipment Next Door uses.
Weld flux marks, particularly along the side of a weld bead, are another welding problem. Arc strikes and spatters can also spoil a door with tiny pinholes and surface defects.
It has to arrive perfect, too.
Special care has to be taken in transit, to preserve the special surface of a quality stainless steel door.
Extra care in wrapping and special care in crating is called for, to assure that each door looks as good as your customer expects when it gets there.
Do yourself a favor.
Some manufacturers treat stainless steel doors as a sideline. Some regard them as a nuisance. And some manufacturers act like they’re doing you a favor by giving you a price in the first place.
So do yourself a favor: the next time you need a quote for a stainless steel door, get one from a stainless specialist who has the knowledge, the resources and the desire to back you up with the service and information you need and deserve.
That way you’ll find out how hassle-free stainless steel doors can be. For more information visit our website www.nextdoorco.com.