Stainless steel is a versatile and functional material with many virtues. In addition to being perfect for making furniture for outdoor kitchens, it can also undergo changes in its finishes. These changes are intentional and are created to have an aesthetic impact on the design of the house. Among the various treatments that can be applied to stainless steel, the most popular and appreciated by customers are: distressed (delabré) with its variations, brushed, and Corten. Let’s see the differences between these finishes.
Stainless Steel Finishes: Classic Distressed (Delabré)
The classic distressed finish is a handmade finish designed for both indoor and outdoor furniture. It involves the manual oxidation of stainless steel, giving the metal a uniform shade ranging from shades of gray and brown, which is then coated with a transparent protective layer. For cleaning and maintenance, use only a cotton cloth dampened with water or specific neutral products for painted surfaces. Do not use abrasive cloths, solvents, alcohol, or aggressive detergents. Dry the surface thoroughly in case of water stagnation.
Striated or Scratched Distressed (Delabré)
Here, we have steel that appears striated or scratched both visually and to the touch. Creating this effect involves multiple steps: oxidation of stainless steel, manual brushing to create the “striated” effect, and a protective transparent coating. Cleaning and maintenance should be carried out as for classic distressed finishes.
Watercolor Distressed (Delabré)
Among the various effects of distressed finishes on stainless steel, one particularly striking option is the watercolor effect. Steel furniture will look as if they’ve come straight from a painter’s watercolor palette! These “watercolor” effects are achieved through overlapping manual oxidations applied to stainless steel. The sensations conveyed are highly textured, with suggestions reminiscent of the passage of waves. Subsequently, the surface is coated with a transparent protective layer.
Bronze Distressed (Delabré)
Here, we are dealing with steel that takes on a bronze-like appearance. This technique is widely used for outdoor kitchen furniture because it can be applied to both iron and stainless steel, allowing painted objects to be used both indoors and outdoors. It involves coloration in different phases: bronzed painting, manual brushing to create the “scratched” effect, and a protective transparent coating. It can be used for various types of furnishings, cladding, and accessories. It is not recommended to apply this finish to highly worn surfaces (e.g., worktops or flooring).
Brushed Stainless Steel
Stainless steel can also undergo brushing treatment for an elegant finish. The brushed effect involves the manual brushing of Aisi 304 stainless steel with Scotch-Brite. If used outdoors, the satin surface may be susceptible to stains or rust spots due to external agents in the air or the environment. The treatment can also be applied to Aisi 316 stainless steel, which is particularly suitable for coastal areas and environments with a high presence of salt fog or particularly aggressive environmental conditions.
Corten: High Mechanical Resistance Steel
We conclude our article on steel finishes by discussing Corten. This type of steel is characterized by very high mechanical resistance (to impacts and weight) and is impervious to corrosion. When exposed to atmospheric agents, a rust-like patina forms on the surface, of dark brown color, preventing the spread of corrosion. Perfect for outdoor kitchens and all outdoor uses. The oxidation stabilization occurs within 10-16 months, and during this period, the release of rust particles that can stain lighter and permeable surfaces may occur. For indoor use, Corten is treated with a stabilizing wax to make the surface more pleasant to the touch and prevent the release of impurities, typical of this material. Maintenance wax kits are available if desired. For Corten cleaning, it is suggested to dust the surface without using any detergents or water.