Stainless Steel


  • Stainless Steel is a corrosion RESISTANT steel alloy. Stainless steel will rust, or TEA STAIN, eventually. This is especially true in a coastal area such as ours.
  • The presence of chromium, at differing levels depending on the grade, gives stainless steel corrosion resistance.
  • Certain alloys of stainless steel have a higher level of corrosion resistance and should be utilized in extreme environments. An example of one such environment is very near the ocean where it may be splashed regularly.
  • 304 stainless steel is utilized by RCR Fabrication for most applications. We may suggest a more resistant grade depending on the job.
  • Surface finish, of at least #4, and design are also determining factors in corrosion resistance. The slim, high aspect ratio design of our stainless steel railings are a direct result of this fact.
  • Passivation is the process of making a material "passive" to another material prior to putting the two materials together. For example, stainless steel and our beautiful ocean air and the high levels of salinity which it carries.
  • Chromium forms a passivation layer of chromium oxide when exposed to oxygen. In order for this to occur, the surface needs to be freed of surface contaminants that prevent this reaction from happening.


  • When formulated correctly, citric acid is the cleanest, safest and easiest way to send stainless steel on the way to passivation bliss.
  • Citric acid is organic and safe.
  • It is mainly used in the food and beverage industry and chances are you consume it everyday.
  • Citric acid removes iron, and other contaminants, from the surface of stainless steel at a fairly low concentration. Anywhere from 4-10%.
  • It can be left on the surface for a fair bit of time without any etching or adverse effects.
  • The US EPA recognizes the safety and biodegradability of citric acid. Rinse water can go down the drain provided it meets local pH regulations.
  • To remove surface contaminants, especially salt, it is generally a good idea to clean railings, with soap and water, about as often as you clean your windows.
  • Check with RCR Fabrication for environmentally safe products used in cleaning your stainless steel.