Finishing FAQ From Your Stainless Steel Vendor

As New Hampshire’s premier stainless steel vendor, our team is often asked about the differences between available finishes. As you probably already know, the finish of any stainless steel product is critical when choosing this material for decorative or functional purposes. On the other hand, when utilized for the interior of a machine or component, the chosen finish may directly impact the productivity of the application. For instance, if the surface of the steel is rough, it causes friction and lower productivity. The finish also has implications on the wear and tear, maintenance, and other such factors.

Although there are many types of stainless steel finishes, the below-mentioned are the most common types of finishes. It is understood that the finish of a product will depend on the application.



Mill finishes referred to either a hot or cold rolled process used to polish stainless steel. There are several types of mill finishes, including:

  • 1D
  • 2B
  • 2D
  • 2H
  • 2Q
  • 2R

Regardless of the specific application, a mill finish leaves a matte look and feel. Dull in appearance, this type of finish is typically disregarded with aesthetic end uses. However, if the look of your product doesn’t matter, mill finishes are the most affordable option.



Using friction and finely bristled brushes, a brushed finish is distinct in nature. The process creates lines within the stainless steel that leaves behind a non-reflective surface. The uniqueness of the pattern provides an ideal solution for decorative projects. However, it’s important to note that stainless steel vendors can vary in application and technique. So, when choosing a brushed finish, you may want to ask for sampling before committing.



This finish is generally used when the stainless steel surface cannot be milled or mechanically polished. The process provides a smooth finish with an option of dull or satin polish. A special finish can be used to polish decorative items or fabricated parts. The commonly used special finishes are the RA #4 Satin and #8 Mirror finishes.


stainless steel vendor


Choosing the correct stainless steel finish for your project goes beyond the aesthetic appeal to the functionality. For more information, consult with your trusted stainless steel vendor, like our team at Alliant Metals.

Since 1987 we’ve served customers nationwide with the highest quality of metals and the most abundant resource of knowledge. With exceptional customer experience on every job, you can have peace of mind that your next project will exceed your expectations.

Contact our team today for more information (800) 543-1453.

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