Stainless Steel Stock: Why Are There Different Finishes?

stainless steel stock

There are a variety of polishing services available for stainless steel stock. But why are there different finishes? At Alliant Metals, we offer polishing services in three different finishes: 2B Mill, #4 Satin, and #8 Mirror. Each of these finishes has unique characteristics and uses in different industries. But why do we have multiple options for polishing stainless steel, and what difference does each finish make?

Let’s take a look at each finish: what the differences are and how industries use polished stainless steel stock.

2B Mill Finish

The most common stainless steel finish, 2B finish is achieved through a process called cold rolling. This process elongates the coarse grains of the steel to make the brushed look that we are used to seeing on stainless steel stock. The steel passes through a set of rollers that brings it to the necessary thickness and produces the finish. 2B mill finish is the standard finish for multiple grades of steel, including 201, 301, 304, 304L, and 316L. Many industries require stainless steel with a 2B finish. You can find it in plumbing fixtures, bakeware and flatware, solar panels, wheel covers, and industrial equipment.

#4 Satin Finish

Less reflective than the 2B finish, the #4 satin finish is achieved by polishing the steel with abrasive belts. The resulting finish is a grain on the steel in a specified direction and to a particular grit. At Alliant Metals, our satin finish is 180 grit. The result is a bright finish with a visible grain that is best for sanitary surfaces. Common uses for satin finish are kitchen sinks and work surfaces, as well as kitchen equipment and elevator doors.

#8 Mirror Finish

Also called dairy finish because of its use for dairy tanks, a mirror finish is exactly what it sounds like. The mirror finish polishes out all grit and grain from the steel to create a smooth finish. The removes any gaps or ridges where bacteria can live. This is an especially important feature in the dairy industry, which is why it is used for dairy tanks. You will also find mirror-finished stainless steel in architecture, art, and furniture because of its attractive shine.

Questions about finishes or stainless steel stock? Contact our team!


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