From appliances to faucets and cabinet handles, Stainless Steel is one of the most used finishes in home fixtures and hardware. With styles like Arctic Stainless, Brushed Nickel, and Spotshield Stainless, there is a Stainless Steel finish that suits any home design. Stainless Steel fixtures and hardware look great in both luxury and minimalist spaces. In this article, we will compare the different styles of Stainless Steel, answer your most asked questions, and share our best care and cleaning tips. We will even be sharing some of our favorite home designs that feature Stainless Steel fixtures!
As you begin shopping for plumbing fixtures, you will quickly find that there are a wide range of finish terms used to describe the color of stainless steel. These terms often describe basically the same thing but there can be subtle differences. Terms like Brushed Nickel, Satin Nickel, Stainless Steel, and Brilliance Stainless seem similar, but are they the same? It can be confusing, especially when shopping online, to know exactly what you are going to be getting. Your individual screen settings plus lighting conditions at the time the product image was taken can make it difficult to know exactly how a finish will look in reality. Below we have provided a brief comparison of the most common terms used to describe stainless steel finish. We hope this will help make your hunt for the perfect faucet a little bit easier!
Another finish in the nickel/stainless steel family you may encounter is "Polished Nickel". Polished Nickel is quite significantly different from all of the finishes mentioned above. Polished Nickel really deserves to be in a category of it's own, but often it gets grouped in with other nickel/stainless steel finishes due to its name. We have included this section to help explain the difference.
Polished Nickel fixtures are much less gray than Stainless Steel. They are also typically shiner, more reflective, and are not at all brushed over and matte looking like stainless steel. Delta Polished Nickel Fixtures have the traditional energy and timeless look of Chrome but with a warmer tone and, for many people, a more exclusive pedigree. Featuring a high gloss and a pale gold finish, Polished Nickel provides a lively contrast and striking contemporary sophistication to your kitchen or bathroom. Although Polished Nickel fixtures are very nice, they are really not similar at all to what you might think of as stainless steel color. If you are trying to exactly match other stainless steel finish fixtures in your bathroom, Polished Nickel products will probably not going to be what you want.
Stainless Steel finishes are very durable but are still at risk for scratching and rust. If you purchase a Delta faucet your fixture will include a lifetime warranty on both parts and finish. So if you treat your fixture with care it will look great as long as you own your home!
Most Stainless Steel finish fixtures and hardware have a durable brass base. With proper care and cleaning, these fixtures can be expected to last roughly 50 years. If you choose a brand like Delta, your faucets and fixtures will all include a lifetime guarantee.
Stainless Steel and Chrome are both popular finishes. Chrome is much shinier than Stainless Steel, Chrome is more of a mirror-like finish whereas stainless steel is a grayish, brushed finish. Typically Stainless Steel is more durable than Chrome. Stainless Steel finish also tends to do a better job hiding water spots and provides a stylish modern look. Chrome offers a timeless, always classic appeal.
For brands like Delta, Stainless Steel and Nickel are generally the same. The different finish names are used to differentiate between kitchen (Stainless Steel) and bathroom (Brushed Nickel) fixtures. These two finishes will complement each other, but it is recommended to use the same brand throughout your design wherever possible if you want your fixtures to match each other perfectly.
The common confusion that we must differentiate is between Stainless Steel the metal alloy and Stainless Steel Finish. When we are talking about plumbing fixtures, typically we are talking about Stainless Steel finish (with rare exceptions such as faucets for use on boats). Stainless Steel finishes are generally dipped on brass fixtures or applied using a PVD method. Stainless Steel metal, for those who are curious, is an alloy made of steel mixed with elements such as chromium, nickel, molybdenum, silicon, aluminum, and carbon.
Actual Stainless Steel is an alloy metal made with Chromium (not to be confused with Chrome!) The use of Chromium makes Stainless Steel resistant to corrosion, rust, and scratching. Stainless Steel finishes are design to mimic the look of this durable metal. Finishing technology in the plumbing industry these days has advanced to a point where we can have a faucet with a Stainless Steel finish (normally applied to brass metal) that looks every bit as good as real Stainless Steel and is also highly durable.
Delta Faucet has many different Stainless Steel finishes. The most durable finish in their collection is Delta's Brilliance Stainless. Brilliance finishes are a PVD type finish that is embedded in the metal rather than overlaid, making it part of the fixture. This finishing method ensures your Stainless Steel finish faucet will look great for many years!
For more information about Delta's Brilliance finishes, click here: https://www.deltafaucet.com/design-innovation/innovations/kitchen/brilliance-finishes
Stainless Steel is best cleaned with water and a microfiber cloth. White vinegar may be used to clean hard water spots or mineral buildup. For stubborn food or grease removal on kitchen appliances and fixtures, it is recommended to use a water and baking soda mixture. Glass cleaner may also be used to remove finger prints and keep stainless steel fixtures shiny.
One of the coolest new things on the market right now is Delta's Black Stainless Steel faucet! This new contemporary finish adds depth to the traditional Stainless Steel faucet design. Here we see just how seamlessly this Black Stainless Steel faucet pairs with a Stainless Steel sink. A Black Stainless Steel faucet is a great way to add warmth to your kitchen design without compromising the durability and timelessness that you know you can reply on with traditional Stainless Steel. Delta's new black finish also comes with their lifetime warranty, making this new design a no-brainer!
Modern bathroom designs are typically synonymous with Stainless Steel or Brushed Nickel faucets and shower systems. We love this modern design because it showcases the versatility of Delta's Stainless Steel faucets and accessories. This bathroom flaunts a neutral color scheme, eliminating any one focal point. The designer's use of a Stainless Steel single mount faucet gives the room a luxurious and modern look without taking away from the dramatic black vanity and stone accent wall. The gorgeous Stainless Steel free standing tub filler and accessories really complete this bold bathroom look!
Contemporary bathrooms often feature different elements of many design styles. This design pairs a modern, square shaped free standing tub with more warm pieces like the dark vanity and wood tiled shower stall. Installing a Stainless Steel free standing tub filler, Stainless Steel shower faucet, and matching accessories bring these different design elements together to form one cohesive space. These gorgeous Stainless Steel fixtures will also stand the test of time, and will suit the home owner through any updates they make to the bathroom style over time.
If you are looking for something even more durable, check out Delta's Brilliance Stainless Steel! This innovative coating is embedded into the regular finish, reinforcing it against scratching and any outside damage, leaving these fixtures looking brand new for the duration of their use! Delta even guarantees that their Brilliance finishes can stand up against scouring with steel wool! Brilliance coated fixtures are highly polished and reflective, and have been tested for up to 100 different household cleaners. A Delta Brilliance Stainless Steel faucet or shower system will look amazing in any design, and will look brand new for years to come!
The farmhouse design trend is a classic style for your kitchen and bath. This combination of exposed wooden beams and white subway tile is gorgeous and timeless. Installing a Stainless Steel shower system is an easy way to update your farmhouse bathroom and give it a somewhat modern feel! This Delta Stainless Steel system complements the farmhouse style with its large shower head and circular design. Having a hand shower installed on a slide bar allows for more flexibility in use. Delta products also include a lifetime warranty that covers both function and finish, ensuring that this system will look its best for the long haul!
I love a kitchen that features a Stainless Steel double kitchen sink and appliances, but sometimes it's hard to find a faucet in a finish that truly complements a design like this. Luckily, Delta has solved this issue with their beautiful Arctic Stainless finish! This highly polished finish adds an extra luxurious element to the traditional Stainless Steel, while still being incredibly durable and spot resistant. Like in the kitchen above, an Arctic Stainless faucet keeps the design bright and modern. With high ceilings and large windows, the clean white walls and countertops look super sharp. Pair that with an Arctic Stainless pot filler and cabinet hardware, and you have one gorgeous kitchen design!
Stainless Steel counter tops are typically found in restaurants and other industrial environments, but I think they look amazing when installed in a home kitchen! Because of their neutral tone, Stainless Steel counters look great in a modern contemporary setting. In the kitchen above, the designer opted for a textured counter on the island. This design feature is not available with any other counter top material, making these textured counters unique and eye catching. Although Stainless Steel is very durable, these counter tops will scratch from time to time. Choosing a textured style is a great way to blend the effects of normal wear and tear without compromising your design. Unlike wood or marble counters, these Stainless Steel beauties will not stain or chip, and are non-porous which means liquids and bacteria are unable to penetrate their surface. For indoor or outdoor kitchens, Stainless Steel counter tops are a smart choice for a unique and long lasting design.
The pairing of these modern pale blue kitchen cabinets with the sleek stainless steel finish fixtures and appliances gives this house an airy, beachy feel. Stainless Steel appliances have long been the standard choice for luxury kitchens. In some kitchen designs, it's nearly impossible to choose a faucet finish to complement these beautiful appliances. Delta's Arctic Stainless faucet finish is designed to match Stainless Steel appliances perfectly. With its blue undertones, this Arctic Stainless single mount kitchen faucet seamlessly complements both the Stainless Steel appliances as well as the beautiful cabinetry! The somewhat matte finish also brings a modern touch to this gorgeous contemporary kitchen design.
Like its name implies, Stainless Steel is naturally more spot resistant. Caring for a Brushed Nickel or Stainless Steel fixture is as simple as wiping it down with a soft cloth in most cases. High use fixtures like Stainless Steel kitchen faucets, or Brushed Nickel shower heads, may need to be soaked with white vinegar from time to time to clean any mineral buildup. This may be done easily by tying a plastic bag filled with white vinegar to the end of the faucet or shower head, and letting it soak for about 20 minutes. Once you have soaked the fixture, follow it up with a quick water rinse and wipe down with a soft cloth. Depending on your water type, you may need to do this every few months to keep your fixture looking shiny and new.
It is recommended to use soft materials like microfiber on your Stainless Steel fixtures and hardware. In the event that you need something a little tougher to scrub a fixture, in the case of stubborn food residue for instance, it is recommended to use a wet sponge. Although Stainless Steel is very durable, tough materials like steel wool may damage your fixture, unless you have a Delta Brilliance finish. If you have Stainless Steel counter tops and sinks installed in your home or outside cooking space, it is recommended to wipe down these surfaces with a soft cloth after each use to prevent buildup of hard water and other environmental substances as these fixtures tend to get a lot of use. With proper care, your Stainless Steel fixtures and hardware will last a lifetime!
From Arctic Stainless to Brushed Nickel, Stainless Steel fixtures have many faces. This versatile finish looks great in nearly every kitchen and bath design style, and will stand the test of time! 2019 is a great year to update your kitchen or bathroom with this timeless classic finish! Be sure to share these design ideas, and leave us a comment with a picture of how you incorporated your favorite Stainless Steel fixture into your home design!
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***Article updated November, 2019
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