Put the words “stainless” and “steel” together, and you have two very powerful words that evoke a certain reaction from most people. Kitchens that are high quality are often described as having “granite and stainless steel”, two of the most cherished materials in the kitchen remodel industry. What we in the industry find curious is that stainless steel can stain-and scratch and scuff. I guess the same people came up with unbreakable glass.
As is often the case, the industries that produce these materials and the service providers that sell and install them realize their popularity and ramp up the sale and manufacture of these items. This then floods the market with varying degrees of quality, bringing the price down and encouraging competing industries to incorporate the material into their items.
Now, every box store from here to China sells stainless steel everything–literally from alarm clocks to paper towel dispensers, trash bins to cooking tools. If there’s even a remote chance it might be in your kitchen, they’ll make it out of stainless steel. I can hear a little stainless steel kitty robot meowing in Japan as we speak.
The stainless steel surfaces we deal with on a daily basis are mostly the fridge, dishwasher, sink and stove. The pics above show the backsplash of a high-quality industrial-type stove top and oven combo. As you can see, the stainless steel backsplash is, well, stained. We got to work on a small area and used our tools and cutting oil to make it shine. Is it perfect? No. Is it 100% better? You be the judge.
Kitchen sinks get banged up a lot from pots and pans. These areas–where cooking and cleaning are involved–are the main areas we renovate. Fridge panels and dishwasher panels are more of a challenge because they are machined to perfection, and even wtih our skilled technicians, it’s impossible to completely emulate a machine. What we do in these cases is let the homeowner weigh the option of repairing vs. replacing the panels. Often times we can get the scratch out and leave an acceptable finish. But since it will not always look like a two-ton roller machine finish, we like to let the homeowner make that judgment before we begin.
So how do we do it? Simply put, we use differing grades of metal-impregnated pads and realign the small grooves that make up the stainless steel’s finish. We start with the least aggressive grit and work our way down the grit ladder until the scratch is gone. We then work our way back up, all by hand, until we get the best possible result.
Fixing stainless steel is tricky, and we always try to inform the homeowner beforehand to any of the problems we foresee. If you have a problem and need our advice, feel free to call or send us a picture attachment to applebycleaning.com. We’ll do everything we can to help!