Stainless steel is widely used these days and it is available in a number of finishes aligned with a variety of finished products. When deciding on a finish the main consideration is whether the finished item is going to be used in an environment that is corrosive or not. There are three main finishes, No. 2 Matte, No. 4 Brushed and No. 8 Mirror Finish. Let’s take a look at these finishes and what you should take into account.


Known as a ‘Mill’ finish, No. 2B is the most popular stainless steel finish.It is a dull finish that looks similar to a dull mirror and is not especially attractive, making it an excellent option for products in which appearance is not a priority. This finish is also an ideal choice when further polishing and finishing will be done later on in the process. To create this finish the steel goes through a process called cold rolling. The process smooths the surface and takes out pits in its surface – this increases its resistance to corrosion. It is then descaled by immersing it in an acidic solution before being rolled and polished. This is usually the least expensive option for finishing stainless steel.


The No. 4 brushed finish is the most popular finish for appliances. Created by sanding the steel in a single direction, the brushed finish features a grain pattern consisting of parallel lines. The lines prevent the steel from reflecting light and so this finish has a muted lustre.Since a brushed finish can have great variance in its final appearance depending on the wear on the sanding belts and the processes followed by the supplier, it is crucial that you look at samples from potential suppliers before ordering the product. Because the parallel lines provide additional space in which rust can take hold this type of finish is not ideal for products used in corrosive environments.


As the name suggests No. 8 mirror finish is highly reflective, similar to a mirror. This finish is created by treating the steel with abrasives to remove imperfections like scratches and pits and then buffing and polishing it until a shiny surface is achieved. This finish can be attractive, does a great job of hiding or even removing imperfections and greatly improves corrosion resistance.

Once you have made your decision about which surface you require for your stainless steel, contact P&A to discuss your steel fabrication and machining needs.