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The last thing done to your stair, typically during the manufacturing process, should also be what makes it stand out in terms of color and stand up in terms of durability the most. The finalizing nature of that thing is even in the name, the “finish.”

Giving a stair a finish provides you with the assurance that it will be preserved against several of the adverse elements of time. Essentially, finishing is a way of protecting your investment.

To make sure that protection operate as it should, both in terms of pleasing looks and the protective aspect, it’s to your benefit to take the time and pick the right kind of material and finish combination.

Why Finish?
As mentioned, finishing gives your stair an armor that protects it against adverse elements to help it last. In most case, when we think of finishing, we’re thinking in terms of how to protect your outdoor stair application.

The right finish gives your stair the toughness it needs to stand up to outdoor elements such as salt air, all kinds of precipitation and other causes of moisture in the air, sunlight, and even pollution levels. All of these factors can corrode and damage your stair if it isn’t treated and finished correctly, so make sure to look at what your stair manufacturer offers in terms of finishing and protecting your stair and investment before purchasing from them.

Custom Aesthetic
An additional benefit to picking a stellar finish for your stair is that you can make your stair any color you can think of. That makes it a lot easier to match your stair to your existing décor and create an overall feel and theme to your space.

There are standard colors, black and white, that act as default choices for some finishes. And these two colors are easy to match to many styles and designs. But if you want something a little more custom and personalized then these two options obviously won’t do. So you want a stair manufacturer equipped to give you that option of a unique color or colors.

If that’s a desirable option, then taking the time to plan out your color scheme in detail is a worthwhile pursuit. And a stair doesn’t have to be monochromatic. It can have a gradual gradient or a dramatic contrast.

Outdoor Armor
A common outdoor finish, assuming your stair is aluminum (the most corrosive resistant of metals and the best for outdoor applications), is powder coating.

Powder coating is a better option than sandblasting because it removes any and all debris from the surface of the stair. During the process, a powder coating is sprayed onto the stair before the stair is placed into a specially designed, high temperature oven. This allows the powder to bake and harden, forming a solid seal and outer layer for the stair.

At Salter, we can match any color you provide and we also offer stock and semi-custom colors in case you need inspiration.

Powder coating can also be used for steel stairs. The process is slightly different, but the powder to metal bond is just as strong and the armor is just as good.

Another, and more popular, method of finishing and armoring steel is galvanizing.

Hot-dip galvanizing involves a process where zinc chemically bonds with the steel components of the stair. This bonding creates a protective armor that protects the steel from all corrosive agents and ensures the stair lasts for decades.

Immediately following the galvanization process, the stair will be a shiny silvery color. After the “weathering process,” as it’s called, it then transitions into a battleship gray. This is because all of the gases from the zinc are slowly dissipating.

Indoor Shine
The most typical method of finishing for indoor applications, assuming your indoor stair is standard steel, is a simple primer.

Primer acts as an initial coat of protection before you apply whatever unique color of paint you desire. Though primed steel is typically an indoor stair, if you use the right rust prevention paint and seal products, a primed stair can be used for outdoor applications as well.

Another factor to consider is wood products. Though these may not come pre-finished, it is still prudent to apply some level of stain, finish, or sealer to help preserve them even indoors. Which of these products, or combination of these products, is best depends on the species of wood you have.

Color Options
Salter has powder coating options that can match any color that appears on the Pantone perfect spectrum or RAL color matching systems. This makes it easy for you to achieve your ideal look.

Flexibility of color options are important in your stair manufacturer as it demonstrates a level of care for your needs and the needs of your stair your manufacturer has.

Shop around and compare to see who gives you a wide range of choices and allows your stair to be an artistic expression of your personality and not just a standard, pre-made structure.

A company that offers a broad spectrum of customization options is also one that can be communicated with. It is an opportunity to conceive of your ideal color, or colors, for a stair and relay that to your manufacturer.

One aspect to consider in regards to finishing is what you can do on your own if you desire. If there’s a unique color or pattern you want, and you feel you have the right skill set, then you may take it upon yourself to roll up your sleeves and start painting.

This likely applies to galvanized steel (after the appropriate weathering period) or standard primed steel. But so long as you check with your local hardware store that you have the correct products to match with your material, then this can be a very fulfilling undertaking. One key thing to watch for, other than making sure your paint is a quality anti-rust paint for outdoor applications, is also ensuring that your paint is appropriately zinc rich if this job is for a galvanized stair.

Besides painting, there is, as discussed, the option of staining wood stair components a custom color, or finishing them to achieve that desirable glossy shine.

While considering your finish options, ask yourself what the cost is. Peruse your finish options in detail. You may learn that some options are standard and come at no extra cost while others are a small upcharge. It will all depend on how customized you want the finish. It also depends on how labor intensive the particular finish you choose is. More labor will mean more cost.

While this consideration may not be as important, in terms of preservation, for indoor applications, it warrants extra attention for outdoor applications. And whether it’s indoors or out, if you seriously desire a unique color palate in your stair, then it warrants serious consideration no matter what.

Follow these basic guidelines and finding the right finish for your needs to make your stair beautiful and last should be a simple matter.

Speak to one of our consultative designers

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