For the longest time, stainless steel was relegated to restaurant kitchens. Long, stainless steel countertops punctuated by stainless steel stoves, refrigerators, and range hoods took whatever the chefs could throw at it. Scratches and dents were hardly visible. The cool, shiny surface remained sanitary and spotless.
The fact that stainless steel is hardworking, durable, and beautiful did not escape the eye of designers for long. Soon, stainless steel kitchen appliances were the trend. That was more than a decade ago, and the trend is not showing any signs of slowing down.
Beauty and strength, together…
The majority of range hoods that are manufactured are made using stainless steel. Take a walk through any store that sells range hoods and you’ll see that it is definitely the material of choice.
All stainless steels contain iron and a minimum of 10.5% chromium oxide (“CrO”) (other elements used to make stainless steel include nickel, nitrogen and molybdenum). The chromium in the steel is combined with oxygen to form a thin, invisible layer of chrome-containing oxide. This layer is only a few atoms thick due partially to the ability of the chromium atoms and oxide atoms to pack together tightly. This layer protects the steel underneath and has a unique self-healing ability. Should the layer become scratched or cut, the newly exposed steel will form another protective area with oxygen in the air. (www.rangehoodsinc.com)
Another boon? Stainless steel won’t rust … ever! It’s super easy to sanitize and clean, which is why restaurants love it. Their industry depends on preparing and serving food that’s fit for consumption. Why shouldn’t your own meals benefit from that extra level of clean?
Don’t worry if you drop coffee or blueberry juice onto the surface. Although stainless steel isn’t stain resistant, it does stain less than other types of steel. Remember, it’s very easy to clean. So, a quick wipe up is all you really need to do. Concerned about the environmental impact of the materials you use in your kitchen? Then you’ll love stainless steel. It’s earth friendly. It can be melted down, recycled and made into something else. Stainless steel is 100% recyclable.
Over 50% of new stainless steel is made from melted scrap metal, rendering it an eco-friendly material. It is important when purchasing any item that claims to be made of stainless steel to ask if the steel is completely stainless or if it is just top-level plating with a cheaper steel or metal underneath. (www.rangehoodsinc.com)
What type of stainless steel?
Although all stainless steel looks the same, there can actually be differences in its make-up that will effect how durable and long-lasting it will be.
A commonly used grade of stainless steel for range hoods and sinks is Type 430 (S43000). The basic alloy contains 11% chromium and 1% manganese. Grade 304 is the most common grade of stainless steel used in our industry. It has a minimum of 18% chromium and 8% nickel, combined with a maximum of 0.08% carbon. Grade 200 stainless steel alloy contains 17% chromium, 4% nickel and 7% manganese. (www.rangehoodsinc.com)
What does the gauge mean?
Gauge (or gage) sizes are numbers that indicate the thickness of a piece of sheet metal, with a higher number referring to a thinner sheet. The equivalent thicknesses differ for each gauge size standard, which were developed based on the weight of the sheet for a given material.
If you’re looking at a range hood, and you’re not sure of the quality of stainless steel, give us a call. We’ll help you figure it out.