Why choose 316 marine grade steel for your house number?

What exactly is ‘stainless steel’ and do you need 316 stainless for your house number or house name?

When it comes to choosing the right steel for your external numbers or signage there can be a lot of misleading information. All steels have a basic iron and carbon composition, but stainless steel will also contain chromium and nickel, and it is this alloy that gives stainless its famous resistance to corrosion in wet conditions.

There are multiple grades in the ‘stainless’ category, each with a slightly different alloy composition, and therefore slightly different characteristics when it comes to durability. The two most common grades of stainless steel are 304 and 316 which are the grades that we use of the manufacture of our house numbers and house names.

Our range of modern 316 house numbers.

316 is the superior option due to the presence of molybdenum, an alloy that enhances corrosion resistance even further. 316 stainless steel is often called ‘marine grade stainless’ as it is resistant to the salt corrosion that happens in coastal areas where the sea-salt gets into the air. Whilst this exceptional quality grade is often used for producing exterior signage it is simply not necessary if you live inland, and you can save money by opting for the lower grade of 304 which will be perfectly weather resistant if sea salt is not in the air.

So how close to the sea will I need 316 grade house numbers?

Generally speaking we advise within 3km of the sea is the necessary area for 316 numbers, however geographical considerations such as estuaries and islands can also play a part in the way sea salt influences the surroundings. For example customers on Jersey, Guernsey or other UK islands will have sea salt coming from all directions even if they live in the centre of the island so 316 would always be advisable. Take a look at the map below of the river dart in Devon; the pin in the map is 5km from the coast line, but right on the shore of a river estuary, where the tide is rising and falling every day. The hills either side of the river mouth will also help to channel the wind up the river from the sea, and so the salt level in the air will be much higher.

5km away from the coast, but right next to a river estury. We would reccomend a 316 steel here!

Which of your house numbers are 316 grade?

We offer 8 stock styles of 304 stainless steel house numbers, as well as a stock range of modern 316 house numbers. We can also cut these styles to order in the alternate grade, and offer a custom font service for your house number if you can’t see something you like. All our bespoke signage can be produced in either  grade too!

Our bespoke house names can be laser cut in either 304 or 316 grade depending on your location.

Do you offer other materials that are okay for use by the sea?

Power coatings can be applied to any of our products and these durable industrial coatings can be used on signage right next to the sea. We regularly coat in Anthracite Grey and Black, but any RAL number can be used to match in with any other architectural features in your home or for a pop of colour. ‘The Lookout’ sign below was installed onto an amazing holiday rental property in Wyke Regis, Dorset where the coastal elements hit the anthracite grey surface daily.

Anthracite Grey sign installed right next to the sea in Dorset.

How big should my house number be?

One of the most common questions we get asked before our customers’ make a purchase is ‘how big should my house number be?’

The answer is very hard for us to advise without being able to stand outside the property, so here are 5 questions to help you make the right decision for your home.

1. How far back from the street is your property?

In order to determine the ideal house number size you will need to get a general idea of what distance your number will be viewed at. Our 150mm high stainless steel numbers are our best selling size, and generally speaking these are readable 10-15m away. We also stock larger house numbers at 250mm high and these would be readable at about 20-25m away.

Do you want your house number to be a big statement or simply clearly legible from the road?

2. What surface are you fixing to?

The colour and texture of the installation surface can influence how readable your number will be. For example we usually recommend black house numbers or grey house numbers for installation onto a white rendered wall, as stainless steel can get lost against the white. If your wall is particularly uneven and textured then a larger number would be a better option to ensure it is clearly legible against the wall. For front doors our most popular choice of height is 95mm high, for a clear nicely proportioned door number.

These modern anthracite grey house numbers have been installed onto a white rendered wall for fantastic contrast.

2. Is there a specific area on the wall or door you want to fill?

If you have a particular space, for example a pillar or a panel of the door then this needs to be taken into consideration. Ideally there should be an area around the numbers left free to help with the overall look: taking the numbers to the very edge of a space will make things look crowded. To help our customers we can provide a visual of your chosen style at the height you think is right. For example if you live at a number 230 and want the 150mm size, then we can draw this up to show you the overall effect and total combined width of the numbers.

These door numbers at 95mm high have been chosen to specifically fill a door panel each but still leave space either side.

3. What style of house number are you choosing?

The style of your house number can impact how easy it is to see, for example if you compare our Impact House Numbers with our Century House Numbers there is a huge difference in the surface area of the steel, which ultimately affects how easy it is to read. The Century House Numbers and Serif House Numbers are a lovely choice for a period property, but they are very slender and delicate so you may want to consider sizing up on these styles.

These ‘impact’ house numbers at 150mm high fill this pillar perfectly and have a big surface area to contrast against the stone.

4. Is your property on a well-lit street?

If your street is dimly lit you may want to consider an LED house number, which will help to guide visitors to your front door. Our LED numbers are completely IP rated for outdoor use and are adaptable for installation with dusk till dawn sensors or a timer. If LEDs are not for you but you are not on a well lit street then a larger stainless steel number would be preferable to any of our powder coated ranges – the stainless steel surface will catch the light at certain times of day and reflect the headlamps of cars arriving at your home.

These LED house numbers with warm white lights will illuminate your house front.

How big is too big for a house number?

If you aren’t afraid to make a statement and have the space then your house number is yours to create! Whilst 95mm 150mm and 250mm are the most common choices, creating a custom house number can be the way to go when it comes to adding the finishing touch to a house front. We can produce up to 800mm length parts and help you to create something that can’t possibly be missed! Take a look at ‘We Love Home’ blog to see how blogger Maxine used our service to make a beautiful No. 8 (pictured below).

How big should my house number be? We can create house numbers of any size!