Stainless Steel Sheets for Every Budget

February 11, 2021
In this post, you'll read:Understanding the costs associated with different types of stainless steel sheets can help you plan your budget or select the most appropriate stainless steel thickness and surface finish.

Table of Contents

Managing a budget is a crucial part of any project, from designing a public use building to remodeling the kitchen. The long lifespan of stainless steel makes it an attractive option for adding value to plenty of different designs. The 100% recyclable nature of stainless steel means you aren’t creating waste and can lower your project’s environmental impact. 

Understanding the costs associated with different types of stainless steel sheets can help you plan your budget or select the most appropriate stainless steel thickness and surface finish. Those are the most significant factors in the final cost of a sheet of stainless steel, but additional coatings and treatments can also change the amount you should expect in your budget. 

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For a full custom quote that meets your project’s needs, you can reach out to the FTSSS staff. Our skilled customer service and sales teams understand the challenges you face and can help you decide on the best fit for your situation. 

How is Cost Calculated

Here are some of the main factors in determining the final cost of a piece of stainless steel. These are in the order from the most considerable impact on the price to the smallest impact. 

Thickness of 2B Sheets

The standard finish for a sheet of stainless steel is called 2B. It results from the rolling process that turns the metal into sheets and then a quick smoothing finish. 2B is the foundation of all the other finishes, coatings, and styles we will look at throughout this article, so understanding it is crucial. 

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Sheets of 2B typically come in a range of 0.5 mm to 3 mm thick. The thicker a sheet of stainless steel is, the higher the cost will be. Your 2B sheets’ base thickness will be the most significant expense in the full quote, and the needed thickness will depend on your project. Determine the role you need these sheets to fill: protection from the elements, easy to clean paneling, or purely for cosmetic improvement of a non-working space. This can help the staff match you to a suitable depth of stainless steel.

The Finish

The most time and delicate skill in the manufacturing process are used during the finishing of the sheets. While the 2B finish might work in some cases, there are various useful and ornamental metal finishes. Upgrade your steel’s finish and improve the aesthetic and functionality of your interior or exterior design. 

This is an image of stainless steel finishes.

Color Coating

Stainless steel naturally has a soft and classic brightness. The inclusion of chromium that gives it the corrosion and heat resistance also makes it naturally beautiful. Treatments such as physical vapor deposition (PVD) increase the lifespan and resistances of stainless steel, but PVD can also be used to change the metal color. FTSSS offers many different colors of PVD coating for every type of decoration plan. 

This is an image of stainless steel color sheets.

Protective Coating

PVD coating improves the stainless steel, but other coatings can be used in addition to PVD. The most popular treatment for high-traffic areas (or people with children) is the anti-fingerprint coating. This means that fingerprints will not stick to the surface and leave a mark. This coating also helps water drops hold their shape and wipe clean. Over time, stainless steel with the anti-fingerprint coating will resist more water and oil stains. This is a favorite treatment for kitchens and public use spaces like elevators and lobbies. 

Most Affordable Stainless Steel Sheets

These are some of the lowest-priced options for projects where cost is more important than how unique the result looks. These are some classic forms of stainless steel, and these options will provide great value in applications involving heavy use. 

2B

The standard 2B finish comes from the cold-rolling process. This is the baseline for every other finish. 2B fits best in applications where it is hidden from view, and you are not trying to make an impression. A thin sheet of 2B around 0.5 mm thick will be the cheapest option for stainless steel sheets. 

This is an image of 2B stainless steel sheet.

Hairline

The hairline finish features a series of scratches, all running in the same direction along the length of the sheet. Hairline is the least expensive improved finish for stainless steel. It can be used to draw the eye in a specific direction, along the grain of the scratching. 

This is an image of hairline stainless steel sheet.

No.4

The No.4 finish is a brushed finish and is very popular. The brushed surface diffuses the bright light needed in workspaces like kitchens and medical facilities. The decorative, brushed scratches that spread across the surface can hide plenty of the small scratches that result from heavy use. The popularity of No.4 allows it to be produced in bulk quickly and keeps the price reasonable. 

This is an image of No.4 stainless steel sheet.

Basic Mirror

A mirror finish not only looks good but it increases your steel’s corrosion resistance. By removing all small crevices in the metal where corrosive particles could become caught, you extend the life of your steel. There are different levels of mirror finish, depending on the grit level used to polish it. The primary mirror finish at FTSSS is at 8,000 grit, which is already an excellent premium finish. 

Mid-Range Options for Stainless Steel 

These options involve significant upgrades for stainless steel sheets with a minimal increase in cost. Adding on coatings or upgraded finishes can also increase the lifespan of your stainless steel. 

Fine Mirror and Ultra-Precision Mirror

The basic mirror finish is excellent, but for an even more exact reflection, engineers use finer grit polishing machines. FTSSS’s fine grit mirror polish is smoother than the standard. That said, our Ultra-Precision mirror finish is made from extensive polishing at 10k grit. For a pure reflection and stunning brightness, go for the premium Ultra-Precision

This is an image of mirror stainless steel sheet.

Vibration Finish 

The multidirectional lines of the vibration finish can make a piece of metal look inviting and organic. It pairs well with PVD color coating for gold accents to any type of decoration or consumer product. 

This is an image of vibration stainless steel sheet.

Bead Blasted Finish

Bead blasted finish also requires unique equipment and is the same price as vibration. By assailing the sheet with beads, you end up with a gorgeous satin look with a soft and subtle reflection. 

This is an image of bead blasted stainless steel sheet.

PVD Color Coating

Since we have already sung PVD’s praises in this article, let’s get right to the cost and options. FTSSS offers many coating options, but the materials for different colors are often at different prices. Funnily enough, the least expensive color for PVD is gold. This is linked to gold-colored stainless steel being so common for interior decoration. FTSSS also offers champagne gold and rose color coatings to help your project stand out from the crowd. 

FTSSS can produce other colors: rose red, wine red, black, emerald green, pink, violet, and a beautiful, premium sapphire blue. 

This is an image of PVD coated colors.

Anti-Fingerprint Coating

The benefits of Anti-Fingerprint coating are clear, just like their appearance. The cost of adding this extra protection is surprisingly low. It is a great value add to many uses of stainless steel and is standard on consumer appliances and things that are handled often.  

High-End Stainless Steel Sheets

These finishes take more time and specialized equipment to put onto your sheets, and only the most skilled and experienced engineers perform this work. These styles will make a much stronger statement and impress your guests or customers. 

FTSSS can work directly with your ideas and art to add logos, designs, patterns, or almost anything you can imagine onto your stainless steel. We can even send you a prototype at a low cost before you invest in a full order. 

Embossed

An embossed finish adds a pattern or design onto metal, and the possibilities are nearly endless for what can be depicted on your stainless steel sheets. 

This is an image of stainless steel embossed sheet.

Stamped

Stamping can create a new texture or pattern on stainless steel sheets. It is easy to repeat once you have the stamps, which is terrific if you are expanding a business into new locations or are worried about maintaining a uniform look. 

This is an image of stainless steel stamped sheet.

Etched

A chemical process that results in an appearance similar to an engraving, metal etching is a great way to customize the appearance of your product or interior decoration. 

This is an image of stainless steel etched sheet.

Next Steps

If you are overwhelmed by all the choices, that is understandable. The combinations and variations go even deeper than what we have covered here. Take a look at the current FTSSS catalog for more examples and to see our full offerings. Contact us for help choosing the best option for your project. You can chat with our staff or send us an email at sales@ftsss.com

Hi, I am Linda, FTSSS blog writer . I have been working on stainless steel  since I graduated from university. How time flies!  13 years have slipped away from me. ‘Stay hungry, Stay foolish.’ I am walking steadily on the road of seeking knowledge every day.

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