Q. "What do the different types of stainless steel (304, 316, etc) mean?"
A. The term "stainless steel" refers to specific grades of steel that contain more than 10% chromium. Stainless steel may also include a variety of other elements (such as nickel, titanium, molybdenum, etc); it resists corrosion and is generally a stronger, more reliable steel. The most common grades of stainless steel are:
Type 304: Aside from having a higher content of chromium than most other types of stainless steel, type 304 also contains nickel; this enables it to withstand most ordinary corrosion in architecture, is durable in typical food processing environments, and resists most chemicals.
Type 316: Similar to type 304, but also contains a small amount of molybdenum, which is an alloy element #304 does not contain (but one that provides even stronger resistance to some deterioration). Types 304 and 316 are grades of stainless steel that are most often used in plumbing, as well as in the manufacturing of kitchen utensils and sinks.
Type 409: Does not contain virtually any nickel at all, but also is the stainless steel that contains the least amount of chromium. Type 409 is more suitable for high temperature applications, which is why it's often used in automotive trim and exhaust systems, or hot water tanks.
Type 410: Also does not contain any significant nickel; its primary difference to type 409 stainless is characterized by the use of heat treatment for hardening and strengthening. Type 410 is not appropriate for severely corrosive applications, but used instead in environments that require high strength; this is why it's the type of stainless steel that's often used in surgical equipment.
Type 430: Another plain-chromium stainless steel, similar to type 409, but is usually used in decorative applications.
Q. "I notice you also offer some similar sinks on your site with 'coved corners', whereas the sinks above are described with 'square corners'. What's the difference between 'square corners' and 'coved corners'?"
A. "Coved corners" are NSF ("National Sanitation Foundation") approved because the corners and angles of the sink's working area (where the horizontal drainboards meet the vertical backsplash, for instance) are rounded, allowing for easier and more complete cleaning. The sinks with squared corners have tight angles where the vertical and horizontal areas meet; they're still high quality sinks, but the squared corners can make it very difficult to clean any grime that might build up there (and so also prevents them from meeting NSF standards). If you'd like to look over some coved-corner sink models, you can find them here.
Q. "I'm installing my Griffin sink in my new business, and ease of maintenance is important to me. Should I choose coved corners or squared corners?"
A. Because the sinks with coved corners have rounded "seams", they're much easier to clean than the squared-corner models. Also, the coved-corners sinks are NSF-approved, whereas the squared-corner sinks are not; your local building codes may require your sink to be NSF-approved, so be sure to check with your city or county building inspectors or Building Development Department to confirm what is required in your area before you select your sink.
Q. "The optional 'DR Series' drainboards that you offer above are described as 'reversible'. What do you mean by that?"
A. The drainboards are not permanently attached to the sink, so they can be moved from one side of the sink to the other. They can even be mounted along the front of the sink.
Q. "Do you have any tips on how I should take care of my stainless steel sink?"
A. We sure do! Just click here for more information.
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