Wednesday, November 17, 2010

How to spot the differences between Steel and Stainless Steel

When looking to design your kitchen Federal Brace offers two different grades of steel: Cold Rolled Steel and Stainless Steel. I am going to examine the differences and similarities between Cold Rolled Steel & Stainless Steel.

Similarities first - on a molecular level, which I won’t delve into too deeply, the components that make up the two materials are similar but contained in different proportions. We will discuss the effects of the component makeup later. The two types of steel have the similar deflection characteristics under weight (they carry a very similar amount of weight). This is where the similarities end.

Stainless steel is about forty-percent more expensive than cold rolled steel. The additional costs are due to the special processes required to get the non-corrosive nature of the stainless material and the elegant brushed metal finish. Stainless steel comes in a bright- brushed #4 finish, and that is good when you’ re trying to match to kitchen appliances. The good news is that you don’ t have to paint stainless steel because it won’ t corrode. If you are having trouble telling the differences between steel and stainless, you can use a magnet, because stainless steel has little magnetic attraction.

The cold rolled steel is raw and will rust if not treated properly. For large orders, we can powder coat paint steel, which basically means that we apply an electric charge to the bracket, and then spray on powder paint that adheres to the surface of the metal (I will likely do a wet paint vs. powder coat paint comparison in the future – so check back often). When you purchase the steel you’re purchasing it because of the versatile look it can give you. “ The reason we provide steel is that designers want a color that goes with their d├ęcor,” says Sales Manager, Broc Seifert, “ Some of the designers like to give our brackets a clear coating to give it a post-industrial feel. I can see it going well with a concrete countertop where everything is contemporary.”

When you receive your cold rolled steel brackets, machine oil or other surface protection coatings may be applied to the bracket. The brackets are laser cut, and the machine oil is attracted to the metal when they are being made. One benefit of the machine oil is that it will preserve the bracket during shipping. Use hot soapy water to wash off the oil before you finish them for installation. You will need to take care that the brackets are completely dry. Any moisture that remains on the brackets, including in the welds, will cause rust spots. The final step is to put a finishing coat of primer, paint or acrylic on the now clean bracket as soon as possible after washing to prevent rust from forming.

Bottom line is whatever you are looking for you must be careful to treat your brackets properly. If you have stainless steel they require limited maintenance, but cost a little bit more. If you have purchased raw steel brackets you must paint them to prevent corrosion. Be careful not to scratch them during installation.

Thank you for your time. Thanks for joining me at the Federal Brace How To Blog. Have a great day! ~ SK

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Wednesday, November 3, 2010

How to spot the differences between Lumber and Bracket Backers™

NOVEMBER 3, 2010 – CHARLOTTE, NC – Today I am comparing Federal Brace's Bracket Backer versus everyday soft lumber from a local hardware store or chain store. A Bracket Backer is not a new invention. People have been using backer boards since they started putting anything of significant weight on shelves. Here's the deal, when people are dealing with material such as sheet rock with an elevated bar application or a knee wall bar, the soft wall material cannot have a metal bracket attached to it, even if it is connecting to the stud. The problem is that the weight being carried by the bracket, which is the weight of the granite, can push into the sheetrock. This pushing down on the bottom flange can result in an impression in the sheetrock. The sheetrock can be crushed and destroyed.

To prevent flexing or crushing, Federal Brace understands the need to have some kind of barrier between the sheet rock and the weight pushing down. So we are introducing our Bracket Backer™. The President of Federal Brace, Scott Toal says, "It can be used in a lot of different situations, it doesn’t have to be used in a high-capacity setting. If someone wants to enhance the look of their bracket, the Bracket Backer™ offers a trimmed molding look around the bracket."

The main difference between the Bracket Backer™ and a standard piece of lumber is the appearance. The finished piece of lumber will have straight edges. You don’ t have to finish off the edges of the Bracket Backer™. You could go out and get molding, but it’ s not designed to hold the capacity of a granite countertop. As a finished unit the customer only has to cut down one end of the Bracket Backer™ to meet the height requirement of the installation application. The Backer is primed, ready to be painted and installed. You cut it down, paint it and you can put up your brackets.

The material used in Bracket Backers™ is mostly recycled material so it is environmentally green, and it is a medium density fiberboard which means it will be stronger than a soft piece of lumber. The Bracket Backers™ is not a suitable solution where a stained finish is required. With the Bracket Backers™ you will not find any kind of knots or imperfections. The surface should be straight leveled and ready to go since it is manufactured.

In the end both the standard lumber and the Bracket Backer™ have their positive sides, but the Bracket Backer™ is environmentally friendly, has the look you want in a countertop installation and is specifically designed for kitchen countertops.

That’s all for now! Have a good one! ~ SK