Care And Maintenance

Introduction

Banker Wire products are durable, functional, and beautiful. From initial cleaning to long-term care, the suggestions below will assist you in maintaining your wire mesh.

Different alloys and finishes will require varying degrees of care. The following recommendations for Stainless Steel, Powder Coated Finishes, Decorative Plating Finishes, Living Finishes, US10A and US10B, as well as PVD Coatings are good initial guidelines for general care.

Stainless Steel

Introduction

Stainless steel mesh is most often chosen by architects and designers for its corrosion resistance and aesthetic appeal. Banker Wire offers both T304 and T316L stainless steel alloys with an exceptional quality of finish to the wire. Maintaining its original appearance requires very little effort. For best performance, the surface of the mesh should be kept clear of corrosive agents, like free iron, and deposits from dirt and grime accumulated during normal handling and exposure to the elements.

Initial Cleaning

Banker Wire manufactures all products in a bare, mill finished condition within an industrial setting. After receipt of the wire mesh and when all fabrication and handing is completed, a final cleaning should be considered to remove all surface contaminants and ensure the material will look and perform at its best. Simply using a soft, damp cloth after installation to remove any contaminates and dirt that have accumulated during its handling is sufficient to initially clean the mesh. If cross contamination is suspected due to improper handling, an environmentally friendly citric acid passivation process should be considered to remove any existing corrosive agents on the stainless steel surface before installation.

Care and Maintenance

Stainless steel woven wire mesh adds a long lasting and unique architectural design element to any project. The corrosion resistance that stainless steel offers can be reduced if the material is not cared for from time to time. For stainless steel to look and perform at its best, simple and regular care is required. Environmental conditions and aesthetic standards will usually determine the frequency of cleaning required for the individual application. The best policy is to clean the mesh when dirty to remove contaminants that may degrade the stainless steel’s ability to withstand corrosion and restore the original appearance.

For a thorough cleaning, a recommended process is to rinse the mesh with deionized/distilled water to remove any loose contaminants. Wash mesh using a soft cloth and deionized/distilled water containing a mild, environmentally safe multi-purpose cleaner with a detergent or 5% ammonia. If necessary, use a soft nylon brush to remove any stubborn stains. Rinse with clean cold water and allow to dry completely.

For light cleaning or interior applications, use a clean soft cloth, either dry or damp, to remove surface contaminant build-up. Be sure to allow the mesh to dry completely.

Note: Never use steel wool cleaning pads on stainless steel wire mesh. Cross contamination of the unalloyed “free iron” can result in brown rust stains on the stainless steel wire mesh.

We strongly recommend always using deionized/distilled water when cleaning stainless steel to prevent water spots.

POWDER COAT FINISHES

A powder coated finish on wire mesh offers the ability to achieve nearly every color in the rainbow. To maintain the appearance of your powder coated wire mesh, regular maintenance is recommended. The amount of care and maintenance required depends on the use or exposure conditions.

Clean powder coated surfaces with clean warm water, using clean cloths or rags and a mild household cleaner. Avoid using a power washer as the pressure may exceed the adhesion characteristics. Avoid harsh or abrasive cleaners and scouring substances. High gloss and dark colored surfaces may show fine scratching or swirl marks with hard scrubbing or abrasive cleaners. Low gloss or textured surfaces may hold viscous cleaners or pastes due to the surface topography.

DECORATIVE PLATING FINISHES

Decorative plating brings out the true and unique visual texture of each piece of Banker Wire mesh. The wire mesh is woven in plain steel and is coated with either brass, nickel, or copper. Plated woven wire mesh is not meant to be used in an exterior application or where it can be exposed to excessive moisture. All plated wire mesh finishes are clear coated to protect the finish from oxidation. Care must be taken to protect the clear coat finish so that tarnishing does not occur.

Maintaining the lacquer finish can be done by regularly wiping the surfaces with a dry, soft cloth. Wipe the mesh firmly, but do not apply extreme pressure or rub too aggressively; this could cause heat to build up which may distort the finish. Do not use paper cloths as they tend to scratch the surface of the lacquer.

If the lacquer has dirt or grease on it, clean with a soft, damp cloth. Once dry, lightly wipe with an additional dry, soft cloth to remove any remaining moisture.

Never use metal polish or abrasives of any kind to clean a lacquered surface as they will scratch the coating. Do not use commercial liquid cleaners. Most cleaners contain trace amounts of solvent, ammonia, or ammines that can break down the coating. This breakdown can range from a slight distortion of the gloss to completely removing the coating from the substrate.

Living Finishes

About Living Finishes

Banker Wire utilizes a wide range of alloys for our wire mesh, among these are a group of metal alloys that are referred to as “Copper based alloys”. Brass, Bronze, and Copper all contain some percentage of copper content. The reactive nature of copper towards oxygen and moisture puts this group of alloys in an ever changing state of oxidation that we know as “Tarnish”. The timing and degree of this tarnish will vary and is dependent upon the situation of both handling of the material and the environment in which this material is located. Similar to a potted plant, the health of that plant depends on the care and location. For this reason, we can categorize the copper based alloys as “Living Finishes”.

The unique beauty of how brass, bronze or copper displays in a wire mesh pattern is unmatched by other alloys or secondary finishes. The choice in using these materials in application is either to embrace the change that will occur or, introduce processes that will mitigate change. If either preservation of the bright alloy is desired or an accelerated darkening of the alloy is more appealing, there are secondary processes that can be introduced to achieve this outcome. However, there are limitations and variations that can occur in these processes due to the “Living” nature of the alloy.

To preserve the bright characteristic of these alloys, the surface of the metal must be starved from oxygen and moisture. A protective coating of any kind that creates a barrier to oxygen will do and the effectiveness of protecting the metal from oxidation is equal to that coatings performance. Anything from a wax to lacquer to even grease will do. With exterior environments being the most troublesome in terms of the effectiveness of the available coatings, success in maintaining the appearance of these alloys lies predominantly in interior applications.

Secondary Finishes for Interior Applications

  • US10A: Preserves the bight, tarnish-free appearance of brass, bronze, and copper by applying a clear lacquer topcoat to the mesh.
  • US10B: Accelerates the darkening patina of brass, bronze, and copper followed by a clear lacquer topcoat.

Handling Bare Living Finish Products

The icon displayed above is used to indicate a Living Finish and will appear on sample packaging, quotes, and in various places on our website when applicable. When a bare Living Finish has been chosen for a project, we recommend enhanced handling protocols to ensure that the wire mesh looks it’s very best. Below are recommendations on how to handle and store your Living Finish wire mesh:

  • Handle with the wire mesh with extreme care and avoid using bare hands to touch the metal, the natural oils on your hands can promote rapid tarnishing. Always use clean gloves when handling the product, changing them as necessary.
  • Cleaning a bare Living Finish by any method will most likely result in varying degrees of uneven luster, coloring, and tarnish.
  • Protect the mesh from contact with other surfaces while fabricating or installing.
  • Store the mesh in protective packaging within an indoor environment until ready to use.

Comparing the photos above: Both the fireplace application and wall cladding application use S-16 woven wire mesh in copper. In the wall cladding application, the copper is further along in it’s oxidization which can lend a unique, almost rustic appearance to the space.

US10A and US10B Secondary Finishes

About US10A

The US10A finish applies to copper based alloys such as copper, bronze, and brass. The US10A finish physically removes the tarnish from the top layer of the bronze, brass, or, copper. To prevent the finish from changing, a standard lacquer topcoat is applied and is suitable for interior use only. The continued protection of the finish therefore, is subject to the care of the lacquer finish.

 

About US10B

The US10B finish applies to copper based alloys such as copper, bronze, and brass. The US10B process creates a darkened oxide layer on the surface of the mesh material. To prevent the darkened finish from changing, a standard lacquer topcoat is applied and is suitable for interior use only. The continued protection of the darkened finish therefore, is subject to the care of the lacquer finish.

 

Cleaning US10A and US10B

Maintaining the lacquer finish can be done by regularly wiping the surfaces with a dry, soft cloth. Wipe the mesh firmly, but do not apply extreme pressure or rub too aggressively; this could cause heat to build up which may distort the finish. Do not use paper cloths as they tend to scratch the surface of the lacquer.

If the lacquer has dirt or grease on it, clean with a soft, damp cloth. Once dry, lightly wipe with an additional dry, soft cloth to remove any remaining moisture.

Never use metal polish or abrasives of any kind to clean a lacquered surface as they will scratch the coating. Do not use commercial liquid cleaners. Most cleaners contain trace amounts of solvent, ammonia, or ammines that can break down the coating. This breakdown can range from a slight distortion of the gloss to completely removing the coating from the substrate.

DECORATIVE PVD FINISHES

Decorative PVD (Physical Vapor Deposition) is a thin film deposition process where a metallic solid is vaporized in a vacuum chamber and deposited onto a target surface as a coating. Using various metal compounds, a vast range of brilliant metallic color can be created and applied to stainless steel wire mesh.

It should be noted that vapor particulate will be present on the wire mesh following the completed Decorative PVD process. A final cleaning of the material should be considered prior to installation.

To clean and maintain stainless steel wire mesh with a Decorative PVD Finish:

  1. Use a clean sponge and wash with a solution of six (6) ounces of Dawn® dishwashing liquid to one (1) gallon of warm deionized/distilled water.
  2. Rinse the wire mesh with deionized/distilled water to prevent water spots.
  3. Dry thoroughly using chamois, pressurized air, and/or other non-abrasive methods to remove all moisture within the weave as well as the mesh decorative surface

We strongly recommend always using deionized/distilled water when cleaning stainless steel Decorative PVD finished wire mesh to prevent water spots.