A comprehensive look at polishing stainless steel

Countless industries use steel tubes for all kinds of purposes. There are many different forms, including ERW tube and seamless stainless steel tubing. They can cater for a massive selection of applications, including automotive parts, building exteriors and interiors, and medical equipment too.

Aesthetically pleasing and durable, stainless steel is chemical and corrosion resistant. It also withstands heat. Not to mention, it is one of the toughest materials around. Saying this, it is not invulnerable to the effects of time. As a result, polishing can be integral for upkeep


ERW tubeDespite being famous for its unique sheen, stainless steel is able to lose its lustre with age. However polishing means you can keep it looking good. There are other advantages too.

The primary benefit is polishing enhances the metal’s surface quality. This helps to keep the steel looking lustrous. When put together with buffing, you can gain a mirror-like finish.

Another advantage is lower corrosion. Polishing works to minimise the size and amount of crevices in metal that result in rust. So, it can actively prevent it.

Finally, it removes contaminants. This can help to prevent a variety of issues, even if you can’t see any signs of contamination.


There are several methods you can use to polish steel, including ERW tube. Typically it will be by hand or using hand tools. Or you could opt for mechanical or electropolishing. There is even an option for chemical polishing.

The most straightforward method is to apply the abrasives by hand. However, this is typically the most inefficient too as it can lead to inconsistent quality. Things get even worse when you use this method at scale. Furthermore, if the steel is already scratched or dented, it will need treatment. Otherwise, you’ll simply end up highlighting your metal’s imperfections. The kind of techniques and tools used will depend on the finish you achieve.

The correct equipment matters when seeking a finish for stainless steel. It must maintain a constant speed. As for the abrasive, it must keep a specific coarseness to polish the material properly. The extent and type of the project helps dictate the equipment you will require as well. A drill or handheld grinding tool might work for smaller jobs. For larger endeavours, you may need a grinder with a polishing wheel.


As for specific finishes, several exist. Let’s look at them, then you can decide which will be best for stainless steel or other products like ERW tube.

Mill or matte

What we have here is an unpretentious finish that needs less expense, time, and effort than others. To produce a smoother look, mill finishes tend to look a tad incomplete. Although, you can use them as a starting point for a long operation to create a more alluring appearance.


Polishing using brushing creates decorative patterns. They are ones with delicate parallel lines. Without the standard reflective sheen that stainless steel is famous for, it works well in certain areas. Examples include ones where your metal will be in direct sunlight or under bright interior lights. The downside here is that it makes the steel less corrosion resistant. Rust-proofing might prove necessary depending on the application. You also need a high-grade abrasive so you can make the lines uniform.


Next we have a very reflective finish that reaches the look that stainless steel is most famous for. It works well to hide welds and makes cleaning simpler.


Polishing the steel to a glossy finish will enhance corrosion resistance. It’s able to smooth crevices where rust can gather. The chrome-like shine is ideal for automotive components where the surface must be sufficiently prepared.

Come to us for the best ERW tube products

At Union Steel Tubes, we supply high quality tube merchandise. In addition, we make sure everything is delivered promptly. Our products are available in multiple shapes and sizes to suit differing needs. There are also different finishes like chrome, zinc plated, or deburred for even more options.

So, if you want ERW tube for any project, please let us know. We are confident we can deliver what you require.