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Stainless Steel Hardware Information, Care, and Cleaning

What Elements Make Stainless Steel “Stainless”?
Stainless steel is the term for grades of steel that contain more than 10% chromium, with or without other alloying elements. Stainless steel resists corrosion, maintains its strength at high temperatures, and is easily maintained. For these reasons, it is used widely in architectural hardware, chemical plants and highly corrosive atmospheres.

The most common grades of stainless steel are type 304, The most commonly specified austenitic (chromium-nickel stainless class) stainless steel, accounting for more than half of the stainless steel produced in the world. This grade withstands ordinary corrosion, is durable in typical food processing environments, and resists most chemicals. Type 304 is available in virtually all product forms and finishes. Type 316 Austenitic (chromium-nickel stainless class) stainless steel containing 2%-3% molybdenum (whereas 304 has none). The inclusion of molybdenum gives 316 greater resistances to various forms of deterioration.

Unprotected carbon steel rusts readily when exposed to today’s atmospheric conditions of air and moisture. This iron oxide film (the rust) is active and accelerates corrosion by forming more iron oxide. The corrosion will continue until all the carbon steel is converted into iron oxide and because stainless steel contains at least 10% chromium, the oxidation of the iron is changed to produce a complex oxide that resists further oxidation and forms a passive layer on the surface.

The passive layer is only a few microns in thickness and will reform if it is removed by scratching or machining. If stainless steel is properly selected and maintained, it should not suffer any corrosion. For highly corrosive areas, 316 grade or PVD over 304L may be recommended. PBB’s standard grade stainless steel is 304L.

What Makes Stainless Steel Corrode?
Stainless steel is corrosion resistant and not corrosion proof and will corrode under certain conditions. Corrosion in stainless steel is not the same type of corrosion as found in carbon steel. The most likely form of stainless steel corrosion is “pitting”. Pitting occurs when the environment overpowers the ability of stainless steel to reform the passive layer. Normally dark brown pits occur on the surface of the stainless steel.

The three key types of corrosion that normally effect door hardware products are:
1. Atmospheric Corrosion – Atmospheric corrosion occurs when stainless steel is exposed to airborne liquids, solids or gases. Some sources of atmospheric corrosion are sea spray, rain in coastal zones, salt (possibly from de-icing), and dirt. This form of corrosion is typically worse outdoors, especially near marine environments.
2. Chemical Corrosion – Chemical corrosion takes place when stainless steel comes in direct contact with a material that has a high chloride concentration or a strong corrosive solution. Some factors which affect the severity of chemical corrosion include: chemical/chloride concentration level, duration of contact, frequency of washing, and the operating environment.
3. Contact Corrosion – A small piece of carbon steel, scale, copper, or foreign material lodged in stainless steel may be sufficient to destroy passivity at the point of contact and cause pitting. Carbon steel brushes and steel wool should never be used to clean stainless steel.

Maintenance of Stainless Steel Finishes
Cleanliness is essential for maximum resistance to corrosion. Surface contamination by dirt or other materials hinders the ability of stainless steel to reform the passive layer and traps corrosive agents, reducing corrosion protection. In many cases, standard household cleaners can be used to clean and maintain stainless steel hardware items. Soap, ammonia, and detergent and water are used to clean normal dirt. Cleaning should always be followed by rinsing with clean water. When water contains mineral solids, which leave water spots, it is advisable to wipe the surface completely with dry towels.

In selecting cleaning practices, consider the possibility of scratching and the potential for post cleaning corrosion caused by incompletely removed cleaners. Select only cleaners that are not abrasive, not acidic, and low in chloride. Many antibacterial cleaners used to clean and sanitize door hardware contain high levels of chlorides, which will cause corrosion if not properly removed from the surface by rinsing. Routine cleaning is essential, especially in environments that have elevated levels of atmospheric corrosion. Proper care for your stainless steel door hardware will result in many years of durable use.

Information compiled by PBB Hardware using information from the Stainless Steel Industry of North America, ASM International (American Society of Metals), and Euro Inox (European Stainless Steel Development Association).

Learn About Different Styles of Kitchen Cabinet Hardware

Craftsman Mission Cabinet Knobs Pulls Hardware

The Style File: Mission style kitchen cabinet hardware has its roots in the international craftsman movement, which took off as a more down-to-earth antidote to over-the-top Victorian ornateness and the mass-produced frenzy of the Industrial Revolution. Today, mission’s rich historical legacy can be spied in designs that emphasize flawless form, texture and materials over bold surface colors and patterns. A classic hammered face is probably the most elaborate detail you’ll find on metal-finished arts and crafts cabinet hardware, but that’s not to say you’d be settling for simple. The idea is to let the workmanship speak for itself through an understated yet sophisticated aesthetic.


It’s Your Perfect Match If: You buy all of your groceries from the local farmers’ market, crave everything handmade and can’t resist a good flea-market find. With its warm metal tones and antique accents, mission style cabinet hardware has the look and feel of being transported straight from a blacksmith’s well-worn forge.

Mission Style Kitchen
Photo by Signature Kitchen & Bath Design – Discover craftsman kitchen design ideas

To see 360 Yardware’s selection of Craftsman Cabinet Hardware, click here.



Whimsical and Artistic cabinet hardware knobs and pullsThe Style File: Featuring ethereal designs that run the gamut from playful animal silhouettes to mystical engravings to delicate floral handles, whimsical cabinet hardware is the ultimate grown-up take on fairy tales. While it may draw its inspiration from hidden worlds, a professional artistic touch means that whimsical style is never too amateur or childish to fit into your modern lifestyle. Balanced with more structured elements, it can bring a measured touch of magic to any home, whether you live in a charming country cottage or a contemporary urban abode.

It’s Your Perfect Match If: You’re a dreamer with a bigger-than-life imagination. If you’ve always wanted to live in a storybook romance, now is your chance. Expertly carved into quality metals and ceramics, whimsical cabinet hardware makes it easy to unleash your inner creativity without turning your home into a scene from Cinderella.

Aspen II Twig 12″ cc Pull – Brushed Satin Nickel Finish


Photo Courtesy: Dan Piassick © 2013 Gibbs Smith, Allure of French & Italian Decor, Betty Lou Phillips From HGTV

To see 360 Yardware’s selection of Artistic/Whimsical Cabinet Hardware, click here.


Midcentury modern kitchen cabinet hardwareThe Style File: Created to mark a fresh start in post-war America, mid-century modern design feels as relevant today as it did in decades past, largely thanks to its unique ability to seamlessly blend into any space. Sleek and sophisticated with a minimalist sensibility, it serves more as an extension of the home’s architecture and its surrounding landscape than a standalone attraction, and that’s just the point. Combined with precise construction, clean lines, organic materials and structured shapes, mid-century modern cabinet hardware creates a natural flow for an effortlessly cool look that never goes out of style.

It’s Your Perfect Match If: You’re sophisticated without being showy. You love the idea of a home that feels in harmony with nature, but you’re no flower child. For a kitchen that feels equal parts voguish, laid-back and environmentally chic, mid-century modern hardware is your best bet.

Mid-Century-Modern Kitchen Cabinet Knobs



To see 360 Yardware’s selection of Mid-Century Modern Cabinet Hardware, click here.


Asian Style and Eastern Influence Cabinet Hardware and Knobs and PullsThe Style File: Just like it sounds, Eastern influence brings Asian-inspired details like burnished metals, intricate patterns and calming silhouettes to the Western shores. Variations in Eastern cabinet hardware depend on the region. Designs that hail from the Chinese and Japanese schools of style tend to follow a slightly stricter aesthetic with emphasis on sharp geometric lines and abstract shapes, while those that source ideas from the spiritual side of Southeast Asia are usually more otherworldly and ornate. If you can’t decide which region’s art speaks to you, East-meets-West fusion designs offer the ideal middle ground.

It’s Your Perfect Match If: Your idea of a dream vacation involves visiting Buddhist temples in Bangkok, buying silk from the markets of Beijing or getting lost in the Balinese rice fields. Your sense of adventure calls for decor with an international vibe. Asian cabinet hardware may not be the same thing as a one-way ticket to paradise, but it’s sure to keep your inner globetrotter happy to be home until your next exotic adventure abroad.

Asian/Eastern Influence Kitchen Cabinet Knob Styles


To see 360 Yardware’s selection of Asian/Eastern Influence Cabinet Hardware, click here.


Transitional Style Kitchen Cabinet HardwareThe Style File: Its strong emphasis on neutral colors, streamlined silhouettes and classic proportions make transitional style hard to pin down, but if you had to use a single phrase to define it, it would probably be understated elegance. Like much transitional decor, transitional cabinet hardware is all sleek lines and crisp cuts with no pops of bright color in sight. If that sounds like a recipe for a boring home, don’t be so quick to judge. While it might look simple and straightforward, nothing is an afterthought here. With every line and curve carefully accounted for, transitional style strips interior design back to the basics while maintaining an airy and tasteful ambiance.


It’s Your Perfect Match If: You’re cool, calm and collected with a refined edge. While you aren’t about extravagant glitz and glamour, you wouldn’t dream of being caught red-handed with a chipped manicure or a messy closet. When you prefer chic, minimally elegant details over big-impact statements, transitional is surely your style soul mate.


To see 360 Yardware’s selection of Transitional Cabinet Hardware, click here.


Rustic Style Kitchen Cabinet Hardware Knobs and PullsThe Style File: In today’s increasingly busy world, it’s no surprise that more and more homeowners are decorating with rustic cabinet knobs and pulls to satisfy their craving for the simpler days of yesteryear. Mixing weathered finishes, antiqued metals and organic materials, rustic cabinet hardware oozes with old-world charm, while woodsy touches like twig handles and knobs shaped like pine cones bring the serenity of nature indoors. The result is a space that feels untouched by time in the best possible way – a cozy and warm hideaway with a dash of hippie chic.

Aspen Rounded cc 4″ Pull – Mahogany Bronze Finish

It’s Your Perfect Match If: You love bonfires, log cabins and generally anything to do with wilderness and the great outdoors. You think your tablet is pretty great, but you also wish that you lived back in a time before bosses could email. If the stresses of daily life sometimes get you down, turning your home into a calming retreat can be just what the doctor ordered. With rustic cabinet pulls and knobs, you can recreate that peaceful feel of a quaint forest lodge without trading in your favorite modern comforts for a threadbare off-the-grid lifestyle.


To see 360 Yardware’s selection of Rustic Cabinet Hardware, click here.



The Style File: Because traditional is too often used as a code word for outdated, old and boring design, it’s easy to dismiss it as something that belongs in your grandparents’ house, but that would be more than a little unfair. In reality, far from the stuffy images it conjures up, true traditional style borrows from the best of classic trends and materials to infuse a little more down-home comfort into today’s hectic modern lifestyle. Characterized by recognizable retro colors, weathered textures and pleasantly rounded shapes, traditional cabinet hardware can be just the thing to make your modern kitchen feel a little more personal.

Emtek Traditional Spindle Pull Cabinet Hardware in French Antique

It’s Your Perfect Match If: You miss the familiar comforts of your childhood. If classic art, vintage toys and period movies make you smile, traditional style should be one of the first choices on your design radar. With small-scale accents like retro cabinet hardware, it’s easy to give any space a traditional makeover without veering into all-out nostalgia.


To see 360 Yardware’s selection of Traditional Cabinet Hardware, click here.


Modern Kitchen Cabinet Hardware and Knobs and PullsThe Style File: Modern is sometimes used as a catch-all term for a variety of minimalist movements that rebelled against the excesses of centuries past, but at its core, it simply stands for cutting-edge design. By manipulating form, function, color or texture, modern style aims to split with tradition in ways that feel fresh and unexpected. For makers of modern cabinet hardware, that means playing with different media, creating futuristic finishes or incorporating natural materials into artificial foundations.

It’s Your Perfect Match If: You start your day with reading the latest tech news and can’t wait until the age of space travel. When you always have your eye on the future, you want a design style that doesn’t keep you tied to the past. Whether you choose a sleek metal knob, a minimalist steel bar pull or a round mixed-media button, modern hardware brings the best in up-to-date design right to your fingertips.


To see 360 Yardware’s selection of Modern Cabinet Hardware, click here.


Contemporary cabinet knobs and pulls

The Style File: While they’re often confused for one and the same, contemporary and modern styles are more like distant step sisters than identical twins. While modern is used to describe designs that break new ground, contemporary covers what’s popular right now. If that sounds like a fleeting trend, it helps to remember that design cycles take years – sometimes decades – to transition into something entirely new, so you don’t have to worry about your contemporary cabinet hardware going out of fashion. Polished metals, high-gloss finishes and the use of timeless materials like glass and crystal give today’s contemporary cabinet pulls own-it-forever appeal that you can trust.

It’s Your Perfect Match If: You think of yourself as an early adapter of all things stylish. If you’re always the first in your circle to rock a new trend, contemporary design is your calling. Eye-catching contemporary drawer pulls let you bring the same fearless, fashion-forward attitude to your kitchen.


To see 360 Yardware’s selection of Contemporary Cabinet Hardware, click here.

Top Knobs Aspen Collection – Hand Finished Solid Cast Bronze

The Aspen Collection is made of solid cast bronze using ancient techniques. Each piece is hand-finished for a one-of-a-kind look and feel. Top Knobs uses 90% recycled material to create the Aspen Collection.

Aspen Collection… Influenced by the past.

Designer decorative hardware that’s crafted with tradition.

Top Knobs Aspen Collection - Solid Cast Bronze

Solid Cast Bronze – For handcrafted luxury at a surprisingly affordable price, discover Top Knobs’ Aspen line, created with beautiful bronze.

Top Knobs Aspen Collection Solid Cast Bronze - Hand Crafted

Hand Crafted – What began 5,000 years ago as the standard for creating art, jewelry and armor has become Top Knobs’ standard of excellence.

Top Knobs Aspen Collection Solid Cast Bronze - 4 Finishes

Top Knobs infuses the intricate copper formulas and traditional casting techniques into each
handcrafted design in their Aspen Collection.

Top Knobs Aspen Collection Solid Cast Bronze - Hand Finished

The Aspen Collection includes 4 finishes and over 160 solid cast bronze knobs and pulls.

Top Knobs Aspen Collection Solid Cast Bronze - Proprietary Sealed Finish

Proprietary Sealed Finish – Aspen’s light patina and natural distressed look stay protected from age or wear.

Top Knobs Aspen Collection Solid Cast Bronze - Hand Finished

Hand Finished Beauty – Every piece in Top Knobs’ Aspen Collection is hand-cast and hand-finished, which accentuates the one-of-a-kind look and feel.


About Top Knobs

Top knobs lifetime warranty

The #1 manufacturer of decorative knobs and drawer pulls

Top Knobs was founded in 1994 and began its remarkable climb to leadership in the North American decorative hardware industry. Today Top Knobs is the #1 manufacturer of decorative hardware for the professional market. We have the greatest selection of products, the largest number of showrooms, and the top sales volume. Top Knobs products are prominently displayed in leading kitchen, bath and decorative hardware showrooms in North America.

The Designer’s Choice

Top Knobs partners with professional showrooms to display 30 product collections and 37 finishes of kitchen and bath decorative hardware and accessories. As a “design company” our products are not available at mass merchandising do-it-yourself stores. Top Knobs is available only from design showrooms.

Top Knobs offers the industry’s most extensive line of premium quality cabinet, drawer, and bath knobs, pulls and other hardware, created to suit all tastes and styles. The company’s wide selection of traditional and modern decorative hardware is the result of a creative design staff and talented craftsmen. Each Top Knobs piece has the quality look and feel of custom-made, at an affordable price. Top Knobs is the #1 leader and #1 trend-setter for the professional decorative hardware industry. Visit one of our showroom partners today to experience the design, selection, quality, value, and service that has made Top Knobs #1.

High quality cabinet hardware

Top Knobs Lifetime Warranty

Top knobs lifetime warranty

Top Knobs USA warrants for the lifetime of the original consumer purchaser that the products will be free from defects in materials and craftsmanship.
The Top Knobs USA Limited Lifetime Warranty is a statement of confidence to our customers to the reliability of Top Knobs USA’s products, which are designed and manufactured to the highest standards in quality, style, appearance and durability. This warranty reflects a tradition of excellence and a commitment to superior manufacturing, innovative design and craftsmanship dedicated to you, our customer. This warranty is our pledge to you that we will proudly stand behind our products for as long as you own it.

What is Covered? This warranty covers any defects in material and craftsmanship. This warranty applies only to the original consumer purchaser and is non-transferrable.

How Long Does the Coverage Last? This warranty lasts for the lifetime of the original consumer purchaser as long as you own your Top Knobs USA product. Coverage terminates if you sell or otherwise transfer your Top Knobs USA product.

What Will Top Knobs USA Do? At Top Knobs USA’s option, Top Knobs USA will repair or replace the defective product, or repay the purchase price of the defective product.

What Does This Warranty Not Cover? This warranty does not apply to any Top Knob USA product which has been subject to misuse, improper installation, accident, natural disaster, corrosive air, outdoor use, or has been altered. Products may experience changes in appearance due to normal wear and tear. Normal wear and tear is not a defect and is not covered by this warranty. This warranty does not cover any damages or expenses caused by any defective product.

How Do You Get Service? In order to be eligible for service under this warranty you MUST: (1) contact Top Knobs USA (address below) specifying the defect and requesting instructions on how to proceed; (2) allow Top Knobs USA to inspect the product at a reasonable time and at a reasonable location; and (3) return the product to Top Knobs USA within thirty (30) days after being instructed to do so by Top Knobs USA, along with a description of the defect and documentation of being the original consumer purchaser.

Your Rights Under State and Other Law: This warranty gives you specific legal rights, and you may also have other rights which vary from state to state in the United States, province to province in Canada, and from country to country.

PO BOX 779
Belle Mead, NJ 08502

What Does Center-to-Center Measurement Mean?

With new cabinets, this might not matter be applicable because the doors won’t have had cabinet pulls installed previously. But when replacing cabinet pulls, you’ll want to measure the distance from the center of one hole to the center of the second hole. This is your center-to-center measurement.

If you want to replace a pull with a knob, you can do that by choosing a knob that has a coordinating backplate. The backplate will cover the old holes and you can install the knob in the center.

What is a back plate and when would I need or want to use one?
A back plate mounts between the knob and pull and the cabinet or drawer. It is bigger or longer than the knob or pull, so it creates a wider base, upon which the knob or pull is mounted. Back plates are often used just to be decorative. They often have an interesting design and matching finish that compliments well with the knob or pull, and gives the cabinet or drawer a whole different look. Back plates can also be used in a remodel to hide the mounting hole from a previous knob or pull used on the same cabinet or drawer. If the new pull is longer than the previous pull, the back plate would cover up the previous mounting holes, giving a clean new look to the cabinet or drawer.

center to center measurement

High quality cabinet hardware

What Is An Appliance Pull?

Top knobs lifetime warranty

Appliance pulls by Top KnobsAn appliance handle is typically used on a paneled refrigerator, freezer, trash compactor, or dishwasher where the front of the appliance looks like a cabinet face rather than an appliance. The Appliance Pull is used to open the appliance door. Top Knobs has the most extensive range of appliance handles. They come in a variety of styles and finishes. The choice of what appliance handle style to use is usually based on matching the knobs and pulls on the other cabinets and drawers.

Shop appliance pulls here.Appliance pull hardware

Cabinet Hardware: What Materials Look Best And Hold Up Best Over Time?

Top knobs lifetime warranty

The issue is often not the material used, but the thickness of the material and the quality of the finish applied to the material. Knobs and pulls made from solid bronze, solid brass, solid steel etc. are going to hold up better than hollow knobs and pulls. They will feel better in the user’s hand – a quality difference you can easily feel. They even sound better, strange as that may be, because they don’t have a hollow “tink” sound when hit with a ring or bracelet when being used. Hollow products are usually made of cast zinc. These products can be fine. Top Knobs has some cast zinc hollow products where the intricate design of the knob can only be created by using cast zinc. For such products we use a high-grade cast zinc alloy that is thicker, stronger, and long-lasting. Finish is just as important as the metal used. Top Knobs has a lifetime warranty against defects in materials and craftsmanship.

High quality cabinet hardware

Do Top Knobs Products Ship With Screws, And Will They Fit My Cabinets?

Top knobs lifetime warranty

All Top Knobs products ship with screws. We ship two lengths of screws. One is 1-inch long and fits most cabinets and drawers. The other is 1-¾ inches long for extra thick cabinets and drawers, with sections where the screw can be nipped to shorten the screw to size.

High quality cabinet hardware

Can I Use Different Knobs And Pulls In The Same Kitchen And Have It Look OK?

Top knobs lifetime warranty

Absolutely! This is exactly the reason why Top Knobs products are organized into collections. Within a collection you can mix and match knobs and pulls of various shapes and designs and still get a unified style in your kitchen. For example, from the Aspen Collection you can use one Aspen pull design on cabinets, another Aspen pull design on drawers, use the same length or different lengths, use the same finish or a different finish, and still have a unified look and style in your kitchen.


Lower cabinets and drawers feature Top Knobs Barrington Collection – 3 3/4″ Channing cup pulls


Top Knobs Devon Collection


Photo Credit: Better Homes & Gardens


Photo Credit: Style by Emily Henderson


Photo Credit: Houzz