Battling Marine Corrosion

Battling Marine Corrosion: A Guide to Protecting Your Door Hardware from Salt Air


Living by the sea comes with its perks: the soothing sound of waves, picturesque views, and salty sea breeze. However, for approximately 3 million people in the UK who reside on the coast, there's also a daily battle against marine corrosion, particularly when it comes to door hardware. Marine corrosion, accelerated deterioration caused by exposure to the salt-heavy atmosphere of coastal environments, can wreak havoc on exterior fittings like door handles, knobs, and push plates. But fear not, there are ways to protect your door hardware from the relentless assault of salt air.

Understanding Marine Corrosion: The Invisible Foe


Before delving into solutions, let's understand the enemy. Marine corrosion, sometimes referred to as sea corrosion or salt spray corrosion, occurs when metals react with the salt-laden air prevalent in coastal regions.


The destructive effects of salt spray extend beyond the immediate shoreline, affecting areas several miles inland due to wind dispersal.


Research reveals the alarming extent of this phenomenon. Corrosion of exposed steel in coastal areas can be 400-500 times greater than in desert environments.


Even items placed just 24 meters from the coastline corrode 12 times faster than those situated 243 meters away. The economic toll is substantial, with global marine corrosion costs estimated at $50-80 billion annually.

Choosing the Right Defense: Tips for Corrosion-Resistant Door Hardware


Avoid Lacquered Brass: While lacquered brass may initially seem like a protective shield, it's no match for the corrosive forces of salt air. Lacquer breaks down rapidly in coastal environments, resulting in unsightly black pitting marks. Opt for unlacquered brass for an antique patina that withstands the test of time.

Opt for Solid Brass: When selecting finishes like Polished Chrome or Satin Nickel, ensure they're plated onto a solid brass base. Solid brass provides stability, reducing the risk of premature corrosion compared to alternative base metals like Zamak.

Choose Stainless Steel Wisely: Not all stainless steel is created equal. Grades 201 and 304 are unsuitable for coastal use, prone to rusting even in mild conditions. Grade 316 offers better resistance but may still experience surface rust in coastal environments.


Take a look at our Stainless Steel Front Door Furniture here.

Handle Black Ironmongery with Care: Powder-coated black ironmongery can withstand coastal conditions, but proper installation is crucial. Avoid chipping the paint finish, as exposed metal beneath is susceptible to rust. Touch up any chips promptly to prevent corrosion.

Embrace Solid Materials: Solid brass, bronze, and pewter door hardware offer superior durability in coastal settings. These materials resist corrosion without relying on plated finishes, ensuring long-term resilience.

Making Informed Choices: Assessing Finish Suitability

Consider the following finishes when selecting door hardware for coastal use:

Solid Brass: Yes (unlacquered), No (lacquered)

Polished Chrome, Satin Chrome, Satin Nickel: Yes (on solid brass), No (on Zamak)

Antique Brass: Yes (oxidized), No (plated)

Black Ironmongery: Yes (with care)

Porcelain and Ceramic: Yes

Aluminum: No

Wood and Timber: Yes (with care)

Stainless Steel (Grade 316): Yes, with caution

Solid Pewter: Yes

Plain Cast Iron: No

Glass: Yes, with attention to the base metal



Living by the sea may pose challenges, but with informed choices and proactive maintenance, you can preserve the beauty and functionality of your door hardware amidst the salty air. So, embrace coastal living and let your door hardware withstand the elements with grace and resilience.