From ‘nice to have’ to ‘must have’

By Richard Gyde, managing director of Mila.

It seems like only a couple of years ago when stainless steel door hardware was largely being chosen only for use in coastal or high pollution environments. It was essentially a ‘need to have’ rather than a ‘nice to have’.

Now though, in key sectors of the market, I would argue that it is rapidly becoming a ‘must have’. Certainly, fabricators and installers buying from Mila are increasingly choosing stainless steel as the standard option on their premium composite doors and offering it as an optional upgrade on their other ranges.

It is undoubtedly now perceived by homeowners very much as the quality choice and, as a result, we’re even seeing some customers who are switching 100% to stainless steel on all their doors as they aim to position themselves firmly at that end of the market.

Obviously, there is an inevitable premium on stainless steel over the standard zinc alloy alternative, but customers are proving that it needn’t have a negative impact on margins if the durability and performance benefits of stainless steel are communicated successfully to the buyer – whether they are in a coastal location or not.

Mila has responded to this growing demand for stainless steel by expanding our popular Supa range in recent months. We’ve just added a SupaSecure Secured by Design high security door handle to the line-up, providing a 2-Star security option, which can be used with a 1-Star cylinder to meet the demands of TS007.

This has all the benefits of our popular ProSecure handle, such as chamfered backplate shoulders to provide anti-grip protection for mole grip resistance, and an integrated cylinder guard visibly raised within the backplate to protect against snapping. The cylinder face itself is fully shielded by a slotted, rotating disc.

Mila’s Supa stainless steel range already includes a standard door handle, letter plates, door knockers and escutcheons, enabling our customers to offer a fully suited door. The whole range is also available in three colour options: polished stainless steel, polished gold stainless, and brushed satin stainless steel.

We offer two grades of stainless steel: SS304 (extreme) with 18% chromium and 8% nickel for general applications; and SS316 (marine grade) with 16% chromium, 10% nickel and an added 2% molybdenum for those coastal regions and areas of high pollution.

It is the addition of the molybdenum that gives the SS316 additional corrosion resistance, particularly when the surface becomes scratched and vulnerable to corrosion in chloride environments.

As a result, we recommend SS316 for any applications within 10 miles of the coast or where pollution levels are high, and we even provide a postcode checking service for installers so that they can double check the recommended grade for any property.

What I think appeals most to both homeowners and installers is the fact both the performance and the finish on Mila’s stainless steel products is guaranteed for 25 years, as long as the installer has chosen the right grade for that postcode.

Of course, the reason why we can offer the trademark Mila no quibble guarantee is that our range is so comprehensively tested and quality assured at every stage of manufacture. We require our suppliers in the Far East to provide a certificate of conformity to guarantee that the material grade is exactly as specified, and we have the materials independently tested in UK laboratories to verify the results.

Our Supa handle range, for example, has been independently performance tested to hardware standard BS EN 1906 Grade 4 at Exova, and the 316 grade has passed more than 1,000 hours in a salt spray test.

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