A4 Fasteners for Fascia's and Soffits

Do you want your New Fascia and Soffits to last?

If you are planning to have new Fascia and Soffits fitted to help make your dream house look how you have always pictured it then seriously think about the fasteners that are being used to attach these, are they A4 Fasteners for Fascia’s and Soffit?.

The costs to fit this is typically around £3000 plus. So how unhappy will you be in 2 to 5 years time when all that money was wasted because the wrong fasteners were used to attach these board to your property? Due to metal corrosion if your fascia is fitted with the incorrect fasteners there is a chance that these fitting will rust and stain your nice new fascia boards.

To fit your fascia, soffit, barge board and trim fixings the person fitting this will probably use a selection of colour headed nails and pins to attach it. It is possible they may also standard screws or nails instead. Either way it is important that the fasteners used are made from A4 (SUS316) marine grade stainless steel to avoid any risk of brown rust stains from corrosion. If other stainless steel or zinc plated steel fasteners are used then the risk of this staining issue are higher. A2 stainless steel is better than zinc plated steel fasteners but it still is subject to corrosion from contact from either salt water or Chlorine.

The sea atmosphere, caused from the salt in the sea water, will be a particularly big issue to any property near the coast or if exposed to a swimming pool or cleaning detergent, or anything else that contains/uses chlorine. These all attack the surface of the fasteners, causing them to corrode and when that happens it is quickly followed by the rust and the brown staining that your fascia and soffits can suffer from.

This is not a new issue and it is pretty well know problem within the industry. So why are we warning you of it. Unfortunately, although there are a lot of very good and reputable contractors and stockists of A4 marine grade stainless steel fasteners.

There are those out there that, despite knowing of the issues, will choose the cheaper steel fasteners and will not worry about the long term issues that this will cause you.

You can see from this image the corrosive damage to board if the wrong fasteners are used.

You need to take control, check what fasteners they are using and if they are not made of A4 marine grade stainless steel then insist that they change them. This small check will save all the problem that you are likely to face if they use the cheaper A2 stainless steel or zinc plated steel fasteners. Any reputable contractor that knows what they are doing will be more than happy to make sure that A4 marine grade stainless steel fasteners are used when installing your new fascia, soffit, barge board and trim fixings. As they will take pride in the the quality of their work and will value doing the job properly and long lasting.

I don’t live near the coast so salt water corrosion can’t effect me

Depending on the weather this salt water sea atmosphere can travel in the air over 50 miles inland, in some extreme cases 100 miles. Leicester, which is arguable the most landlocked city in the UK, is just under 70 miles from the sea so it could be argued that these Leicestershire properties are still just about subject to this damaging sea atmosphere weather (subject to the strength of wind and it’s direction on certain days). So in theory there is no place in the UK so won’t experience some sort of salt water sea atmosphere weather from time to time.

So based on this every UK property could be effected by salt water corrosion. Obviously the closer you are to the coast the higher the risk and greater the damage that this corrosion is but why risk it at all?

The simple fixings magnetic test
How does a none expert in this area check if the fitting used are A4 marine grade stainless steel, A2 stainless steel or zinc plated steel fixings?
The magnetic test will easily help you spot if your contractor is using the correct fittings. A4 marine grade stainless steel is not magnetic where as A2 stainless steel and zinc plated steel fixings are magnetic! This is due to how they are made with a heavy percent or the metal containing carbon steel, the element that will corrode, and this is magnetic.

So the more magnetic a fastener is the higher the likelihood of it corroding
A4 is not magnetic which is why it doesn’t corrode.

Why are we the experts in this area?

We pioneered the POLYTOPS® Polymer colour moulded pins and nails back in the 1970’s
We manufacturer the POLYTOPS® range in our factory in Leicester, UK, and we have years of invaluable experience in this area that have given us great knowledge on the subject.

We have been manufacturing POLYTOPS® polymer colour headed pins and nails for over 40 years when we first started to catered to the mobile home / caravan industry for their internal panelling. Over the years there have been innovations and developments in the building industry that affected developments in the material used in these pins and nails. It is essential that those using them today understand the reasons behind what is being offered.

POLYTOPS® were first used for fixing internal trims in static mobile homes and caravans. The pins and nails were then made of zinc plated mild steel with moulded plastic head in various colours. It was well suited for this internal application.

When the uPVC fascia market began in the early 1980’s, common nails were used to hatched the fascia boards to roof rafters, and silicone was applied to mask the nail heads. This was time consuming and messy task leaving a poor finish (pins which are smaller than nails were used to attache the thinner soffit boards using the same method). A better solution was needed and the POLYTOPS® plastic colour topped nails and pins proved the ideal answer. Quick and easy to fit and with a non-maintenance, colour matching plastic mould on the metal nail and pin head provided a superior finish all round.

However, within 1 to 2 years of the fitting it was apparent that the zinc plated mild steel nails and pins did not have the level of corrosion resistance required. The result was rust stains and marks appearing peoples uPVC fascia and soffit boards. This was most prevalent in coastal and industrial city areas where the environment was moist harsh. In consultation with the major fascia and soffit board manufacturers we made the decision to upgrade our nails and pins material from zinc plated mild steel to A2 (SUS304) stainless steel. This is an austenitic stainless steel with improved corrosion resistance due mainly to the addition of Chrome (17.5% – 19.5%) and Nickel (8% – 10%).

Unfortunately, again within a couple of years, problems began appearing with this A2 stainless steel material, with the same rust-like brown stains on the fascia and soffit boards. This was particularly notable in coastal regions. So after another review we swiftly remedied this issue by upgrading the steel again. This time to A4 (SUS316) stainless steel.

The grade of steel has an increased nickel content (10% – 13%) and the addition of molybdenum (2%) further increased the corrosion resistance. This material is commonly referred to as “Marine Grade Stainless Steel”. We introduced the A4 marine grade stainless steel to our POLYTOPS® plastic colour topped nails and pins, around 1991. From this date we have had no staining or rust issues and therefore only recommended A4 stainless steel in and nails and pins that are used for outside use, in particular with the fitting of fascias and soffits.

As the market leaders and pioneers of the plastic headed coloured nails and pins we had to learnt the hard way, but learn we did and we used this experience to improve our knowledge and to make sure that the products we provide are the best for the application required. So it surprises us that others haven’t also learnt and are still willing to supply lower grade steel in their nails and pins, and builders/roofers are willing to fit these, even though they know the long term staining issues these can cause on fascias and soffits when these fixings corrode due to the weather. We understand that A4 stainless steel is more expensive but not by much, only a few pounds which is nothing compared to the cost of the new fascia and soffit boards, the fitting costs and more importantly the maintenance/repair cost of fixing once the nail and pin fittings start to corrode and stain.

We have run a series of test which corroborates what we have said above. So given that the cost of fixings on a UPVC fascia and soffit installation is a very small part of the overall cost, why take the risk of the remedial work to remove stains and other problems which will prove much more costly than the few extra pounds to use A4 marine grade stainless steel quality fixings. Remedial work could very well lead to entire replacement of boards, (the nails are not easy to remove once fitted) the use of scaffolding and towers, plus the labour time and cost. Remember the old adage “Buy cheap buy twice”.

We understand that it is tough economic times which inevitably leads to lower grade, lower cost materials being offered in the market and the temptation to save costs in this way can be compelling. However we decided very early on that we would not compromise on the quality of the fixings we offer, So we only recommend and supply A4 stainless steel fixings for the external fascia, soffit, barge board and trim fixings.

Also consider that the fascia board manufactures will tend to offer a 10 year or more warranty on their products don’t allow this warranty to be invalid due to someone using the none recommended fittings on their boards.

Salt spray test

Over the years we have tests the steels to make sure we are using the correct material for the application. In 2014 we conducted a salt spray test. It was carried out by an independent UKAS accredited laboratory, to British (and then European) Standards. The test was designed to simulate the products in actual use.

The results and images speak for themselves

The test was to simulate the product in actual use. The nails tested were finished products taken out of an unopened random box of nails and hammered into wood, as it wood be if fitted to a fascia board. These were not virgin nails, that is, before the plastic head was moulded. This is important as the process of moulding involves gripping the metal stem causing some wear and tear or for coated nails, the process inevitably damages any coating applied to the nail. Therefore use of virgin nails would give a misleading result.

As can be seen, the A4 nail shows no deterioration, unlike all the other types of nails. This is why we only supply our POLYTOPS® plastic colour topped nails and pins in the A4 marine grade stainless steel. It also why we say to all professionals manufacturers of UPVC fascia profiles, distributors and installers to only use A4 marine grade stainless steel nails and pins to avoid unnecessary damage and repairs to to fitted fascia, soffits barge boards and trim fittings.

I am sure you appreciate the value of the quality and minimising your risk of having your expensive fascia fitting from the avoidable staining that can happened if the wrong fixing has been used.

For the sake of a few pounds don’t risk using anything other than POLYTOPS® A4 (SUS316) marine grade stainless steel Nails and Pins for you nice new fascia and soffits

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