Guide To Mirror and Super Mirror Finishes

When it comes to stainless steel, a mirror finish is an extremely reflective, scratch-free finish that gives exceptional clarity.

The reasons to choose stainless steel mirror finish are varied. Some of the more commercially-valued include:

As experts in stainless steel mirror products, we supply stainless steel sheet and tubing that is water and salt-resistant, making it the perfect solution for many environments including kitchens and bathrooms, outdoor art installations, and any marine projects.

There are many applications our customers request mirror finishing for, including:

The value of this highly versatile material is easy to see, and its applications broad and wide, but how do you achieve such an exceptional shine?

Creating The Perfect Mirror Finish

A mirror or super finish is reached in two different ways, one of which is a mechanical method of production, the other chemical, both are listed below.

Mirror finishing by mechanical methods

Mechanical methods of producing a mirrored finish follow a three-step process:

Chemical Polishing for Stainless Steel

The chemical polishing method is a multi-step process, following strict measures to achieve a fantastic shine while protecting the integrity of the surface of the metal. It involves:

Achieving a Super-Mirror Finish

As the name suggests, the super mirror finish has an ultra-reflective surface and is commonly used in environments where this quality is most valued such as art installations and pristine aesthetic displays, balustrades or buildings.

Stainless steel mirrored sculpture, Laguna Beach
Stainless steel mirrored sculpture, Laguna Beach

Super mirror finishing is reached by using a circular oscillation technique to buff. The best abrasive materials and specialist tools are employed to achieve the highest quality results.

The procedure below is one of the best tried and tested methods of producing such a finish:

Other Stainless Steel Finishes

There are many types of stainless steel finish that do not provide the same surface lustre, so to ensure that you choose the right product for your project, here is a brief list of the more common stainless steel finish variations when compared to mirror finishing.

Bright (Cold-Rolled)

The most commonly used mill finish for light gauge stainless steel sheet. Resembling a blurred mirror with only minor reflective properties, it is either used as it is or as a pre-step before polishing.

Bright Annealed

Closer to the reflective qualities of a mirror finish, although not as clear and usually with more blemishes.

The bright annealed finish is created by heat-treating (annealing) in a furnace with a controlled atmosphere, and the resulting product is bright and somewhat reflective. Commonly used as a lower-cost alternative where a precise mirror finish isn't essential.

Brushed (120 Grit)

An intermediate polished presentation using a 120 grit abrasive. Used for applications with frequent usage or again can be a preliminary step for further polishing.

Brushed (150 Grit)

A bright finish with visible directional grain preventing a mirror reflection. Often found in kitchens and bathrooms.

Pre-Buff Finish

A reflective finish produced by buffing a surface that has already been finely ground. The main characteristic of pre-buffing is that the grit lines have not been removed from the product so it is often used for more industrial applications where the high shine reflectivity of full mirror finishes are not needed.

Righton Blackburns Mirror And Super Mirror Finish Options

We pride ourselves on a reputation for providing the very best in materials, and our mirror-finished products are no exception.

Stainless Steel Marine Applications

We offer the U.K.’s largest range of super mirror marine polished stainless steel tube and sheet, fully tested for optimal strength, durability and corrosion resistance and worked to a super mirror finish of extreme clarity.

Stainless steel 316 or 316L mirror-finished products have actually been shown to outperform other metal finishes in terms of durability and longevity, with mirror polished being the best finish choice for long life and maintenance of good appearance.

From stunning staircases on super-yachts to grab rails on speedboats, our shaped stainless steel tubes offer the marine industry aesthetic, structural and ergonomic advantages over standard round tubing.

Mirror-finished products (especially those in marine environments that are subjected to a variety of elements) require disciplined cleaning to keep looking pristine and performing. For a full guide on the best marine cleaning and maintenance, read our guide on Stainless Steel in Coastal Environments.

Mirrored-finish stainless steel yacht railings
Mirrored-finish stainless steel yacht railings

Stainless Steel Architectural Tubing

Righton Blackburns’ beautiful shaped architectural railings and balustrades provide an effective way for you to enhance your new builds and restoration projects.

Our mirror and super mirror finishes provide stunning results that will help to set your project apart from others.

We are also experts at creating products of perfect form and shape which are adaptable to a multitude of applications, one such bespoke range is our Pro-Railing handrail system that utilises distinctly shaped tubes to create a beautifully crafted handrail and balustrade range that is exceptionally easy to put together.


Mirror finishes are increasingly in demand in today’s commercial and marine industries - the evolution of performance is taken as standard and it is the aesthetic benefits that stand out, after all when everything is equal, it is the look that will break the tie!

At Righton Blackburns, we pride ourselves on supplying high-quality materials backed with decades of dedicated expertise and knowledge.

Contact your local service centre to discuss your project requirements and to answer any other queries you may have.

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Stainless steel mirror finish