Powder vs. Paint
Paint vs. Powder Coat
First, what is powder coating?
Powder coating is applied as a free-flowing powder in a completely dry form. The coating is applied electrostatically and then cured with heat which causes it to form a hard surface.
The Pros and Cons
Answers to the Question – What is Powder Coating?
Find out what it is and whether it’s right for you
Powder coating is one of the most common and most popular types of paint application process. But does that mean it’s the right choice for your job. Learn everything you need to know to make the best decision.
What is Powder Coating?
Powder coating is applied as a free-flowing powder in a completely dry form. Think of it as paint with the solvent part removed. The coating is applied electrostatically and then cured under heat which causes it to form a kind of “skin.” Usually powder is used to coat metals, but there are a number of potential applications.
Pros of Powder Coating
Durability – When cured, powder coating forms a protective finish that is much harder than conventional paint. However, that does not necessarily mean powder coating is the most durable solution on the market. Depending on the application, alternatives may prove to offer a longer-lasting finish.
Environmental Impact – The powder that does not adhere to the surface being coated is collected and reused, meaning that there is little waste. And since the coating process happens in a sealed environment, there is little to no risk of air pollution. This is an advantage to be sure, but changes in industry standard mean that most contemporary coating process operate in a sustainable way.
Cost Effectiveness – As noted above, this process produces very little waste. There can be significant attendant costs related to the heating/curing process though.
Cons of Powder Coating
Color Change – Since unused powder particles are collected and reused, there is the risk of cross contamination. That makes precise color matching a frequent challenge.
Thickness – Powder coating is good at achieving a thick finish but basically incapable of achieving a thin finish. Projects requiring a coating build of less than 6 mils should rely on a different coating process. Along those lines, powder coating is not good at achieving a smooth finish
It’s first benefit is that it can be used to coat objects that can’t be heated, such as your plastic interior trim pieces, as the process does not require high temperatures to succeed.The third advantage it has over powder coating is its ability to produce a thin finish, making it ideal for objects that have tight fitment spaces. The final benefit is economic; wet paint is more affordable as a finishing process than powder coating, making it suitable for both large and small finishing applications.
The disadvantage of paint is the lack of durability as compared to powder coating, with both requiring regular maintenance and re-finishing from time to time. The second disadvantage of paint is its inability to achieve an even finish the first time around, with the object requiring several coats to attain an unblemished and even finish. Unlike powder coating which uses powder as the initial coat, this process uses liquid paint which can be tricky to spread across the body of the object keeping the thickness consistent.