How Is Powder Coating Different Than Paint?

December 27, 2017 9:45 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Powder coating is the best way to get a universally smooth color coating on metals, especially steel. It’s a relatively new process, originating in the late 1940s. Since then, it’s become the standard for color coating metal—everything from dish-washer racks, to guard rails, to machine parts—as it has an unbeatably smooth, all-over coverage, and withstands stress and pressure far more reliably than paint. In this post, we’ll use our expertise gained as a provider of metal fabrication in Umatilla County, OR to explain and explore, in detail, the difference between powder coating and paint in practical application.

In basic terms, how are powder coating and paint different?

The simplest way to explain the distinction is that paint is a liquid, which becomes a solid covering as it cures, whereas powder coating is quite different. It’s a powder that is made of innumerable pieces of colored resin. Paint is applied wet with a brush or roller, or through a compressed air setup, and then it is left to cure. Powder coating is sprayed in its powdered form and caused to electrostatically cling to the metal body to be painted. The electrostatic pull ensures that the whole workpiece is coated evenly. Then, the workpiece is cured in a high-temperature oven, and when it comes out, the powder coating will have cured.

How does the electrostatic spray process work?

The official term is electrostatic spray deposition (ESD). It works like this: the metal is given a negative charge, while the paint is charged positively. The powder is sprayed, creating a cloud of powder that is then statically pulled to the oppositely-charged metal. The end result is billions of tiny little pieces of color stuck to the skin of your workpiece.

Why is powder coating preferable to paint for metal workpieces?

One big difference between powder coating and paint is that powder coating is well known to add strength to the piece it covers, whereas with paint, it often speeds along corrosion. This occurs because small cracks in the paint, too small for the eye to see at first, allow water to be sucked beneath the paint surface where it can get stuck, which over time leads to rust. This makes powder coating highly desirable in areas near the ocean and other high-salt environments. This is just one of the many reasons it is a favorite among metal fabrication companies.

Powder coating also looks better longer than paint. It doesn’t bleach in the sun, it provides better water protection than paint and is far less likely to scratch or crack than paint. Also, powder coating is specially designed to provide an additional rust barrier for your metal workpiece—especially if you galvanize it with zinc beforehand.

Learn more about metal fabrication in Umatilla County, OR

NW Metal Fabricators Inc. has been a leader in metal fabrication for over 31 years. We have built a reputation for putting our customers first, and they’ve come to rely on our handcrafted products to meet their needs. If you are in need of metal fabrication in Umatilla County, OR, please give us a call today and we’ll schedule your free appointment and estimate.

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