Powder Coating vs. Painting: What to Know About These Metal Finishing Options

July 2, 2021 3:21 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

One of the final steps of the metal fabrication process is to finish the metal with a coating. You have many different options here, two of the most common of which are powder coating and standard painting.

Which of these is the better choice for your particular application? Let’s take a closer look at these processes and their various advantages and disadvantages.

Powder coating

Powder coating involves electrostatic application of dry powders on to a surface that get settled with heat application.

There are a number of benefits of powder coating, the biggest of which is its durability. Powder coating metal objects results in a dense, strong finish that is far more durable than what you’d get out of a conventional paint. It also only requires a single coat, and that makes it a fast, easy and efficient option for most applications.

Powder coating also creates a very even finish, which makes it very aesthetically pleasing. As the powder melts, it settles across the entire surface of the substrate at once, which means you don’t have to worry about any drips or textural inconsistency.

The downside of powder coating compared to other types of metal finishing is that it cannot produce a thin finish, which means it can’t be used for all metal objects where a thinner finish might be required or desirable. It can also be complex and expensive, so on a smaller scale it’s probably not worth the extra expense. You need to have all of the proper equipment to get the job done, including spray materials, an oven and electrostatic equipment.


Wet paint has been used as a standard finishing coat for all kinds of applications for many years, and continues to be popular today.

Wet paint delivers the kind of thin finish powder coating cannot, which means it could be considered a bit more precise, especially for smaller or more intricate parts that need to be coated. The process does not require the same high temperatures that powder coating does, or nearly as much complicated and expensive equipment. Perhaps the biggest benefit is economic—wet paint costs far less than powder coating, both in terms of materials and as a finishing process. This makes it ideal for both large- and small-scale metal finishing.

The primary disadvantage of wet paint is that it does not have anywhere near the same level of durability as a powder coated finish does. It will need to be repainted from time to time, as it is much more easily damaged or worn.

In addition, liquid paint can be occasionally difficult to spread evenly across a surface. It could result in some running or trickling, and the thickness may be inconsistent across a finished area. Compare this to powder coating, which is able to achieve uniformity much easier than liquid coating.

Your choice between powder coating and liquid coating depends on the specifics of your project. For more information and recommendations, specifically about powder coating cost vs. paint cost, contact NW Metal Fabricators Inc. today.

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