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Choosing Between Powder Coating and Wet Painting


Because all metal surfaces can rust and degrade over time, they need to be protected. Protecting them with color coatings not only helps prevent rust and corrosion, but also makes them more aesthetically pleasing.

Powder coating and wet painting remain the two most popular coating options. Both provide protection and lasting color. When selecting the ideal coating for a metal product, manufacturers must consider how the metal product will be used as well as the cost and durability of each coating option.

Powder Coating

Powder coating is a process whereby finely ground particles of colored polyesters, acrylics, or polyurethane are given a positive electronic charge and dry-sprayed onto metal products which have been given a negative charge. The statically charged colored particles cling to the negatively charged metal.

Once the metal product has been uniformly coated to the desired thickness, it is quickly heated to melt and cure the powder to the metal. This heating and curing process generally takes only 10 minutes, depending upon the size of the object being coated. In fact, the powder coating is cured long before the object itself cools enough to be touched.

Advantages of Powder Coating

Powder coating has many benefits over paint, not the least of which is color retention. Colors stay truer longer with powder coating. Also, powder coating is thicker, more uniform in thickness, and more durable than paint coatings.

When metal products need to have a textured surface, like steps or ramps, powder coating allows for a wider variety of texture materials to be incorporated much more easily than other coating options.

Because powder particles are attracted to the metal product being coated, very little powder is lost to over spraying, making this process more efficient than wet paint. Additionally, any powder that does fall to the ground can be recovered and reused, thereby reducing waste. This increased efficiency and the fact that powder particles do not contain volatile organic compounds like paints do also makes it a more environmentally friendly option.

Wet Paint Coating

Wet paint is the easiest and least expensive coating to apply. In this process, color particles suspended in a liquid solvent get pressure sprayed onto dry metal products. As with powder coating, wet painting can completely cover the entire surface. Painted metal does not need to be heated to cure; the solvent evaporates as the metal air dries. The drying process takes much longer than powder coating, but does not require heating equipment.

Advantages of Wet Painting

Due to the fluid nature of wet paint, it can be mixed to make a wider variety of colors than can powder coating. What’s more, wet paint can more easily be color matched, than powder coatings can. This means that when touch ups are necessary, wet paint may be a more versatile choice.

Not all metal products can be heated. For these, wet painting may be the best coating option. However, because wet paint is not as durable as powder coating, multiple layers of paint may need to be applied, taking much more time and labor.

Another reason to select wet paint over powder coating has to do with desired coating thickness. When the metal piece to be coated needs to fit closely to another metal piece, the coating on each must be thin. In these instances, wet painting is the better option because, unlike powder coating, paint can be applied in thin layers.

Choosing Precision Coating Technology & Manufacturing for Metal Coating Projects

No matter the industry, from agriculture to medical, architectural to transportation, Precision Coating Technology & Manufacturing offers unparalleled services for all metal coating needs, including a wide variety of powder coating options, including fluid bed dipping applications. No metal project is too big or too small. Contact us today for more details or to obtain a friendly quote on your next coating project.

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