26 Things to Know About Powder Coating: What it is, Colors, How to

There are several things to keep in mind before powder coating. This article should help you learn the basics of it. 

Home goods and industrial equipment usually need a dry coating as the final finish or layer. It was introduced in the United States in the 1960s and is among the most widely utilized finishes for different goods and sectors.

We use an electrostatic process to apply coatings as dry powder. Manufacturers then cure it with heat. As a result, your pieces will have a high-quality finish. Moreover, it adds flexibility and sturdiness to the product, effectively making it last longer. We can apply it to various surface types, such as concrete, plastic, and steel, making it suitable for outdoor and indoor environments.

One of the most cost-effective and durable finishing options is powder coating. The entire process is more effective than other finishing techniques. It is also one of the solutions that are the most environmentally friendly.

1. Some manufacturers offer more than 500 powder coat colors

These colors differ per manufacturer. Some manufacturers produce 500 color variations, while others only have less than 100. The most basic ones are:

  • white
  • orange
  • yellow
  • silver
  • red
  • blue
  • and black.

Certain manufacturers allow their customers to customize the color. Manufacturers present a color chart to the customer, which shall serve as a guide.

You will discover these colors have a lot to offer, whether you build your hot rod at home or hire a specialist shop to do it for you. The development of powder paint is to shield metal parts from corrosive and abrasive action. Today, it has expanded to include decorative uses across different industrial sectors.

It will eventually be on your to-do list if creating custom automobiles is your hobby or your line of work. Industrial-type coatings are increasingly becoming an essential tool for restoring or building custom parts in hot rod construction.

As soon as you can secure the application equipment, you can paint almost any metal object and some glass ones with any gloss, texture, or color. These are more resilient to impact, bending, stress, and chemical reaction. It makes them one of the best choices for engine tin, trim parts, springs, and chassis components.

Moreover, specialized DIY coatings are available for parts specializing in thermal rejection, oil dispersion, and scuff prevention. It is preferred over liquid paints if you need a lasting surface with a particular color treatment.

2. Powder coating works by applying a special, protective compound over an object.

We apply colors using a specialized gun to fog a fine, dry compound over an object. The gun has a magazine filled with the chosen color; it connects to a small air compressor and pressure regulator. It supplies pressure for the ejection that is precisely metered. The pigment in the gun receives a positive charge from a separate electrical power source, while the workpieces receive a negative charge via an attaching wire and clip.

As soon as you pull the trigger, the gun ionizes. Once in the air, the ionized coating color is drawn to the negatively charged metal workpiece and adheres to it, covering it completely.

The next step involves placing the object in front of infrared heat lamps or an oven with a temperature of 400 degrees Fahrenheit. It stays inside for about 10 minutes. Within 10 minutes, the object should change its appearance from a matte to a shiny texture. It will chemically bond to the surface, resulting in extreme durability. 

The surface may change into different textures, from crinkle coats and hammer tones to mattes and satins. It depends on the coating color texture. It pays to look into the countless options for coating colors because many textures may be engineered into the color to generate specific effects or to match other existing components.

3. DIY powder coat guns are available for ambitious creators.

powder coat gun

The Hotcoat PCS-250 Economical Dual Voltage Gun is one of the best sprays for a DIY project. It produces a durable, easy-to-apply finish that coats and cures in less than an hour. You can also quickly change the color you are applying, making it an economical option for most users. It operates on a standard 12 volts / 60-hertz household current.

The Hotcoat PCS-250 allows the user to choose from two settings, which affects the coverage area. The low 15,000-volt setting works well when covering a small portion, while the high 25,000-volt setting is for a larger area.

One of the best coating guns available right now is the PCS-250 Dual-Voltage Gun. Why do we prefer it? It provides one of the most affordable, color-durable, and long-lasting finishes. Compared to other finishes, powder-coated surfaces are significantly more resistant to scratches and wear. The color options are essentially limitless. High and low gloss, metallic, and transparent finishes are some of the options. Additionally, many powders’ UV resistance helps colors stay vivid and dazzling longer.

You can apply this technique to valve covers, springs, vehicle body panels, and Tri-flow radiators. The set comes with a quick-change empty bottle with the option of buying more for easier swapping. The PCS-250 has a handheld activation switch, removable diverter tip, grounding system, and air inlet.

The following is a list of its most basic features:

  • Durable finish
  • Easy to apply
  • Coat and cure a surface within an hour
  • Easy and quick color change
  • Operates under the standard household current of 120 volts / 60-hertz
  • Economical
  • Two settings improve coverage – low 15,000-volt and high 25,000-volt
  • Minimal to no overspray
  • The cables are color-coded, allowing for an easy setup
  • Ground clamps are larger
  • A clear bottle lets you see the level, fluidizing action and color.
  • Large internal passages allow better flow.

4. You can powder coat chrome.

Did you ever wonder if it is possible to chrome coat? The answer is yes, it is possible. It is the closest look to real chrome that some people make a mistake in determining. 

Its finish is reflective, meaning you can see any text in the reflection. You can use it for:

powder coating wheels
  • wheels
  • motorcycle parts
  • tools
  • under-the-hood components
  • clamps
  • and external trims.

To get the best chrome results, apply a translucent, clear topcoat.

A few brands offer this product, so we recommend checking directly with them for the exact specifications and features.

4. A powder coating oven is used for preparation.

powder coating oven

Wet paint is the most popular method of preventing motel objects from rusting. This method has some disadvantages, such as uneven application and excessive dripping.

Powder coating rising in popularity in recent years, providing a better finish and an even surface coating. Manufacturers use thermoplastic or thermoset plastic to coat.

Acrylic and epoxy are the main ingredients of the thermosetting plastic. Manufacturers turn it into powder form through a granulation process. 

The metal surface in an oven goes through a cleaning process during preparation. At this stage, we clean off dirt, debris, and all foreign particles from the oven’s surface. These particles will hinder the coating process’s success, so it is a must to remove these. A specialized chemical removes grease, oil, and lubricant from its surface.

Some manufacturers prefer a blasting method, which uses a blasting medium to remove debris from the surface. Blasting is a faster and more efficient way of polishing and removing edges than a grinding machine. 

The technique sprays the powder on the metal object’s surface. Common sense tells us that spraying on any surface will not cover the entirety. Some will end up on the floor. Remember how little plastic particles stuck to your clothes and other surfaces in school? It is due to the electrostatic characteristics of plastic material. Positive and negative electrical charges exist in nature, resembling the north and south poles of magnets in several ways.

As soon as opposite poles come in close proximity, they will attract and stick together. The gun should have electrostatic properties to build an electrical charge. As soon as it flows out the nozzle, it automatically becomes a negative charge. It allows it to stick to the surface’s positive charge. We recommend preheating the metal surface before spaying because it makes a better finish.

The final step is the curing process. By this time, the metal is powder coated and ready for the final step. The curing process allows it to stick to the metal for years. You will also notice a change in appearance, allowing for a smoother look. The coating should not touch the heating elements to avoid burning during the heating process. It goes inside a convection oven for a set time and temperature. 

5. Powder coating services are surprisingly affordable.

powder coating gun

Powder coating services treat a surface, providing aesthetic colors and corrosion resistance to aluminum. These services may be near you, so we recommend checking the nearest shop within your area. You will notice shops that offer this service may also have other painting or auto jobs.

Before availing of service, check for reviews and recommendations from friends and colleagues. There may be differences in the quality of the work, which could impact the long run. You can also find service reviews online by doing a quick Google search. 

6. The protective layer is applied with a powder coating gun.

A powder coating gun is essentially a device that emits a component into a surface for the purpose of powder coating.

It entails coating the intended area with a dry paint polymer and curing the target until it dries. The thermosetting and thermoplastic varieties of powder coat material are two types. Each of these techniques requires using a different kind of powder coating gun. The paint is secured to the substrate using a thermosetting powder coating gun. Although there is not much health danger associated with using these machines, you must perform safety procedures to guarantee user safety.

The single principle from which everything revolves is that users should only apply the dry paint to a substrate before subjecting it to high heat. The difference lies after baking the dry paint and substrate.

A thermoplastic type will regain its original chemical composition after reheating, while thermosetting is irreversible. The latter is the more popular because the materials and equipment are cheaper and easier to find. 

7. Powder coating is a process that was developed in the 1960s.

It is a finishing process that gained popularity in North America during the 1960s. Several companies offer durable, high-quality finishes. It allows environmental compliance, improved efficiencies, and maximized production. It is available in almost every color and texture, from blacks to whites and from smooth to rough. 

Aside from aesthetics, it also protects your machinery and household items. You will observe a more durable finish than regular liquid paint without sacrificing the look and feel. Household items or machinery in this process will enjoy more resistance to:

  • impact
  • ultraviolet light
  • chemicals
  • extreme weather conditions
  • and moisture

8. You’ll want a DIY powder coating oven to get started.

It will require infrared or oven heating to cure the powder. You can use a commercial or household oven for small parts, but the capacity is limited. You can either purchase a large over or make your own. Making your own may be intimidating and a lot of work at first, but it will save you a lot of money.

Here is an overview of the steps you should consider when building your own over.

  1. Framing
    1. You must first assemble the floor square part before beginning with building the frame. Overlap the studs in order for them to fit inside of one another at the corners. Put a rivet on each corner and use a locking c-clamp to secure them. Add rivets to each corner until all four sides are secure. Repeat this procedure for your ceiling and walls. Just be sure to rivet the back and side walls to the floor.
  2. Interior Skinning
    1. Once the framing is complete, you must start sheet metal skinning it. You must purchase long straight slices of galvanized steel sheet metal to prevent rusting. Sheet metal should be between 16 gauge and 26 gauge in thickness. For this project, you can first layer the inside of the floor with a 16-gauge sheet of metal, then rivet it in place. Add some stud supports to the bottom after that.
    2. After skinning the entire oven interior, use a pneumatic cut-off tool to create four cut-outs so that you may work with the heating elements. Your cuts must be square and straight.
  3. Convection System
    1. Install a fan on the oven for air can circulate from top to bottom. This fan aids in balancing the oven’s internal temperature.
    2. On the other hand, the ductwork inside the wall moves air from top to bottom. It wraps around the sidewall from the top of the oven to the fan. And you must use a heavy-duty duct sealer to stop pushed air from seeping into the oven frame.
    3. Your convection system can draw air up through the top of the oven. After that, this air is ducted back down the sidewall and into the oven’s bottom. It keeps the temperature stable.
  4. Lighting
    1. Your oven’s recessed lighting design helps prevent interference from happening. Install the porcelain light holder inside the 6-inch duct cover. You also need a center hole for each of the wire terminals. The lamp holder end cap must then be attached to the splined duct flex connector. Keep in mind the three lamp assemblies have cut-out holes for the duct covers in the ceiling before installing them.
  5. Insulation
    1. The best insulation material is mineral wool, which you must position in every stud. Use a sharp knife to cut pieces of the insulation layer. Use protective gear to prevent accidents from happening. You should install the insulated panels on all heating elements, ductwork, and the entire top side. 
  6. Heating Elements
    1. The heating elements will range anywhere between 2,000 to 3,600 watts. Every cubic foot of interior space will need 100 to 150 watts. Those living in a colder region should opt to get close to 150 watts per cubic foot of interior space. 

9. You can powder coat aluminum.

powder coated railing

Yes, you can. We recommend it for products such as:

The most popular benefits are durability, lightness, corrosion resistance, and elegance. 

powder coated alumunum

10. It typically costs $400 to powder coat rims.

The average cost for aluminum alloy wheels ranges from USD 400 to USD 500 per set. It should last a long time, so the price you will be paying is not too bad for the benefits. Make sure to read our articles on roaches getting into cars.

11. You can powder coat plastic under certain conditions.

Yes, you can if the plastic material withstands up to 400°F. If it cannot, the plastic will melt. Plastics are usually insulators, preventing the transmittal of electrostatic charges to the ground. It will not adhere to the plastic unless you preheat it before.

You have two choices based on the type or the substrate material underneath. First, you can utilize low-bake powder materials. It cures at temperatures between 250°F and 325°F depending on the plastic’s original manufacturing temperature.

The alternative is to increase the plastic material’s deflection temperature by including glass fiber. It makes it suitable for coating. Window frame fiberglass is a good illustration of this. The deflection temperature of plastic refers to how much pressure it can support at a specific temperature. Glass fiber increases deflection temperature by 30%, allowing the plastic to survive the curing process.

12. Powder coating bronze is possible.

Yes, you can do it with bronze. It should be similar to other metals, such as aluminum, brass, titanium, and copper. 

13. You cannot paint over powder coat

You cannot paint directly. It produces smooth, flat finishes. Applying liquid paint might be difficult since it won’t effectively adhere to objects that have been powder-coated. Performance is another problem. Powder coating offers long-lasting resistance to weather, wear and tear, scratches, and abrasions. Therefore, you must approach this with meticulous preparation if you want to paint over. 

14. Powder coating temperatures range from 350°F to 400°F.

Most require a baking temperature ranging from 350°F to 400°F for 10-20 minutes. 

15. Powder coating is a 3-step process.

Below is an outline of the process. For more details, there is a section above that discusses it.

The following are the three basics steps:

  1. Preparation or pre-treatment steps
  2. Powder application
  3. Curing process

16. You can powder coat silver.

You can coat silver similar to other metals we tackled in the above sections. You can apply different colors, such as:

  • orange
  • black
  • white
  • yellow
  • red
  • silver
  • and several more. 

17. You can powder coat stainless steel.

Stainless steel is resistant to corrosion and has a natural luster. You can finish it with a powder coat or paint. Coating stainless steel for color is the most common motivation. 

18. There are at-home powder coating kits.

You will need your own home kit if you want to do it at home. Customers can choose from a wide selection because several manufacturers are selling these home kits. The steps in using it are generally the same as other types. 

19. Powder Coat vs. Paint: The former wins.

The former is a better choice because it offers more benefits. It provides an even protective layer and is not prone to substandard finish. The painting will need sanding for a smooth surface. However, the application is fast and easy via heating and electrostatic process.

Generally, painting is less expensive by a few dollars. Given the benefits, we recommend opting for a powder coat instead of paint. 

20. Bike frames are usually powder coated.

You can apply a coating to your bike frame, whether it is used or brand new. Here is a high-level overview of the steps you must observe.

  1. Remove any existing or pre-applied paint from the bicycle frame.
  2. If your bicycle has logos, you must remove these from the bike frame. 
  3. The logos need to follow the frame’s shape. You can use a hydraulic press to get the desired force.
  4. After finalizing the formation, you need to bond the logos with the bicycle frame. The challenge is finding out which adhesive to use, assuming the frame cures above 400°F. A JB weld would be an excellent choice because it withstands temperatures up to 500°F.
  5. Come back in once the adhesive has dried, and use sandpaper to smooth off the edges of the logo. Use caution when using grit; it is simple to leave significant scratches on aluminum.

21. Powder coating will last up to 20 years.

In theory, a single application can last up to 20 years. A few considerations, such as the outdoor environment and UV sunlight exposure, could shorten its life span. 

22. The typical powder coating thickness is 1mm.

In the United States, the standard thickness measurement is 1 mm or 1/1000 inch. However, the thickness depends on the manufacturer. You may check the product label or contact the manufacturer to get more information. Other common thickness measurements range from 2 mm to 5 mm or 0.002 to 0.005 inches.

On the other hand, you can purchase a mechanical coating thickness gauge to get the thickness value. It is available in either electronic or mechanical. 

23. Powder coating can be textured

Adding texture further customizes your coating. Choosing one ensures it meets your aesthetic expectations.

Wrinkled Texture

The wrinkled texture has minimal to no gloss. It feels similar to sand and can easily stand wear and tear. Most applications are in the industrial setting, where surfaces need a degree of resistance from scratches. 

It feels gritty and has tight cracks all throughout the surface. Manufacturers use urethanes for exceptional resistance to corrosion and weathering.

Hammer-Tone Texture

The hammer-tone feels similar to an orange skin or a golf ball surface. Its most ideal application is on products requiring a thick exterior coating to resist chips, scratches, and impacts.

We recommend it for lighting fixtures, architectural applications, and outdoor furniture. 

River Vein Texture

The river vein texture looks similar to small water-like channels across the material’s surface. Manufacturers can choose between a one-tone color scheme or two-tone color arrangement when adding this texture to their items for a distinctive look. River vein texture is common among indoor applications, including furniture and electrical housings.

24. You can powder coat over powder coat.

Yes, you can double coat. There is nothing wrong with applying it twice. However, you must know applying a double coat is not always the answer to all problems. 

25. Brass has been powder coated for many years.

Yes, you can coat brass without any issues. In fact, it has been done successfully for many years. We would typically apply a clear polyester to outdoor brass light fixtures to improve resistance to weather. There are scenarios that would also require brass plumbing fixtures for better durability and more color options. Before application, you must ensure the brass surface is clean and free from debris and dust. 

26. Polishing powder coat keeps it looking fresh for years.

Polishing it ensures it stays in top shape for many years. Here are five steps to follow for polishing.

  1. Use a mild detergent
  2. Prepare a clean rag or soft cloth
  3. Gently clean the surface
  4. Rinse and let the surface dry
  5. Finish with a polishing compound

Doing it at home should save you money and time. Here is a guideline on how to do it.

How To Powder Coat At Home

  1. Determine the material type you will coat and select a suitable powder.

  2. Remove all lubricated or threaded interfaces before you begin the coating process.

    We do not want to include these in the finish.

  3. Thoroughly clean the metal base.

    Using abrasive blasting should help remove dirt and rust. 

  4. Apply the powder to the object you would like to coat using a compressed air sprayer or a gun for the purpose.

  5. Cure the object at the appropriate temperature setting before using it.