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Powder Coating vs Paint - A complete Guide

Whether your considering re coating an existing part, choosing how to finish parts in a factory, or just curious about why someone would choose powder coating over paint, this guide will cover the differences between powder coating and paint as well as highlight the benefits of one over the other.  

What is Powder Coating

Powder coating is a dry powder that is applied to a product surface and adheres to a product surface due to a charge being applied to the powder and the product your powder coating being grounded. In general Powder Coating is applied in heavier coats in comparison to paint. Powder coating also has to be cured in an oven in order for it to adhere and protect the surface you plan on powder coating.  

What liquid paint is used instead of powder coating

While everyone knows what paint is, we are going to refer to common liquid paints that may be applied instead of a powder coating. In general the liquid paints that would be applied are generally long lasting coatings. Common options that people will evaluate include epoxy coatings, industrial enamels, or similar long lasting industrial coatings. 

Why Powder Coating Rather than Paint

Powder coating has certain benefits over liquid paint. For example powder coating is typically more durable then liquid paint. Powder coating is usually applied in heavy coats making it more resilient to scratches, weather, and related issues. Additionally powder coating when applied is not exhausted into the air which makes it less harmful to the atmosphere. Powder coating can also be recovered and reused if you opt for a powder recovery booth more on powder recovery booths can be found here.

Why Paint Instead of Powder Coating

With all the benefits of powder coating you may wonder why anyone would want paint instead. There are a variety of reasons why someone would consider paint over powder coating. One of the biggest reasons is that liquid paint can be a lower initial cost, especially with larger parts. With powder coating you typically need an over, a powder coating booth, and a powder coating gun. Even if your trying to do this in the lowest cost way possible, you will still end up typically spending more money than starting out liquid coating (atleast if you will be buying a powder booth, oven, and more). Additionally, liquid coating is much more affordable on large parts as large parts can sometimes require an overhead conveyor or similar solution in order to be able to effectively powder coat the product.  

Paint has its advantages. In general liquid paint can achieve a finer appearing finish in comparison to powder coatings. While there are newer powder coatings that are designed to deliver a fine appearance, liquid tends to be a bit better at a fine appearance. Additionally, certain types of appearances can be hard to achieve with powder coatings like metallic coatings compared to liquid, which is why automobile finishes are generally not powder coated. Liquid paint can also be touched up making it easier to repair if the outer coating ever gets damaged, like in an automobile wreck or even a pipe in a field, over time even a powder coat can be worn away making it necessary to recoat the product which can be hard with powder coating (see can I paint over powder coating) for more detail.

Paint vs Powder Coating Summary

Ultimately powder coating may outlast paint and be a bit friendlier environmentally. However initial equipment costs and a harder time touching up products are limitations associated with powder coating. By knowing more about each option you can decide if paint or powder coating makes more sense for your work.


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