What Is Powder Coating?

Matte Grey Cadillac

Powder coating is the process by which a thermoplastic or thermoset powder is (in most cases) electrostatically applied to a metal surface on items such as rims, bicycles, motorcycles, and cars. Unlike more conventional painting methods, powder coating uses a dry powder—eliminating the need for solvents that are used to keep liquid coatings in liquid form when sprayed. There are many advantages to powder coating, and a few disadvantages as well. Read on for more about powder coating.

Benefits of Powder Coating

Compared to traditional paint finishes, powder coating is often referred to as “lusterless” in the detail world. At the same time, the finish does have a number of explicit benefits that make it worth considering:

  • Thicker layers without sagging or runs
  • Zero VOC emissions (or close to it)
  • Less inconsistencies in the finish
  • Tougher than traditional coatings

While that all sounds great, there are two major deterrents to powder coating: cost and metal. It can be very expensive to coat wheels, a bike, exhaust pipes, or even an entire car with a powder coating. At the same time, powder coating can only be applied to metal surfaces (and some new fiberboard technology)—a lot of cars today have plastic bumpers and trim. The implication, then, is that it would be much harder to match the smoothness and color of the coating on the metal with a different coating on the non-metal surfaces. I wouldn’t let that stop you from exploring the option of powder coating.

Caring for Powder Coated finishes

Care for powder coated finishes is essentially the exact same as a normal finish—you want to protect the surface and keep it clean. In many cases powder coated surfaces are stronger and more resistent to scratches, staining, and blemishes than traditional paint finishes, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t maintain and protect the surface on a regular basis.

Does your car sport a powder coated surface? Have you noticed any advantages or disadvantages that you’d like to share? Share your experience with us in the comments!