Paint vs. Powder Coating: Which One Withstands Constant Sunlight Exposure?





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Surface finishing is more than just colorful and decorative exteriors. It refers to functional barriers that keep reactive metals like iron and steel from rusting when exposed to oxygen. 

Powder coating or paint provides added protection to metals when used as a finish. While they all serve the same purpose, each finishing has advantages and disadvantages, especially when exposed to constant sunlight.

Minnesota Industrial Coatings is a market leader in powder coating. Our high-volume powder coating line allows top-quality coats to be applied quickly and affordably. Contact us for a quote, and keep reading to learn the difference between paint vs. powder coating.

Application: Powder Coating vs. Wet Paint

Powder coating is a color-finishing technique in which powder is sprayed onto a surface and heated to form a color coat. The powder comprises many ingredients, including acrylic, polyester, epoxy, and polyurethane. It produces a more consistent finish than spray painting and, therefore, is preferred in place of traditional painting when superior performance is required. Though painting is often considered a less expensive option, the cost-effectiveness of each method depends on the project’s requirements, and the costs can vary depending on the specific application and materials involved.

It’s also safer, less toxic, and easier to maintain, providing a rock-hard protective surface and vibrant color. Powder coating is becoming a popular low-cost, long-lasting coloring method widely used in various industrial applications. Its application extends across a broad range of industrial parts and components, such as machinery, outdoor equipment, metal structures, and heavy-duty appliances, including cookers, fridges, washers, and dryers.

Performance: Paint vs. Powder Coating

Paint vs. Powder Coating

Wet paint contains solvents that keep all other components suspended in a liquid state. These solvents make wet paint flammable; however, once the paint has dried and the solvents have evaporated, the paint itself is not extremely flammable. 

On the other hand, powder coating is applied as a dry powder, making it inherently stronger as it does not rely on flammable solvents. The fire-resistant properties and low chemical composition of powder coating contribute to its increased durability and cost-effectiveness compared to conventional paint.

Thinner powder coat layers create a more textured finish, while thicker layers produce a smoother finish. The decision to use thinner or thicker layers of powder coating depends on the desired final appearance of the product. Powder coating has many advantages, but wet paint may be considered more versatile when it comes to color matching.

Paint vs. Powder Coating: Which One Stands up to Constant Sunlight Exposure?

Powder coating of metal products. Paint coating industry metal powder coating painting metal parts. Coveralls worker with spray gun painting steel products.

The use of surface finishing is to protect metal surfaces from environmental damage. Powder coating is more resistant to wear, such as chipping and scratching, than wet paint, thanks to the thermal bonding that occurs during curing. The powder is a superior barrier because it’s applied in much thicker layers, which is crucial for outdoor products.

Even if you apply a hard enamel clear coat over the paint, there will be uneven thickness and a possibility of cracks in the future. This is because wet paint is, at its most basic, a liquid that dries on. 

Conversely, you get a heat-cured surface with the powder coating process. A heat and cold application to a powder coat solidifies and bakes on to form a rock-hard surface that is resistant to damage from outside elements.

Like any other coating, powder coating finishes may experience gradual fading over time. Despite having a lifespan of up to 20 years, exposure to UV light and harsh outdoor elements can potentially contribute to some deterioration. This process, known as chalking, occurs when the resin and pigment particles within the powder coating lose bonding strength, causing the layer to appear faded initially.

Fortunately, skilled powder coating engineers use additional UV protective coats to mitigate this issue. Proper maintenance and care can also help reduce these effects, prolonging the lifespan of powder-coated surfaces.

While some high-quality paints designed for outdoor applications may be more resistant to UV rays than powder coatings, allowing them to retain color and luster longer, it is not universally true for all paints. The performance of both paint and powder coatings in resisting UV damage can vary depending on the specific formulation and additives used. The flexibility of certain paints enables them to move with the material as it expands and contracts in different weather conditions, which can make them suitable for exterior applications.

Overall, powder coating protects metal surfaces from corrosion and environmental damage better than wet paint against chemicals, rusting, scratching, and chipping. Regarding health and safety reasons, wet paint emits volatile organic compounds (VOCs), a major source of industrial pollution. 

Prolonged exposure may have short- and long-term adverse physical effects. Powder coating is superior to liquid paint and free of VOCs and associated health risks.

Caring for Powder Coated Surfaces

Have you made a decision regarding paint vs. powder coating? If you intend to use powder coating finishing, consider the following tips to extend the product’s lifespan:

  • Avoid using solvent-based cleaners since they harm the powder coating’s protective properties.
  • Use a nonabrasive protective wax that provides UV protection to the powder coating finish. To avoid permanent staining, wipe off any remaining wax after applying the protective wax.
  • Consult a powder coating professional if the surface finishing begins to show signs of wear and tear.

Powder coating is becoming increasingly popular, particularly in industrial applications, as a result of new technological advancements and lower costs. While wet paint will always have a place, powder coating continues to be an excellent surface finish option thanks to its exceptional durability, corrosion protection, and long-term wear resistance.

Now that you know all the benefits of powder coating and have picked your preference between paint vs. powder coating do not hesitate to contact Minnesota Industrial Coatings today. Our skilled engineers are ready to support your product manufacturing for all mild, galvanized, and electroplated steel powder coating projects.

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