Painting vs. Coating Metals





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We may not always paint for cosmetic reasons. When working with metal and other corrodable materials, painting is to protect. There are two popular forms of coating metals; using traditional paint and using a powder coating. 

Both methods for painting protect the metals underneath while making them aesthetically pleasing. Whether the coating is painted or applied as a powder, the end goal is the same- coating your metals for the protection of your work.

The Elemet Group has a passion for finishing metalwork with precision and beauty. Our two primary methods are powder and electrocoating (A.K.A. e-coating). While we call Minnesota home, we are happy to serve clients nationwide.

Contact us today to request an estimate and to see how we can protect your hard work

Coating Metals 

You can protect your metalwork by placing a coating to keep away corrosion and rust. There are different ways to do this, but the two most popular would be traditional painting and powder coating

Diving into each method, we can see that both offer protection and look great. Both have the potential to upsell, display a beautiful aesthetic, and offer texture. Where the coating metal options differ is in maintenance and longevity. 


Wet/Traditional Painting 

Traditional paint is applied to metal and industrial work by spraying it on. The color is applied with a pressurized pump or spraying apparatus. The paint is air-dried naturally or placed in an oven. 


  • More color selection and customization is available 
  • Often an initially lower-cost method 
  • You can complete it anywhere, as the paint does not need an oven for drying. 
  • Much easier to achieve a high-gloss finish


  • Traditional paint will eventually flake away and will chip off over time. It will need to be touched up. 
  • Paint is highly flammable and can lead to damage and dangerous situations. 
  • Emits fumes that are toxic to breathe in, especially in closed spaces. 

A dangerous con to traditional wet paint is the emission of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC)

These compounds, if ingested, can lead to respiratory irritation and worsening of current medical conditions. The risk of this outcome increases if the paint is stored and worked within an enclosed space. 

Powder Coating 

Powder is applied using a charged particle system. It must be done professionally and is cured using an industrial oven. 

Powder coating can be composed of many materials, including polyester, acrylics, and types of epoxies. 


  • Over time will protect the metal under it and is typically resistant to scratches and wear, suitable for quality and longevity.
  • It does not emit vapors, and VOCs are not a concern, even in enclosed spaces. 
  • Any metal surface can be coated and quickly changed. 
  • The method allows for there to be no signs of dripping or streaking when finished. It will also provide consistency. 
  • Multiple coats can be applied, which means more protection.


  • Powder coating needs to be done by a professional because it gives consistency and quality that otherwise would not occur. 

All About the Method 

There are different ways to apply a painted finish to metals. The methods are both done professionally and will adequately protect the object in the project.

Wet/Traditional Paint Application

  • The object is thoroughly cleaned to rid of excess oils and debris
  • Paint is applied using a spray pump to guarantee an even coat
  • Dried via air drying or in an industrial oven 

The spray method is a plus for traditional paint, as it is less like to leave streaks and offers an even coating. Painting can also deliver a high gloss finish and gives the options for more colors. 

Powder Coating Application

  • The object is cleaned to rid of excess oils and debris 
  • Pretreatment is applied with a nano-technology coating 
  • Part is dried 
  • Powder coating is applied

      – Goes into an industrial oven to dry. The temperature and time in the range will differ depending on the material or object.

Paint vs. Powder Coating: Environmental Impact 

Due to the different chemical compositions of traditional paint and powder coating, there will be other environmental impacts for both. 

Wet/Traditional Paint Environmental Impact

Traditional paint is composed of several chemicals that, over time will release pollutants into the air. Over time these become dangerous to the environment and those who occupy it. This danger increases if in an enclosed space. 

Some of those chemicals are: 

  • Glycols
  • Ammonia
  • Benzene: Proven carcinogen and mutagen

Even after traditional paint is applied, it can release VOCs into the environment. So while it does seal, it can still give off harmful chemicals. 


Powder Coating Environmental Impact

Powder coating has far less impact on the Earth over time. The layers are set and sealed and will not give off the chemicals into the air that traditional painting releases.

Elemet Manufacturing takes pride in a safe process and falls into compliance with RoHS, OSHA, and the EPA. That process keeps our employees, clients, and the Earth safe over time. 

A passion of the Elemet Group is precision evidenced by our services and their execution. Services include powder coating, welding, cutting, and many others. 

Contact us right now to request an estimate. We are happy to help you bring your work to the next level. Our powder coating will help you to protect your work and display it at its full potential

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