What is Powder Coating and is it Worth it?
What is Powder Coating?
One of the most common questions we are asked when discussing the finish of our metal table legs and bases is “What is powder coating and is it worth it?”. The powder coating process is a
relatively complicated process of electrostatically charging a mixture of dry chemical particles and grounding a metal product so the powder is attracted to the metal. The metal product is then put in an oven where the chemicals are heated which causes them to melt and activate which starts a bonding process with the flowed-out powder and the metal substrate.
In its simplest form, powder coating can be thought of as a plastic shell that is melted around a metal product. For our metal table legs and bases, a powder coated finish provides a durable finish that has many superiorities over paint. Over the years, powder coated finishes have improved and developed vastly, offering an unlimited number of different variations. Powder coated finishes can be color matched to provide any color and sheen, from gloss levels ranging from 0% to 100%. There are also different textured finishes available, including sandpaper-like textures, wrinkled finishes, and hammered finishes. There are metallic powders that have metallic flakes added in with the powder to provide a sparkly, metal-like finish. There are multi-colored powders available, and powders with different colored veins running through them. There are even powders that have color changing effects depending on the angle you are looking at the powder from.
To further complicate the process, there are even different types of powder that have different performance characteristics, including salt-spray resistance, UV resistance, scratch and mar resistance, chemical resistance, and more. Some are better suited for exterior applications, and some require protective topcoats to protect the base layer of powder from rusting.
Here are ECon Welding and Fabrication, we do all of our powder coating in-house. We work closely with high quality powder manufacturers to ensure the powders we use are suitable for the application they are being used for. All of the metal table legs and bases we powder coat here and properly cleaned, prepped, and coated according to the specifics of the powder chosen.
Is Powder Coating Worth it?
Powder coating at its face value seems like an obvious advantage to paint and a no-brainer, however there are some downsides to it. The most obvious downside is the cost. Having your metal table legs or bases powder coated is an additional cost, and depending on the final application of the product, this may or may not be worth it to you. Another big downside is the ability to touch up a damaged section of a powder coated finish. While powder coating is much more durable than paint, it’s not bulletproof and will still scratch if it is damaged. Common colors such as black or white can typically be touched up pretty easily with any off-the-shelf matching color paint. But some of the more unique colors can be impossible to touch up, such as textured, chrome, or vein finishes. We do have some touchup kits available for some of the more unique colors, like the metallic color options, and even custom colors. Beyond the cost and touchup disadvantage, powder coating is superior in all other aspects. Whether or not it is worth it is up to you.
If you are on a tight budget, or have no problem touching up scratched painted finishes, powder coating may not be worth it to you. But generally speaking we believe powder coated finishes are worth the additional cost, and most of customers feel the same way, which is why more than 80% of all the products we make end up getting powder coating.
What do you Recommend?
Even with all of the above info being presented to our customers, they are often still on the fence about the decision and ask for our recommendation. There are some obvious scenarios where we recommend or don’t recommend powder coating. We always recommend a powder coated finish when:
- The metal furniture base is to be used outdoors
- The product will be in a high traffic setting and subject to a lot of chair movement and vacuums that may come in direct contact with the metal base
- The metal base will need to be cleaned/scrubbed (often as a result from little kids) as a painted finish will typically rub off when being scrubbed down
- The color you are looking for is a color that is not offered in painted finish options, such as white, brass, or shiny silver colors
Scenarios where we would NOT recommend powder coating typically include:
- One time use products, where long term durability is not a concern, such as staging a house
- Products that are strictly decorative, and not subject to any direct traffic around the metal base
Generally speaking, if you are STILL on the fence, we recommend going with a powder coated finish. In the long run, the cost of the powder coating upgrade is a relatively small expense that will add years of extra durability to your metal table base investment. If you have any doubts or questions at all about powder coating, please Contact Us for any additional information. Also feel free to browse our supplier’s site to see available colors and options at www.PrismaticPowders.com