Powder Coating vs. Wet Spray Paint Application

When it comes to deciding on the finish of your metal products, the majority of metal fabricators on the market would heavily recommend powder coating over wet spray paint application. The truth is, however, that both methods have multiple advantages and disadvantages that can only be properly appreciated if you understand the individual processes themselves. 

What is powder coating?

Owing to its relatively small impact on the environment and high level of cost-efficiency, powder coating is currently the most popular method of paint application in the metal fabrication industry. The powder that will eventually form the coating is applied to the metal solvent free using an electrostatic gun. This gun, which is sometimes referred to as a corona gun, imparts a positive charge upon the powder, which is then physically attracted to the negatively charged pieces of metal. Excessive application of powder coating in one area will lead up to a build up of positive charge, which then actively repels any further powder and creates a smooth, even finish.

Once the piece has been fully covered in powder coating it then goes on to our ovens to be heated and cured. During the curing process the powder coat fuses together, creating a thick, highly durable layer which works to protect metal pieces as well as compliment their design. We have a series of ovens capable of firing a variety of wares, so as to cater to the requirements of a range of clients big and small.

Advantages of powder coating

  • Creates a thicker coating which is much more durable, protecting your metal wares from corrosion, rust and accidental damage.

  • Safer and more environmentally friendly: no solvents are evaporated during the powder coating process, which means that fewer harmful gasses are released and any overspray can be recycled.

  • Metal pieces are given a consistently even coating due to the opposing charges of both the powder and the item.

  • There’s a wide range of colours and tones available on the market, all of which we can source for you in 2 business days.

What is wet spray paint application?

Whilst it’s not as widely used throughout the metal working industry, there are still a number of advantages to this more conventional method of paint application. As the name implies, paint is applied directly to the metal pieces in liquid form using a compressed gas spray paint gun. Owing to the wide range of paint guns on the market, which vary greatly in nozzle shape and size, wet spray paint application allows for an impressive variety of finishes for your metal pieces.  Paint guns can also be operated manually or automatically, allowing us to create unique designs for smaller batches or create consistent lines of uniform metal pieces.

Once the paint has been applied, it is then allowed to dry over a number of days to allow for a consistent and blemish-free final product. It should be noted however that during the drying process, the solvent in which the paint is originally suspended is allowed to evaporate, releasing a number of volatile gasses into the atmosphere. 

Advantages of wet spray painting

  • Versatility; owing to the veritable range of paint guns and accompanying hues of paint on the market, wet spray painting allows for the creation of some truly unique, distinctive pieces. Colours can also be matched to any sample provided.

  • Offers protection against corrosion and the onset of rust.

  • Wet paint application allows for the application of much thinner layers than powder coating.

  • Better suited to brighter, more metallic designs that opt for gloss over matt finishes.

Which is right for you?

Choosing the right finish for your metal pieces is essential because it ultimately decides how visually appealing they are, which is imperative if you manufacture consumer goods like cars, bicycles or furniture. Powder coating still has the distinct advantage on paper, owing to its relatively low financial and environmental cost, which is why it remains the preferred service of the majority of our clients. Even though wet spray paint application seems like a more costly, wasteful process, it should still definitely be considered for clients looking to produce smaller, more distinctive batches or one-off pieces. If you’re still unsure which service is right for your needs, contact us today to speak to one of our professional metal workers.