Does Powder Coating Prevent Rust?

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Yes, powder coating is one of the many ways used to prevent rust! A dry powder is applied to a clean surface evenly, and then the object is heated to turn powder into a solid and thin film. The powdery substance is made from polyurethane, epoxy, polyester, acrylic, nylon or vinyl and applied to a metal object. An electrostatic spray process is used to apply the powder to the object.

The process is great for specific finishes or parts since there is no liquid used. Just like painting, it covers a metal object into a protective layer. Typically, it will stop moisture from reaching the metal and thus preventing rust. For this method to prevent rust effectively, the coating must be intact. You can always rely on powder coats as it is one of the strongest coatings that can handle a lot of abuse before it scratches, chips, or fails. But don’t expose the metal through any weak areas; it will create an entry for rust.

How Do You Prevent Powder-Coated Steel From Rusting?

It’s not enough you powder coated your steel from rusting! Care and maintenance are still needed to combat the effects of elements that will shorten this protective finish. To prevent powder-coated steel from rusting, do the following:

Avoid Harsh Chemical Cleaners

Powder coating can be ruined easily by harsh solvents. Several commercial cleaning brands can ruin these types of finishes. When the finish gets damaged, it is vulnerable to fading, staining, and failure. By using such chemicals, the life expectancy of the finish can reduce by half.

We can’t predict an organic finish’s service life due to different elements that affect its ability to protect and adorn the surface. So, look for a suitable chemical cleaner and avoid exposing your model to rust.

Proper Cleaning And Maintenance

Though the exact length of service cannot be determined, proper cleaning and maintenance can enhance its durability. Avoid using harsh chemicals while cleaning and keep records of materials used when cleaning and the dates. The records will help you track the cleaners used to prevent any rust on the powder-coated steel. 

Protect The Exposed Surface With Wax

Finish services that are exposed more or may come into contact with another object need wax treatment. Such surfaces may include; fences, stairways, outdoor furniture, outdoor lighting fixtures, guardrails, etc. Apply a light coating of premium grade non-abrasive car wax. The great brand will contain UV inhibitors or UV blockers. Compound-type wax is not suitable for this purpose since it contains abrasives that can damage the powder coating.

Ensure you wipe off globs of wax that stay on the surface to avoid permanent staining. Generally, the remaining wax could bake into places when exposed to the sun’s ultraviolet light.

Use Mild Soap And Water

Clean all powdered coated products with a solution of mild soap and warm water using a soft cloth or brush. A soap with emulsifiers is the most suitable since it helps break down the most common types of stains. Exposed areas need to be clean as it’s categorized as a critical one. You can also wipe down and rinse with filtered water.

Pressure Cleaning

This is one of the most efficient ways of cleaning coated surfaces to remove grime and dirt. We are normally used to clean commercial patio furniture, bus shelters, and many outdoor surfaces. Ensure the pressure washer has a low-pressure setting with filtered water. Avoid using unfiltered water or groundwater as it could leave stains on the metal surfaces. Suppose the water contains sulfur, fluoride, iron oxide, or chlorine; it will surely stain the outdoor products.

Before cleaning the powder-coated surfaces, examine where the wind blows water from the sprinkler system—then, using the low pressured filtered water, clean your surfaces. Using high-pressure water causes the metal surfaces to shift their position or ruin the finishing.

What Are The Disadvantages Of Powder Coating?

Power coating demonstrates several significant advantages like durability, less environmental impact and great material utilization. But its limitation too can’t be ignored because it affects us in one way or another. Some of its visible disadvantages include:

High Startup Powder Coating Cost

In the long run, the powder-coating method may prove to be cost-effective, mainly because of its durability. It has a minimal environmental impact, shorter processing and curing times, and material utilization rates. Nevertheless, the startup cost for this process and its equipment investments can be costly than liquid coating.

For liquid coating startup, you only need a spray gun and a spray area. In comparison, the powder coating workshop requires a spray gun, spray booth, and curing oven for the process to be complete.  Curing oven tops push the initial startup cost of this method, as some people might find it difficult to acquire the equipment. When handling larger, heavier, and thicker parts, you will need a larger and even more powerful oven, making the equipment’s total cost high.

Longer And Costly Way Of Curing And Drying Process For Large And Thick Parts

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Powder-coating takes less time in process curing and drying as compared to liquid coating.  Nonetheless, curing and drying larger and thicker parts may take more time as well as energy. The increase in time is because the curing process largely depends on the bulk temperature of the part. It means the whole part needs to be adequately heated for the surface temperature to melt and eventually cure the powder coating. Large volumes of heated air and exhaust are needed to achieve such temperatures, thus taking much time to complete. Powder coating of large and thicker parts makes it less cost-effective than the liquid coating method.

Custom Coating Material And Color Change

Here the color is determined by the plastic used to make the powder material. Normally, the materials come in minimum consignments, which may not be affordable for the small-batch coating custom. Furthermore, one cannot mix materials to create other colors. Each color is tailor-made to exhibit certain physical and mechanical attributes.

Thin-Film Coating

This method is excellent for smoothness and even thick coating, but it isn’t easy to produce a similar thin coating. The setback is due to the powder application, as it is more challenging to control the amount and speed at which it’s applied on the substrate. Even though the thicker coating is great when hiding surface imperfection, the thinner coating on the other end displays more orange-peeled textures. 

Inadequate pre-treatment, too little, too much, insufficient curing times and temperatures, and improperly applied powder cause such conditions. As compared to the liquid coating method, it is much more difficult to attain good results for a smooth and thin coating finishing when using powder-coats.

The Range Of Suitable Materials

The range of suitable materials for powder coating is very limited because powder coating must be heated. So, only metal materials like steel, aluminum brass, and stainless steel can be applied. Few non-metal materials like glass and fiberboard are also suitable. After that, any materials undergoing this process need to resist the oven’s curing temperatures without deforming, melting, or burning.

Which Is Better, Powder Coat Or Galvanized?

Both of them are great ways of preventing rust. But between these two ways, powder coating has managed to overpower galvanizing to remain the most favorite and popular way in the industrial application. Even so, galvanizing is favored when it comes to rough environments like foundries, lumber yards, shipping docks, or very high/low-temperature atmospheres.

However, powder coating will take a longer time to apply; its flexibility in finish and colors is out of reach, especially on large and thicker parts. Both ways enable protective finishes to metal objects, but the powder coating is easier to dent, scratch, or under forceful impacts with sharp objects. Please note the outcome will entirely depend on the components you are applying on. 

How Long Does Powder-Coated Steel Last?

Powder-coated steel can maintain its finishes up to 15-20 years, depending on powder and pre-treatment type. But its longevity also depends on the consistent use, exposure to ultraviolet lights, and other outdoor elements. 

Types of coatings also have different lifespans. For example, fluoropolymers and urethanes coatings last longer. They are designed to resist harsh conditions and are better suited for outdoor models. On the other hand, the epoxy coating may last very long indoors, but they break down easily if exposed to the outdoors.

Is Powder Coat Better Than Paint?

Powder coat and paint are both good for rust prevention, but each has its benefits and limitations. Here are a few points which can help you decide on  the suitable one;

1. Powder coat delivers better coverage, low maintenance, and more wear-resistant. But it’s slightly costly than a paint coat.

2. Both methods are vulnerable to chalking when outside for a long period, thus faded appearance.

3. Paints coats are easily available. It’s affordable, and one can create matching colors for existing paints. Achieving high-gloss finishes is less complicated.

4. Both ways are similar when it comes to color pigments, resins, and other additives through paints have solvents.

Final Word

Apart from powder coating, there are many other ways to prevent rust if this is not your take. Powder coat gives you awesome finishing; no wonder, universal industries such as automotive, medical and furniture’s, etc., trust this method. It’s a magical and excellent way to extend the lifespan of a product. Environmental factors, misapplication of the coating not forgetting wear and tear from repeated use can be its downfall. So, proper care and maintenance are needed to maximize their potential.

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