Powder Coating FAQ

Frequently asked questions about powder coating

What is powder coating?
Powder coating is an advanced method of applying a decorative and protective finish to a wide range of materials and products that are used by both industries and consumers. The powder used for the process is a mixture of finely ground particles of pigment and resin, which is sprayed onto a surface to be coated. The charged powder particles adhere to the electrically grounded surfaces until heated and fused into a smooth coating in a curing oven. The result is a uniform, durable, high-quality, and attractive finish. Powder coating is the fastest-growing finishing technology in North America, representing over 20% (and quickly growing!) of all industrial finishing applications

How much more durable is powder coating?
Powder coating gives consumers, businesses, and industry one of the most economical, longest-lasting, and most color-durable quality finishes available.
Powder coated surfaces are more resistant to chipping, scratching, fading, and wearing than other finishes. Color selection is virtually unlimited with high and low gloss, metallic, and clear finishes available. And colors stay bright and vibrant longer. Texture selections range from smooth surfaces to a wrinkled or matte finish, and rough textures designed for hiding surface imperfections

Is Powder Coating better than liquid paint?
Powder coating is applied thicker than liquid paint (usually 3-4 mills compared to 1-2 mils) and powder coated surfaces are more resistant to chipping, scratching, fading, and wearing than liquid paint and other finishes. Powder coating is more versatile than liquid paint, and can be used on springs without cracking the coating. You can’t do that with paint!

What about the environment?
The powder coating process itself offers another advantage—it’s environmentally friendly—virtually pollution free! Powder coating is highly protective of our environment. While liquid finishes contain solvents which have pollutants known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs), powder coating contains no solvents and releases negligible amounts.

It looks like paint but it acts like armor
It's tough. It looks great. And it lasts a long, long time. Powder coating is a superior finish that's found on hundreds of products you come in contact with each day. It makes products durable, attractive, and scratch-resistant, too.

How can you paint parts with dry powder?
The powder coatings are applied using a specialized powder coating spray gun. This unique spray gun has an adjustable electrostatic charge of between 10,000-90,000 volts with a positive ion orientation. This is similar to the way dust sticks to your television screen, except that we supercharge the dust (in this case, the powder), causing the coating to stick to the parts on speacial hooks!

Do powder coated parts drip, run, or sag?
As the powder passes through the spray gun, the powder is given a negative electrical charge. The part to be powder coated is grounded or negative. Powder exits the spray gun in a fog like fashion and is attracted to the negative(grounded) part. This is one of the major differences between wet and dry paint. Wet paint is blown onto a part with a lot of pressure; powder is sprayed with low pressure causing the fog (Cloud) to be gently “pulled” to the part. The advantage is the fog reaches all recessed areas (like between the fins of a head, providing a more complete and uniform layer), which results in a smooth finish typically without the runs, sags, light spots, etc., that can occur with wet paint.

What does sandblasting do?
Sandblasting ‘etches’ the surface of the metal, creating a solid mechanical bond adhesion during the curing process. It also cleanses the metal. We use very fine angular aluminum oxide media because it gives the best results for powder coating adhesion.

What if my parts are chrome plated when I bring them to you?
If your parts are chrome plated, we will sandblast the top layer of chrome away, leaving the copper and nickel layers.

What kinds of materials can be powder coated?
Any objects made from metal (aluminum, steel, brass, copper, bronze, titanium, magnesium, etc.) can be powder coated. All of these metals, weather sand, die, investment casting, extruded, forged, and of course billet metals can be powder coated. *Cast aluminum and patio furniture may experience out-gassing and/or bubbling in the finished powder coating. CaboPowder will take every precaution to avoid out-gassing, however, we will not be help responsible for bubbling caused by porous castings.

What are some of the specific items that can be powder coated?
Some of the items that we powder coat include: patio and indoor furniture, decorative architectural pieces, car, boat, plane, bicycle and motorcycle parts (including chassis, frames and exhaust systems), wrought iron gates and fencing, birdcages, wheels, plumbing and lighting fixtures, railings, hand rails, metal cabinetry (i.e. medicine cabinets, etc), appliances (front and side panels of ranges and refrigerators, washer tops and lids, dryer drums, air conditioner cabinets, water heaters, dishwasher racks, cavities of microwave ovens), and more!

What kinds of finishes are available with powder coating?
With powder coating, color selection is virtually unlimited with high and low gloss, metallic, and clear finishes available. Colors stay bright and vibrant longer. Texture selections range from smooth surfaces to a wrinkled or matte finish, and rough textures designed for hiding surface imperfections are also available. Common formulations applied at CaboPowder include epoxies, hybrids, urethanes, polyesters and acrylics. Standard coatings commonly used include fluorescent, metallic, textured, hammertone, wrinkle, candy color/transparents, and of course all old world standard color finishes. All of these are available in flat, matte, semi and high gloss.

Two Stage Powders
Unlike liquid paints, powder coated candies, silvers and metallics require multiple coats of powder. With candy colors, usually a layer of silver is applied to the part first (base coat). CaboPowder and all high end coaters will always wait for the parts to cool down to the ambient temperature from applying the base coat before application of the second color, or top coat.
Special considerations and calculations must be made with 2 stage finishes to ensure that there isn’t any over or under curing!

Are custom colors available?
Virtually any color, texture and gloss level can be custom matched. Due to the process involved in manufacturing powder resin, custom colors can be expensive unless the requirement is large.

Pricing is determined by our labor, material and power costs, with the main expense being the cost to operate the ovens to cure the powder. Next on the expense list is labor with it taking more time to change colors than to spray them. The equipment and the spray room have to be spotless as a few specks of powder from one color can ruin the next color. So the more parts sprayed per color and the more parts cured at one time, the lower our costs are which lowers your cost.
The most cost effective way to have powder coating done is by having a number of pieces done at one time. We encourage this as it allows us to give you the highest quality powder coating at the best possible price.

What if I scratch or ding my parts once I bring them home? How can I repair them?
Once you have your precious parts powder coated, you will never be able to have repairs (chips, scratches, etc.) redone in powder, without tanking it apart, stripping and recoating. You can have a small touch up kit made by your local automotive paint supplier "made to match" as close as possible. Remember, special effect powders will not be able to be duplicated! To make life easier, we suggest having a 3"x5" or 4"x6" "Q" panel as they are called in the trade, or flat piece of metal coated at the same time as your parts. We will write the powder manufacturers company name, part number and color name on the panel for future reference, (i.e. Tiger Drylac Bengal Black 549/88888). Save this panel! Take it to an automotive paint tinter for a touch up kit.