There are a plethora of projects that need a professional finish. Whether you are looking for sandblasting to apply a powder coating to a handrail, or deciding if you should apply powder or liquid coatings to your next appliance project, it doesn’t really matter. Understanding the strengths of each type of coating is important to making the correct decision. For example, appliances make up about one-third of all industrial parts that are powder coated. There is a reason for that. So let’s talk about each type of coating and how you can decide which to use.
Liquid coatings consist of your traditional brush and paint. This has been the most popular type of coating for the last several decades, as powder coating is relatively new in comparison. Here are some advantages of liquid coatings:
Can be Low VOC (volatile organic compounds): Low VOC liquid paint allows it to be brought into regulated areas. Low VOC might be required at places like hospitals, day cares, and other health care facilities. Having the option for liquid coatings is great because it allows for safer air quality in these areas.
Economically Advantageous: Because liquid coatings can be applied at lower film builds, less coating is required. This generally leads to saving a lot of cash, especially for larger coating projects. Leaving more money in your pocket frees you up to use the cash elsewhere.
Ambient Curing: With some liquid paints, ambient curing is an option, meaning no oven is required. This also allows you to tape of sections that you want to not be painted, such as during custom color designs on a vehicle.
Huge Color Variations Available: Using just a single toner mixing bank, it is easy to get a massive number of color options. Additionally, it is super easy to swap between colors during a paint job, making it easier to apply and finish multi-color paint projects.
Surface Compatibility: Liquid coatings can be applied to a wide variety of surfaces and substrates. While the substrate must be prepared properly and must be compatible with the paint, there are a huge number of options here.
So what are some of the disadvantages of a liquid coat?
High VOC Is Common: While the option for low VOC paint is available, high VOC is common in most liquid paints, which limits the use of them in regulated areas. Additionally, significant training and experience is usually needed to be able to competently apply a liquid coat. The last disadvantage is that spray booths with good ventilation and other supporting materials are needed to create a safe environment. These can build up extra costs to the project.
Now that we have covered liquid coatings, let’s talk about the counterpart: powder. Here are some of the advantages of using a powder coating:
Low VOC Content: Overall, powder coatings have low VOC so you don’t have to go searching for a specific type like you do with liquid. This is because powder doesn’t require solvents to keep the paint in suspension form.
Film Thickness: The thickness of powder coatings tends to be much higher than liquid, and doesn’t come with the runs, drips, or sags that often accompany a thick liquid coating. This can be a big advantage in certain applications, such as the underside of an object where stone chippings or other similar occurrences are common.
Overspray Recycling: Because the overspray can be recycled, there is a very high efficiency in paint consumption.
Now, the disadvantages.
Applying a powder coating requires special spray equipment. Also, powder coatings have a difficult time penetrating into parts that have deep recesses. All powder coatings must be baked in an oven, so ambient cure is not an option. Also, very thin films are difficult to achieve with a powder coat.
So whether you decide to go with liquid coatings or powder coatings is up to you and the job that needs to be done. If you still aren’t sure which is best for your particular field, give us a call. We can help you flesh out the specs of a project and give you tips and recommendations on how to prepare either powder or liquid coat projects.