Powder coating is an alternative to conventional liquid paint. At JL Architects, we are finding that powder coating can bring both economic and environmental advantages to your project. Environmentally friendly powder coatings were introduced to the industrial finishing industry in the late 1960s, and continue to become more widely used in other industries today.
There are several economic benefits to powder coating that you will enjoy. Powder coating is much more efficient than painting. About 95% of the powder material makes it onto the substrate, while conventional paint results in about 35%. Much of this is due to the properties of powdercoats. The overspray can be reclaimed while paint overspray is simply waste. In addition, with conventional paint whatever film is formed on the substrate, about 50% of it is lost due to the evaporation of the solvents in the paint.
Because of the evaporative properties of paint, there are always environmental factors to consider. Anyone that has painted a room in their house, or anything else for that matter in the past few years should have heard of VOC’s, or volatile organic compounds. Volatile organic compounds are emitted as gases which can have short-term or long-term adverse health effects upon those exposed to them. Powder coatings are solvent-free and contain no hazardous waste according to the Resources Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). Overspray from liquid coatings must be handled as hazardous waste.
Aside from the economic and environmental advantages, powder coating is superior to liquid coating in application. A single coat of powder coating can produce a thickness of 2-4 mils while paint will only produce a thickness of up to 1.2 mils. Powdercoating can be completed in a single coat with excellent edge coverage. Liquid coating often requires multiple coats, can show an uneven finish, and have poor edge coverage.
One of the branding elements that our client Zoë’s Kitchen uses in its restaurants, specifically on its patios, is its railing. The finish on this railing was once specified as paint. Zoë’s is benefiting from the advantages of powder coating to reduce the need for maintenance and to guarantee a consistent and even covering of the metal.
Powder coating comes in several compositions which are specified for optimum coverage of certain materials. If you are interested in learning more about powder coating and the science behind it, you will find additional information in this presentation by Tiger Drylac Coatings.