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Powder Coating v. Wet Paint Finishes: Which is the Ideal Solution for Infrastructure Applications?

Wet paint finishes and powder coatings for metal are both popular finishing choices for a variety of infrastructure applications, including:

  • •Freeway posts
  • •Balustrades
  • •Railings
  • •Cladding
  • •Fencing
  • •Signage
  • •Carpark or safety bollards
  • •Street or park furniture

When choosing a finish for an infrastructure project, particularly an external project, it is important to ensure your metal panels, posts and other parts can withstand the elements, scuffing and regular traffic while retaining their desired appearance. There are several important factors to consider when deciding between wet paint and powder coating, including: 

Evenness of the Finish

Wet paint finishes are typically sprayed in liquid form onto your metal components before being air-dried. Often wet spray painting produces a thin finish and a few layers are required if a higher micron thickness is specified. It is also difficult to achieve an even, ‘unmarred’ appearance with wet paint, and the layers of paint must be applied carefully to avoid build-ups or inconsistencies in the coat. Powder coating, however, which involves applying powder electrostatically onto the metal before curing, creates a dense, even finish. Because the powder bonds to the metal via an electrostatic charge, it also spreads evenly across the surface, preventing build-ups or bare patches.

powder coated battens

Corrosion Protection

A significant consideration when choosing a finish is how well it protects the metal underneath from rust or corrosion. This is of particular concern for exterior applications such as street furniture or freeway barriers, where your metal may be affected by rain, moisture or salt spray depending on the location. Because wet paint peels and degrades easily, revealing the metal beneath, it is easier for your parts to become damaged when exposed to harsh weather conditions. Powder coating, however, bonds effectively to the surface of the metal and is unlikely to peel away, keeping the metal inside protected from any exposure to elements which may corrode it. Effective pre-treatment ensures your powder coating will bond properly to the metal beneath it, and ensures it is not contaminated before the powder coat finish is applied. 

Colour Retention

Powder coating offers exceptional colour retention – especially when Super Durable™ Class 2 powders are used. Powder coating is resistant to UV rays and only minimally fades even when exposed to extreme UV radiation for long periods of time – unlike wet paint finishes which can fade, become ‘chalky’ or even change colour completely with prolonged exposure to sunlight. This makes powder coating a superior finish for exterior infrastructure applications, such as signage, fencing or posts on the side of the road.

powder coated playsafe fencing

Maintenance

Wet paint finishes have a limited lifespan, and because they peel away easily, your metal will need to be repainted as often as every year to prevent damage to the metal beneath. Unlike wet paint finishes, powder coating is designed to last for years at a time, and because it does not flake or chip off easily the way paint does, it does not need to be reapplied regularly. This saves time and money on repainting or adding new coats. 

Resistant to Scuffing and Scratching

Powder coatings are significantly more resistant to everyday scuffs and scratches than ordinary wet paint. This means that, in applications where a product is likely to be scuffed regularly, such as carpark fencing or safety bollards, a powder coating will stand up to higher levels of wear and tear than a paint finish, which can be scratched very easily.

Graffiti Resistant

Powders such as polyurethane have a dense pore structure, which means it is difficult for spray paint, inks, texta and other finishes to take hold in the surface of the coating. This therefore protects powder coated fixtures such as park benches and signage from graffiti, keeping the finish pristine, unspoiled and visually appealing. Wet paint finishes typically do not offer this sort of protection, and the best way to remove graffiti from a wet paint finish is to apply a new coat of paint. 

Hygiene

Easy to clean and with antimicrobial and chemical resistant thermoplastic options available, powder coating is an ideal option for hospital infrastructure applications. These include hand rails, balustrades, internal wall panels and more. Because paint finishes can flake off, these flakes can contaminate otherwise hygienic areas, as well as exposing the metal beneath.

For a superior coating ideal for a variety of infrastructure applications, powder coating is the perfect solution for your project. To enquire about DECO’s powder coating services or obtain a quote for your next infrastructure project, fill out our handy enquiry form. 

Read More

5 Benefits of Powder Coating 

Case Study: Ingal Civil Freeway Posts

Case Study: Campbelltown Hospital Helicopter Pad 

 

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