I suspect general public customers are partial to liquid coating because they imagine they could do it themselves.
The concept is familiar: they’ve used spray paint, latex paint, even acrylic paint – how different could industrial coating really be? So they push me for a liquid coating quote, only to get frustrated when it comes back much higher than the powder coating quote I’d initially sent.
I hear a lot of “I could just do it for cheaper!” to which I say, “go right ahead.” But all snarkiness aside, I want to take a moment to demystify why liquid coating is so much more costly than powder coating.
Liquid coating materials are more expensive than powder coating materials.
We could blast, powder coat, and package your lawn chair for less than what we’d spend on a single gallon of the high-performance liquid coating you think you want. Liquid coating does not make financial sense for miscellaneous household parts.
Liquid coating takes time to set up.
We aren’t shaking a can of spray paint and getting to work. We are mixing kits, tuning the gun, setting up the parts, masking as necessary, and cleaning the equipment (and the room) between each color. There are rags, chemicals, and waste involved in setting up the liquid booth, none of which is an issue in powder coating.
Liquid coating still requires disassembly.
If you’re tempted to pay a little more for liquid coating services in order to avoid having to disassemble your parts, I have bad news for you: disassembly is just as important for liquid coating as it is for powder.
In powder, we disassemble because we want to keep nonmetal parts out of the oven. In liquid, we disassemble because the coatings aren’t electrostatically charged – they won’t automatically wrap around every seam the way that powder coating would. Disassembling your parts before liquid coating is the best way to ensure uniform corrosion protection on all surfaces.
My mantra to all customers, but especially to the general public, is this: if it can be powder coated, it should be powder coated. This has nothing to do with the quality of the coatings (which are largely equal), and everything to do with saving you time and money.
There are plenty of applications for which liquid coating makes sense, and they’re almost exclusively industrial or automotive. If liquid coating is right for your project, don’t worry – I will recommend it. If not, please trust me when I steer you toward powder coating. It’s for the good of your wallet.