Customers sometimes ask me to quote powder coating projects with and without blasting, so they can compare pricing.
I’ll spoil it for you: most of the time, blasting before powder coating doubles the cost of the project.
Understandably, that gives some customers pause. They wonder whether it’s worth it, and they ask me what I recommend. Obviously, if the part is rusty or already coated, blasting is non-negotiable. However, if it’s new metal that appears to be in good shape, there’s some wiggle room.
Here’s what I ask to determine whether blasting is necessary.
Is it an outdoor part or an indoor part?
I believe that powder coating outdoor parts without blasting them first is a waste of money. Weather is ruthless – within a year or two, the coating will start to flake off of an un-blasted surface, leaving the substrate exposed. While blasting could double the cost of the project, it’ll more than triple the life of the coating, ensuring that your part stays corrosion-free as long as possible. I strongly recommend blasting for all outdoor applications.
If the part is going indoors, however, the issue becomes more nuanced. Proceed to the next two questions.
How much traffic will it encounter?
The more traffic (i.e., hands, pets, dirt, cleaning products, etc.) the part encounters, the more necessary blasting becomes. Handrails on busy staircases, for instance, undergo far more wear and tear than artwork. I recommend blasting high-touch parts to give the powder the best possible shot at long-term adhesion.
Sculptures, decorative pieces, and even low-touch guardrails, however, may not be worth the added cost of blasting.
How important is smoothness to you?
Set function aside for a moment and consider the aesthetics. Yes, blasting enhances adhesion, but it also promotes smoothness. The better the substrate looks before coating, the better it’ll look after coating. Some customers don’t care about this at all; others do. It’s up to you to decide.
I’m well aware that I’m biased – my company is called Kaser Blasting & Coatings for a reason. I value both processes, and think they work best in harmony with one another. Yes, doing both will increase the cost of the project, but the quality of the results far outweighs the price.