It’s not a secret: I consider powder coating to be far superior to liquid coating most of the time. Why? Because powder coating materials are typically less expensive, easier to apply, and quicker to cure than liquid coating, saving the customer time and money on their project.
However, liquid coating has its place. Here are a few scenarios in which I’d choose liquid over powder.
The substrate can’t handle heat.
Anything we powder coat must be able to withstand 400 degrees F, because that’s the temperature at which most powder cures. This automatically excludes nonmetal parts, and metal parts with nonmetal components (these can sometimes be tricky to identify). Heat can also cause problems for soldered parts, so beware. If you suspect that high heat will damage the substrate, do yourself a favor and choose liquid coating.
The part can’t fit in the oven.
As powder coaters, we are limited by the size of our ovens. It’s very simple: parts that don’t fit in the oven can’t be powder coated. As a result, some of Kaser’s more notable liquid coating projects have been extremely large parts, such as dump trailers and parking garage signs.
The part is going to encounter a lot of water.
The powder we spray does not hold up well in watery or submerged conditions. Special formulas exist, but they’re expensive and rare. It’s much easier to find liquid coating designed for marine environments. Occasional rain aside, if the part is going to be wet a lot of the time, I recommend liquid coating over powder coating.
Whatever your reasons for choosing liquid coating, remember to check – and respect – the coating’s cure time. Unlike powder coating, which comes out of the oven as cured as it’s ever going to be, liquid coating can feel dry to touch without actually being dry to handle. Proceed with caution.
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