In the powder coating vs painting debate, numerous questions abound. How durable is powder coating? Is powder coating better than painting? The answer could really boil down to which of the two processes best meet the following criteria.
When economic factors are taken into consideration, the main benefit of the powder-coating process is its efficiency. With a general transfer efficiency of 60–70%, roughly two-thirds of the powder used for a given application serve the intended purpose. Paint, by contrast, has a transfer efficiency of only 30-35%, and thus wastes two-thirds of the paint used for a given application.
Compared to spray painting, powder coating is a safer process because the active product — polymer powder — is inert and therefore free of toxins. Paint, by contrast, usually has toxic solvents and volatile organic compounds that can be harmful if inhaled.
The eco-friendly advantages of powder extend well beyond the application process itself. Since there are no toxins or volatile organic compounds found in powder polymers, unused portions do not emit greenhouse gases, whether used or unused. To the contrary, each application of spray paint sends toxins into the atmosphere.
From a mechanical standpoint, powder coats offer greater degrees of strength and flexibility than spray-painted finishes. For starters, a powder finish has a thickness that is stronger and more difficult to crack or peel. Powder finishes are also more bendable, and this makes powder a better option for items that change shape, as well as for anything with moving parts.
Unlike paint, which may need days to fully dry, powder will fully cure in 20 minutes or less. A powder-coated part could ultimately be put to work even before it has cooled down from its time in the oven.
Unlike liquid paints blend properties when mixed, different powders will not coalesce into a pure, uniform color. Instead, a speckled combination of colors will form when powders mix into one.
The colors of powder coatings also last longer thanks to the retentive properties of polymers, which mostly resist the chalking effects of moisture, heat and UV rays. Paints, by contrast, slowly undergo a breakdown in resins and fade from prolonged exposure to sunlight, moisture and heat. The powders that offer the best resistance to chalking are those made from polyester.
Powder coating requires spray equipment, recovery system, and curing ovens to be effective, for spray paint, all you need is a spraying system and a spot to air dry.