How Long Does Powder Coating Last?

Powder coating can last up to 40 years depending on the preparation, type of coating used, materials and treatment process. While most powder coatings are highly durable, weather-resistant and provide years of high-traffic use, certain factors can significantly accelerate fading and performance.

Some factors in the environment can affect the finish of powder coating. Other variables like how well-suited the powder coating is for interior or exterior applications can also cause a negative impact.

If you’re looking for an eco-friendly alternative to wet paint as a finishing solution for your products or surfaces, keep reading to learn more about the different types of powder and their durability for various conditions.

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Types of Powder Coating 

A few different types of powder coating can be used for various industrial and commercial applications. All types of powder coatings fall under two general categories of polymers:

  • Thermoplastic: When heated, these powder coating finishes become liquid and require no chemical bonding. These polymers are great for applications on appliances, metal and automotive parts. Thermoplastics have a low melting point, so they’re perfect to use on recycled materials. Examples of thermoplastic coatings include polyester and acrylic.
  • Thermoset: Once cured, this powder coating forms chemical bonds and can withstand high temperatures, making them more solid and durable. Examples of thermoset powder coatings include epoxy and polyurethane.

Some powder coating materials can come in both thermoplastic and thermoset versions. Here are the different types of powder coating finishes you can use on various materials:

1. Epoxy

Epoxies are widely used for their excellent durability and resistance to corrosion and chemicals. Epoxy provides strong adhesion to metals and can be used as a primer under topcoats. This type of coating should be used for indoor applications only, as consistent ultraviolet (UV) exposure can cause fading and deterioration.

2. Polyester

Polyester is a common type of powder coating with a wide range of finishing, gloss and color options, making it a popular choice for appearances. This type of coating can be used in indoor and outdoor applications because they’re resistant to UV weathering, chemicals and corrosion.

Polyester coatings also provide flexibility and wearability to prevent yellowing. However, this powder does have a low cure temperature, so some outdoor applications will only hold up for one to three years.

Other forms of polyester:

  • Polyurethanes: Polyurethanes are a bit more elevated than polyester because they have better chemical resistance and hardness. However, they lack flexibility. They can be used in indoor and outdoor applications.
  • Super durable polyesters: This form of polyester provides superior powder coating durability and holds its finishing and color for better longevity. Super durable polyesters can also be used in indoor and outdoor applications because of their stronger corrosion and humidity resistance.

3. Fluoropolymer

When it comes to outdoor applications, fluoropolymers are a great choice. This type of powder coating has phenomenal weather resistance and gloss retention properties making them perfect for architectural applications like doors and windows. Like all powder coatings, fluoropolymers benefit from a liquid or powder primer beneath but provide a one-coat capability in most instances.

4. Urethane

Urethane powders are very similar to the qualities that exist in polyester, but they have better chemical resistance due to different curing agents. This type of powder coating can create a smooth, matte finish that’s perfect for doorknobs and oven knobs where fingerprints won’t be as visible.

Urethane powder meets high standards of longevity and efficiency in interior and exterior applications. However, urethanes are also harder because they’re less flexible, and their general improvements from polyester make them more expensive.

Environmental Variables

Powder coatings can withstand daily use in high-traffic areas for years at a time. Powder-coated items will also see increased durability and resistance to:

  • Moisture
  • Abrasion
  • Peeling
  • Chipping
  • Impact 

Professional preparation and treatment will help extend the lifespan of your powder coating. Preparation is the most important step in the longevity of your finish, so it’s essential to have a clean substrate to ensure proper adherence.

If there are any existing coatings, they’ll need to be stripped down to the bare metal to prevent chipping. However, there are certain environments and factors that can create adverse effects on your powder coating and affect its longevity after consistent exposure.

While powder coating process and application can provide plenty of quality and durability, it’s important to know how to preserve the condition of your coating through all types of conditions to avoid any issues.

1. Temperature

Extremely hot and cold temperatures can accelerate corrosion on your powder-coated items. The ideal temperature range for most metal objects with powder coatings is 68-80 degrees Fahrenheit.

However, the broad range and weather contrast between the summer and winter months make it difficult for your powder coating to experience a consistent climate. If you can, it’s a good idea to store your metal objects indoors during these seasons or when they’re not in use, especially if they’re not well-suited for external applications.

This will help keep your powder coating looking pristine and performing better longer. High-temperature powder coating made specifically for outdoor items like automotive parts, grills and generators is perfect for items with high UV and heat exposure that can’t go indoors. In extremely low temperatures, some powder coatings can see reduced impact resistance.

2. Humidity

Metal objects and surfaces are highly susceptible to corrosion from humidity. High humidity levels can also affect your powder coating’s appearance and durability. In humid areas, powder coats can absorb and trap moisture before the curing process is complete, leaving a stained appearance or discoloration. This negative effect occurs because the moisture makes it difficult for proper adherence to happen.

If your metal parts already have a cured coat on the surface, be sure to keep them within a range of 50%-60% humidity, even in storage. Otherwise, you risk corrosion and condensation. If your powder coating is in your interior, consider getting a humidifier for better humidity control in the environment and reduce any potential adverse effects on your finish.

Powder Coating for Your Next Project From Keystone Koating 

Different types of coating are used for various indoor and outdoor purposes that can fit your business’s specifications. At Keystone Koating, we offer several kinds of powder coating, including epoxy, polyester and fluoropolymer. We also carry alternative coating options, such as urethane, silicone and hybrids.

With over 30 years of experience in industrial and commercial projects, we can provide quick turnaround times and various high-quality powder coating services. Contact our team today to discuss your next project and see how your business can benefit from our comprehensive coating process. You can also request a personalized quote so we can create a custom package that suits your needs.

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