The GLW Engineering Blog

Powder Coating

Paint Vs Powder Coating For Steel Fabrications


Surface finishing is vital for coating reactive metals such as steel. Without a suitable finish, oxidation can cause rust to form, which is not only unsightly but also threatens to weaken the structure, hastening its premature failure. Surface coatings are, therefore, more than just a way to improve the aesthetics of a steel fabricated object, as they act as an impermeable barrier that helps inhibit corrosion.

Download our fantastic FREE guide to shot blasting & powder coating!

Liquid paint and powder coatings are popular choices for surface finishing of steel. As each type has several advantages and disadvantages, it can be confusing knowing which is the most suitable for your project.

Unlike powder coating, paint contains solvents which maintains a suspended liquid form, whereas powder coatings are applied dry. This single compositional difference affects all aspects of each finishing type, including colour, texture, and method of application.

Liquid Paint:

  • Paint is applied to the steel substrate once a primer has been used. Several layers may be required, depending on the purpose and location of the object (for example, to protect it against excessive wear or exposure to the weather).
  • Paint offers virtually unlimited colour choices, as shades can be mixed to the customer’s exact requirements. Powder coating, by comparison, has comparatively limited colour choices.
  • Thin layers can be applied without affecting the smoothness of the finish, helping deliver excellent quality and appearance.
  • As paint doesn’t need to be cured, it is suited to objects that might be affected if subjected to the heat curing that powder coating requires.
  • Paint may not be as durable as powder coatings, but it is easily cleaned. If an area becomes damaged, new paint can be applied without needing to re-coat the entire object.

Powder Coating:

  • Powder coating is achieved by covering the substrate with electrically charged powder, which is then heat-cured in an oven to ensure a hard, durable finish.
  • Powder coating is far more resistant to scratches and chips than paint, so this finishing method is more durable and weather-proof, resulting in impressive outcomes for years.
  • Unlike paint, powder coatings can be applied rapidly in a single covering, slashing the amount of time required to achieve the same standard of finish.
  • Consistency is a key benefit of powder coating, as the same standard of finish can be achieved repeatedly across a large batch of items.
  • Powder coating is more environmentally friendly than paint as it contains fewer solvents and volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

Choosing The Right Coating For Your Fabricated Steel

Often, the choice of paint or powder coating is made on a case-by-case basis, but overall powder coating offers superior durability, a more consistent finish, greater cost-efficiency, and more robust green credentials. To find out more about our powder coating service, get in touch to tell us about your project.

New call-to-action

Image source: Unsplash

New call-to-action

Subscribe to Email Updates

New call-to-action

Latest Posts

Recent Posts