How to Prep Metal for Powder Coating

Powder coating is a beneficial process for protecting certain tools, parts or equipment if they will be exposed to the elements for long periods of time. The coating offers a much greater level of durability than painting or other types of finishing—the powder, unlike paint, is not porous and thus will not let water or salts underneath the surface, where rust could begin. This doesn’t mean powder coating is indestructible, but it is among the most durable coating options you’ll find.

Of course, for the powder coating to actually set well and provide you with the long-lasting protection you’re looking for, it is important to put the proper effort into preparing the substrate. With metal, this means cleaning the surface and removing any previous finishes.

Here’s an overview of what you should know about preparing metal for powder coating in Washington.

Powder coating prep work

The process is relatively straightforward, but depending on the piece of metal you’re working with, it can take some time before it is truly ready to receive its powder coating.

The first and most important step of the process is cleaning. You’ll need to clean all the way down to the base metal, which means removing any oils, dirt and paint. The most common methods used to accomplish this include sanding, grinding, media blasting or chemical application. If you have any particularly stubborn oils clinging to the metal surface, you may find it helpful to soak the part in acetone for a while.

It is crucial that you spend the appropriate amount of time on the cleaning process and make sure you do it correctly, as a failure to do so can cause a poor powder coating formation.  This means it needs to be completely free of grease, wax and even fingerprints, which can leave behind some of the natural oils from the skin.

The best method of cleaning as you prepare your metal will depend primarily on the size of the parts to be coated. Smaller parts can be put into wash basins, but larger parts may need to be sprayed down in a booth. You can also go the extra mile and bake the part even before applying the powder. This is a process known as “outgassing,” and it is beneficial because it will completely remove traces of water or liquid from the metal. If you have a metal that is more porous, this is a beneficial process because it will have been more likely to absorb oils during manufacturing. This pre-baking will get the oil and water even out of those pores.

Only after extremely thorough cleaning and prep work should you go ahead with powder application.

To learn more about everything involved with how to prep metal for powder coating in Washington, we encourage you to contact our team of powder coating professionals at Powder Vision Inc. with any questions you have. We look forward to discussing your upcoming powder coating project, and are excited to begin working with you soon.