Whether you want to powder coat tools, equipment, vehicles or other objects, there are a few steps that need to be completed before you can get a smooth, durable finish. Powder coating sprays a finish onto a metal object, which is baked until it’s hard. However, the metal surface has to be prepared properly, and anything you don’t want powder coated has to be removed. Here’s our approach to “powder coating 101” at our Washington shop.
Your surface needs to be thoroughly cleaned before it can accept a powder coating. Take the time to scrub down whatever you’d like to powder coat. Make sure to remove dirt, oil, grease and debris that has accumulated. You’ll need a smooth surface so the coating can properly adhere to the metal.
Some people choose to pressure wash their metal objects at this time. Just make sure they dry thoroughly to prevent rust and other issues.
If you need to remove rust or paint, don’t worry—that happens in the next step. Your cleaning goal should be that it passes the white glove test. Don’t worry if it still has some lingering rust or paint, since they take stronger measures to remove.
Next, you’ll need to strip your metal of any paint or rust. This not only removes harmful substances like rust, but it further creates a smooth surface for the powder coating. If your metal is pitted, still painted or has traces of rust, it will need to be sandblasted. This involved directing highly pressurized sand at the object. Since sand is a fine abrasive, sandblasting works much the same way as sandpaper does: the grit helps remove anything on the metal, revealing a smooth surface underneath.
After you’re done sandblasting, there will probably be a lot of dust, rust and paint bits left on the metal. This can be blown away by an air compressor.
Removing or masking the parts you don’t want coated
Next, you’ll need to remove any parts you don’t want coated, like rubber gaskets and valves. If the part isn’t detachable, you’ll need to mask it off so the powder coating doesn’t cover it. When you take your object to a professional powder coating facility, however, the team there can help you strip and mask the parts you don’t need to coat—just make sure you let them know what should be coated and what needs to stay clean.
At this point, unless your powder coating provider says otherwise, your object should be ready to be powder coated.
Remember that preparation is the key to getting great powder coating results. Powder coating is only as smooth and uniform as the surface underneath. If you take a dirty, rusted metal piece into a professional shop, expect that you may be turned down, or charged extra for them to perform the cleaning and stripping services themselves.
Want to learn more about the steps to take before powder coating in Washington? Reach out to Powder Vision Inc. today to arrange a consultation.