Can Powder Coating Be Removed?

Powder coating is well known for both its durability and adhesion. It is commonly used for construction equipment, offshore platforms, automotive parts, and more. However, when it comes to powder coating removal, you may be wondering how you can remove it since it can pose a huge challenge.

Removing Powder Coating

There are three common ways to remove powder coating:

  • Chemical Stripping
  • Burn-off in oven
  • Media Blasting

Chemical Stripping

Chemical stripping methods can have a few different names. Sometimes you may hear them referred to as solvents or caustic. They cause the powder coating to soften, dissolve, or swell. This will result in the coating having to be washed off, or it will fall off on its own. Chemical stripping is a great option to get rid of powder coating evenly and completely. It is also an inexpensive option that you can purchase at your local hardware store. It is best suited for an occasional or small project.

There are also some minor disadvantages when using chemical stripping. The toxic chemicals can pose a hazard to work with since they can cause burns to your skin and eyes when using them. It is important that you wear personal protective equipment when handling chemical stripping.

Burn-Off in Oven

You can also burn off the powder coating using thermal removal methods that use extremely high temperatures. This causes the powder coating to turn to ash, which must then be washed off. This method is also known as bake-off, fluidized bed, or burn-off. It is quite a common method since it is one of the quickest ways to get rid of powder coating. You won’t have to worry about the same hazards that come with chemical stripping when using this method.

However, you should know that this method requires a lot of power, which can be extremely expensive. Warming your house is nothing compared to using these big ovens which can maintain temperatures up to 1200 degrees Fahrenheit.

Media Blasting

This method is also called abrasive blasting and includes both dustless and traditional sandblasting. It uses media propelled at high speeds towards the surface to get rid of the powder coating. Dry blasting should be done in a blast room, whereas dustless blasting requires no containment.

Traditional sandblasting can take a long time for the powder coating to be completely removed, as this is a slower process. This is one of the biggest reasons many people don’t like this method. Dustless blasting uses water to increase the energy and mass that the machine is putting out, resulting in a faster process than dry blasting. Furthermore, the water cools down the powder coat causing it to turn brittle, which allows it to flake off instead of turning gooey like it would from dry blasting.

There are several ways you can remove the powder coating. Although the preferred method of choice is dustless blasting, you may find that another method is more suitable for the type of project you have.