Behind The Scenes: Top 5 Questions About Powder Coating Answered.
As a powder coater, we get asked a lot of questions about powder coating like -can you powder coat wheel with tires on? Nothing is too obscure or off limits. The more our followers know the better informed they are to make the best choices. In this post, we’ve summed up the top 5 burning questions you may have right now.
1. Can you powder coat the rubber part of a wheel? For the most part, high oven temperatures, exceeding 300+ degrees are the main reason why it’s not a good idea to powder coat tires or parts that have rubber and plastic left on them. Although there are low temp setting powders and ovens available for coating they are the exception, not the rule. That said you should check with your powder coater to see if they offer in-house services where they can remove or replace your tires and parts like stems while getting the rims restored. Many offer same day or quick turn around.
2. Can you clear coat over powder coat? You can apply a liquid acrylic, resin or lacquer based finish to any newly powder coated surface. Surface prep is minimal and it is best to not sand the finish prior but to go right over the existing finish as long as it is dust free. But did you know that powders also come in various clears and wet finishes? They are superior durability and extremely low maintenance. Consider that when you are deciding what to do.
3. Can you powder coat over paint? You can sometimes, but don’t expect great results. Just as heat makes powder flash and melds to metal the opposite effect can happen with common household liquid paints when exposed to high temps over 200 degrees. Sandblasting is the only solution to fully prepping a surface before powder coating because not only does it raise the surface to for good adherence but it completely removes the paint and debris that may liquify while curing in the oven.
4. How do I determine if it’s powder coated or painted? Powder coating is resistant to acetone. The easiest way to determine if the surface has been powder coated is to do a simple chemical stress test using acetone. First, find an area that is not highly visible. Then using a q-tip or cotton cloth wet the surface with acetone and gently rub the surface. If matter build-up appears on the applicator surface that is anything but grime then it is painted. You may also see distortion in the object’s surface finish as well where you tested. So be careful where you test! If it is powder coated it will not be affected
5. Paint vs Powder Coating. What’s the fundamental difference? The difference between paint and powder coating is not obvious at first. Powder paints are dry and bond to metal during the heating process called curing. Liquid paints cure too and are visibly viscous for ease of use on general porous and preferably flat surfaces but do not bond. What makes powder paints extremely ideal for metal is that by applying them through the electrolysis process the adherence and coverage ratios can be much higher than traditional painting. No drips + low surface imperfections = the perfect finish. However, the best advantage to powder coating is not what you see but what you don’t see. Durability over time! Powder coating withstands cracking, fading, peeling, chipping and is chemical resistant. It doesn’t need maintenance, regular upkeep or re-coating over time.
For more information on how long it takes to get your rims powder coated read this blog post.
Maui Powder Works is committed to sharing their experience in metal coatings, painting, and restoration so customers can navigate the process of powder coating and make the best choices for getting their projects done. RossKote regularly contributes helpful videos on his blog and YouTube channel.
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