Powder coating is somewhat similar to spray painting, in that it’s a finishing process for applying a protective layer of colour onto a surface. But unlike traditional painting, powder coating uses a dry, free-flowing powder instead of liquid paint.
Think of powder coating as painting but with dry paint.
That may seem radical, but powder coating is not exactly a new concept. In fact, powder coating has been around since the 1950s and is now common practice for decorating and protecting metal-alloy wheels.
How Does Powder Coating Work?
Powder coating works on just about any surface. But there are different approaches to powder coating metal and non-metal surfaces.
Electrostatic deposition (ESD) is the most common method of powder coating car wheels and other metallic items. In ESD, the powder gun and surface are charged with opposing electric charges – one positive and the other negative.
Once the powder is spayed, it electrically bonds with the surface through electrostatic attraction.
The surface is then left to cure under UV light or heat for some time. After curing, the result is an even, durable, smooth, and protective colour-rich skin.
5 Advantages of Powder Coating Your Wheels
Powder coating alloy wheels may seem overengineered and may be a bit excessive. So, why should you do it?
Here are five compelling reasons to opt for powder coating rather than conventional wheel paint jobs.
1. Hard-Wearing Protection
The road is a brutal environment for vehicles, especially the wheels, which are constantly battered by weather elements, splash water, mud, dust, and pebbles. Powder coating gives the rims a fighting chance in unforgiving conditions.
There’s plenty of evidence proving that powder coating is more resistant to corrosion, chipping and flacking than ordinary wet paint. The curing process bakes the coating material onto the surface to form a thick, hard-wearing, protective finish over the rim.
2. Saves You Money
Powder coating generally costs more than regular painting. For instance, powder coating alloy wheels will set you back anywhere between $150 and $200 per wheel, depending on the detailing, colour, and initial preparations. On the other hand, standard painting rarely goes beyond $100 per wheel.
These figures don’t really make a case for powder coating until you look at it from a long-term perspective.
Powder coating lasts up to 3 times longer than ordinary paint under the same conditions. That means your powder-coated wheels can go up to 20 years without needing a recoat.
So, you actually save money by not having to pop into the garage every few years to have the wheels re-touched.
3. Thorough, Consistent Coating
Powder coating can be applied onto several different rim types, including alloys, aluminium, chrome, steel, and even some non-metal parts. The ESD process ensures that the entire wheel gets a generous and uniform coating in a single spray.
Wet paint often leaves inconsistencies and colour imbalances after drying on areas where the surface texture varies – that doesn’t happen with powder coating.
4. Better for the Environment
The solvent used in most wet paints contains volatile organic compounds (VOC) that easily get released to the surroundings when applied. These emissions are not only health hazards but also air and atmospheric pollutants.
Powder coating contains none of these harmful chemicals. Besides, the dry coating process is so efficient that none of the powder goes to waste. Plus, any paint material that misses the target surface is collected and recycled.
5. Curing Takes Less Time
Wet-painted wheels usually take several hours to dry and cure, while the whole powder coating process takes only a few minutes, from coating to curing. You can have your wheels ready in less than 10 minutes.