Paint Vs. Powder Coating?

Why we recommend painting outdoor furniture vs. other refinishing processes

We offer both conventional paint and powder coat alternatives when refinishing. When you choose us, the choice of paint vs. powder coating is strictly up to you. Many customers logically ask, "Which is best?" Here are the reasons why we recommend painting for outdoor furniture and accessories.

We believe that our process for refinishing outdoor furniture is optimized. We constantly strive to provide the best for our customers, looking for that optimal combination of durability, appearance, and of course, value. Over the years, we have experimented with different corrosion protection alternatives, and various types of finishes. Each of these choices involve tradeoffs. We know unequivocally there is no ultimate process when it comes to refinishing furniture. We believe that our process comes close.

Without good surface preparation, no refinishing process will last! If you have ever tried to paint anything around your house (including the house) you already know that painting before you get the walls clean leads to disappointment. There is absolutely no way to get a good-looking, durable finish on anything without the right surface preparation. Surface prep on outdoor furniture accomplishes two things. First, done correctly, it gets the surface completely free of contaminants such as oils, dirt and loose paint. The second thing that surface prep accomplishes is to actually INCREASE the surface area to be painted. We use sandblasting or hand sanding to 'rough up' the surface. On the microscopic level, this creates mountains and valleys on the surface, which increases the adhesion of any subsequent coatings. No matter what type of coating comes next, if the surface isn't clean and rough, it will not last. Great surface prep is key to the durability of our process.

For furniture made of ferrous materials, we typically apply corrosion protection, either dip or spray, depending on the individual furniture. Depending on the finish color, we next apply an epoxy primer to the furniture. This provides an extra layer that seals out rust. Many new furniture manufacturers and refinishers skip this step, and go from corrosion dip straight to powder coat, if they dip at all. This saves money for the manufacturer.

Next is the all important finish coat. We recommend paint as the best alternative. Below are the key factors we consider.

 

Decision Matrix - Powder Coating or Painting? Which is better?

 

Summary

Since the early 1980's when powder coating systems came on the scene, the industry has debated the merits of paint vs. powder coating. Each approach has a niche. As you can see, powder coating offers a number of key advantages for the producer, which is likely the reason that many shops propose it as 'best.' It's really best for them!

We recommend painting your furniture for the same reason that new cars still use underlying corrosion protection combined with a paint system, instead of powder coating:

1. Outdoor furniture needs to flex (when you sit down, for example), and is subject to impacts (dropping a pot on a table top). Our experience shows that a painted surface tends to be more flexible, typically lasting longer and having better chip resistance than powder coating. Powder coating holds up best on very rigid, flat surfaces. Powder coating tends to be a harder, more brittle finish than paint. This characteristic is benificial in some applications, but in our opinion not the best choice for furniture.

2. Paint offers a better variety of color choices, better gloss characteristics, and better resistance to ultraviolet rays from the sun.

3. Painted surfaces are easier for you to touch up in the event you do get a scratch later.