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Wet Spray Paint vs Powder Coating: Which Should You Choose?

When finishing a manufactured product, it’s important to not only consider utility and aesthetics, but longevity and durability.

Wet Spray Painting vs Powder Coating

Wet spray paint finishing is a popular, budget-friendly finishing method used on wood, plastics, metals, fibreglass, and more.

Alternatively, material bases like metal substrates often lend themselves to powder-coating alternatives. Both are excellent applications designed to prevent corrosion and rust while implementing a high-standard aesthetic finish.

In this post, we’ll discuss wet spray paint vs powder coating, and which may be better suited to your needs.

What is Wet Spray Painting?

Wet spray painting is the means by which liquid paint materials are sprayed, via a spray gun, onto a surface cleaned and ready for finishing.

Wet spray paint finishes are used in furniture, architectural applications, automobiles, and even in aerospace manufacturing. If you’re looking for a budget-friendly, highly reliable, and aesthetically customizable spray finish, wet spray painting is a stellar choice.

How Does Wet Spray Painting Work?

The first step is to work with a reliable wet spray service to ensure your paint characteristics are correct. First, your manufactured product must be clean and prepared to provide a perfect base for the paint finish, including types such as enamel or acrylic, colour, gloss level, as well as thickness.

The wet paint spray tool atomises the paint allowing for thin and even layers to form, allowing for a tight, durable finish that permits no moisture, rust, or corrosion to form. This process can be automated or hand-applied.

From there, several lays are carefully added to ensure the durability of the final finish, or if special characteristics, such as a product expected to be in high humidity, require extra protection.

What is Wet Spray Painting?

As evidenced by the options we’ve discussed, wet spray painting is a highly customisable process that allows for a wide array of colours and finishes.This also means services designed to make use of high-volume orders often pass their cost-optimised savings onto client businesses ordering a certain number of product finishes.

Wet spray painting applies a highly durable coat to your product, and remains suitable for different environments such as temperature-controlled rooms or outside exposure to the elements.

It’s no surprise, then, why thousands of businesses submit their products for wet spray paint finishes daily, and why it’s become an integrated part of the manufacturing process.

What Is Power Coating?

Powder coating finishes are somewhat different to wet paint alternatives. Instead, a dry powder material is used and then melted through consistent heating into a uniformly-applied film.

This powder will be constructed from resin, pigments for colour adjustment, and additives that help specify certain characteristics. 

Your powder will be applied using a spray gun with electrostatic functionalities, which charges particles and allows for a strong attachment to the coating surface. Unlike wet spray painting, a secondary part of this process is applied. Your product, most commonly metal, will be heated in an oven to melt that powder and ensure the resulting film is evenly, uniformly applied to the surface. This ensures a strong bond.

Powder coating is most often used for automotive manufacturing purposes, as well as industrial equipment or household appliances. As such, this is an intensive process designed to be as precise as possible and to ensure the most durable result.

The Benefits of Powder Coating

Powder coating finishes are highly popular and used on a daily basis by many manufacturing firms. 

One reason is that after cooling, the resulting finish offered remains resistant to abrasion and friction, while also retaining its visual appeal over a long time. This includes a lack of chipping and fading, which is why many cars retain the condition of their paintwork for such a long amount of time, for example.

While it’s mostly used for metal-based applications, the powder can be custom-fitted to work with specific woods and plastics, provided they’re resistant to heating and the right primer is used.

Powder coating is also considered to be more environmentally friendly than its alternatives because the powder releases less volatile compounds or toxins into the air when used. However, both methods require the correct industrial finishing environment, complete with necessary ventilation.

Wet Spray Paint vs Powder Coating - Which Is Better?

Consider the following table for a comparison of both methods:

Features Wet Spray Paint Powder Coating
  • Remains highly cost-effective, especially at scale.
  • This also means it can be a little more expensive for smaller production runs.
  • Environmental compliance measures may add to higher costs.
  • Can be cost-effective for smaller projects thanks to higher degrees of customisability.
  • Won’t be as cost-efficient for larger projects.
  • Requires a larger investment in application infrastructure, as such, this is mostly outsourced to companies far and wide.
  • Less efficient due to longer curing times, and the likelihood of over-spraying paint.
  • Drying time can slow down production.
  • This process can be automated to a degree but is mostly applied manually for optimal application.
  • Quick curing times and accurate powder coating offer high efficiency.
  • Layers can be applied more quickly.
  • Fully automated processes save time.
  • Cheap to apply, but more susceptible to chipping or flaking, and fading over time - can also be affected by UV light.
  • Many paint styles and colours are available.
  • Durable, chip and abrasion resistant.
  • Suitable for a wide array of weather conditions.
  • Is generally applied to a less diverse set of materials due to the curing requirements.
  • Expels VOCs into the atmosphere.
  • May contain toxins.
  • Requires heavy ventilation during the manufacturing process.
  • Emits fewer VOCs.
  • Is easy to dispose of and transport powder.

Contact Wrekin Sheetmetal for all product finishing needs!

We are highly experienced in all manner of manufacturing finishes and routinely deliver on a range of client briefs. Through this, we secure the longevity of all manner of manufactured products, using the best finishes for durability, visual appeal, and client need. We are more than capable of guiding new businesses through their manufacturing processes or helping returning clients look for the most cost-effective finishing solutions.

Operating from Telford, West Midlands, we are near the most important transport links making it easier for your goods to be delivered to you. Contact our friendly team to find out more by calling 01952 210 300.

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