FAQs and Myths About Powdercoating

Frequently Asked Questions

 

Question: I just need some parts sand blasted.  Is that something Seattle Powder Coat can do even if I don’t want my parts powder coated?

Answer:  Yes! See our Proper Pretreatment page for more information about sandblasting.

Question:  Do you do metal plating or anodizing?

Answer:  No we do not. We only Powder Coat.

Question: Do you have minimum charge?

Answer:  Each project is unique to itself and while certain items have standard prices, many projects depend on a variety of factors to determine the price.

That said, a single paper clip will probably cost the same to coat as a single coat hanger. The reality is that as your parts get smaller you are not paying for the powder so much as you are paying for the handling, set up, and overhead.

Question: What's the best way to get a quote for my project/job?

Answer:  Please email us a photo of your parts with dimensions listed in the body of the email as well as type of metal (i.e. steel or aluminum etc) thickness of metal and color request. We will get back to you usually within a day or two.

For radiator pricing please send us a photo and include the height of the radiator from the ground to the top. The depth of the fin as well as how many fins there are.

Question:  What is your general turnaround time?

Answer:  Generally our turnaround time is a 2 weeks give or take a few days. Turnaround times are subject to change depending on our current work load which fluctuates from week to week.

Question:  Can you guys expedite my project?

Answer:  In certain situations we can expedite jobs for an additional fee. Usually $100 or 20% whichever is more. It is up to us and our current schedule to decide if we are able to meet your needs but we always do the best we can.

Things we DO NOT rush include bikes, radiators, rims, and patio furniture. We have a high quality expectation for ourselves that we are not willing to compromise on.

Question:  Do you powder coat bike frames?

Answer:  Yes! Bike frames are priced based on their material and the current coating. The difference being whether we have to chemically strip the frame or not. Bring the bike completely disassembled with the grease wiped from the tubes. We will do all the masking required. Please remove the head badge if you would like to preserve it. We do not expedite bikes.

Steel frames or bare aluminum frames start at $175 in a single stocked color.

Aluminum frames or steel frames that are currently powder coated start at $215 in a single stocked color.

Question:  Can you guys put decals on my bike frame and then clear coat it?

Answer:  Sorry but most decals would not like going in an oven and would shrivel up ruining the coating. We are not licensed to wet paint so we cannot powder coat over decals thus, cannot clear coat over decals.

Question:  Do you guys powder coat rims?

Answer:  Yes we do! Rim’s are priced based on their size. Our process is to chemically strip, sandblast, DA sand minor curb rash, and finally double coat the in stock color of your choice. This process takes around 2 weeks. We do not expedite rims.

Pricing starts at $340 for a set of four rims 18” or less in a single stocked color.

Pricing starts at $420 for a set of four rims 19”-20” in a single stocked color.

Question:  Can you coat just the spokes of my alloy car wheel?

Answer:  In most cases, but it is very expensive and generally cost prohibitive.  To properly coat just the spokes (or centers) of car wheels, or to apply a 2-coat finish, we need to do a lot of masking.  Wheel manufacturers get around this by using custom made 1-piece masks that fit their wheels exactly, or by coating the entire wheel and then machining the powder off the rims in a big lathe.  Since we will only be coating 4-5 of your wheels, those techniques are not economical and we are left with manual masking.  It can take hours to mask each wheel, which in most cases is cost prohibitive.  Often times you are money ahead to buy new wheels.  We do coat a lot of sets of wheels, several a week, typically coating the entire wheels in a single color.

Question:  Can you powder coat my aftermarket chromed wheels to repair the flaking, peeling, corroded chrome?

Answer:  It is very difficult to get chrome to last on aluminum wheels, and winter road salts make the problems worse.  Unfortunately, it is usually impossible to abrasive blast the failed chrome off without damaging the aluminum itself.  Because of that, we usually recommend people take their chrome wheels to a chrome plater to have the chrome and nickel chemicallly removed before they come to us for powder coating.

Question:  Can you powder coat the lug nuts on my car?

Answer:  Yes, but they may not fit in your lug nut socket any more.  To get an effective corrosion protection on steel lug nuts, the powder needs to go on with a dry film thickness of between .003" and .006".  That means the overall size of your lug nut may increase as much as .012", which may not seem much but which is more than the clearance between the nut and some sockets.  We generally recommend people look to see if they can buy lug nuts in the color they desire, as those manufactured to be coated are made undersize to allow for the thickness of the coating.

Question: Do you powder coat brake calipers?

Answer:  Yes we do. They need to be completely disassembled, cleaned and flushed. You should also plan to completely rebuild them with new parts after coating.

Question: Can I drop my car off and leave it there to get my rims/calipers etc done?

Answer:  Sorry no, we are just a finishing shop and do not have the means to remove your parts, or the space to store your vehicle while refinishing your parts.

Question:  Can you powder coat a car body?

Answer:  Yes, but it is pretty rare.  Because powder coat cures in a high temperature oven and non-metals are typically not coated, car bodies need to be stripped of all non-metal components.  Any existing coatings also need to be stripped, including the removal of any lead or plastic (Bondo) fillers.  It is a rare craftsman who can smooth sheet metal well enough for top coating without lead or plastic fillers.  Finally, because powder coat is not easily spot-repaired/touched up, door dings and fender benders in powder coated car bodies usually have to be repaired with wet paint and it may be difficult to blend the finishes to completely hide the repair.

Question: Can you buff out powder coat?

Answer:  Yes, but it is also pretty rare.  If you have something coated with flat or semi-gloss powder and decide you’d prefer it glossy, your best option would be to have a high gloss clear powder coat applied.  “High gloss” powder coats are very glossy (with manufacturer gloss factors of 95% +/-5%) but some formulations or incorrect application can have a slight orange peel appearance.  There are cases where people use 800-3000-grit sand paper followed by light buffing on powder coat with varying effects, but the use of buffing compound can make it impossible to re-coat without complete (expensive) stripping.  Most people are delighted with the gloss and look of powder as-coated and would never consider further buffing.

Question: Do you powder coat patio furniture?

Answer:  Yes!  BUT patio furniture is not always worth refinishing.  So, if you think you may want to move forward with this please send us some photos!

Patio Furniture is usually but not always possible to re-coat, and generally always a bit complicated and a similar cost to buying new consumer grade furniture.  To give you an idea, the cost to do one chair is often either $145-$195; tables are generally $295-$595, so it can add up.

Furthermore, you need to deliver the pieces to us and leave them for more or less than two weeks (often times more with sets of furniture).  Our process includes heating to 400F, so any upholstery, slings, plastic caps/feet/bushings/bumpers, etc need to be removed by you prior to dropping off.  Tables often times disassemble legs from the top and you'd want to do that too.  Items with moving parts like swivel bearings or wheels may not be possible to coat, and those details are pretty common on pieces made in the last 20 years or so.

Finally, factory powder coated pieces can be more expensive or even impossible to re-coat successfully, so we like people to send photos of their pieces to us prior to bringing them in to give us a chance to comment before they go to the work of taking them apart.

Question: Do you powder coat…countertops, sinks, stove tops, bathtubs, and plumbing fixtures?

Answer:  Sometimes. This is done infrequently for customers looking purely for a cosmetic finish, but not recommended due to the hardness, chemical resistance, and/or heat resistance not considered an equivalent alternative to the metal plating or porcelain enamel used by the original manufacturers.

Question: Do you powder coat radiators?

Answer:  Yes!  For radiator pricing please send us a photo and include the height of the radiator from the ground to the top. The depth of the fin as well as how many fins there are.

Question: Do you recommend clear coating over bare steel?

Answer:  No. Most people are looking to preserve and stop the current rust spots and mill scale that comes with bare steel. We would have to sandblast the surface prior to coating to ensure the best powder adhesion. Sand blasting leaves the metal a dull gray color so with the clear coat you are essentially just seeing gray. In which case you might as well choose a gray. We have several colors that give you the clear coated bare steel look that we would be more than happy to show you!

Another snag is that clear coats are not UV stable, so we wouldn’t recommend them for any exterior use at all.

Question:  Do you powder coat candy colors or illusion colors?

Answer:  We do, BUT, there are certain coating limitations that come with candy/illusion colors.  Not only are they significantly more expensive due to being a two part process but they have a history of attracting particulates which can be seen through the coating. Additionally it is very easy to end up with visibly thick edges due to the nature of the tinted clear powder which most customers do not like.

Question:  Can you put a two-color coating on my part, or add artwork like flames or pinstripes?

Answer:  In some cases we do coat more than one color, but we don’t do artwork like flames or pinstripes.  One limitation is masking, which must be done to any area that is not to receive the powder coat.  High temperature masking materials are not flexible enough to bend around complex designs, and instead must be cut like a stencil.  This is time consuming and usually prohibitively expensive.  Another factor is the thickness of the powder coat, which causes distinct edges at the borders between one color coat and a second color coat.  Clear coats can be applied to smooth these borders, but the dry film thickness of the three coats must be maintained within the powder manufacturer’s specifications to maximize coating performance.

Question:  Are there high temperature powders that you can use to coat my BBQ or exhaust manifolds?

Answer: Yes, these are specialty high temp powders that Seattle Powder Coat can help you with.

Question:  Do you have a coating that is better for marine environments?

Answer:  Yes!  There are many projects that get a significant amount of sea/salt water spray that would do best with a thermosetting powder called thermoplastic. We will recommend this powder on a case by case basis.

Myths About Powdercoating

 

Myth:  Powder coat is a functional coating like galvanizing and or anodizing and is only available in black and a few other industrial colors.

Fact:  Powder coat can be either functional or decorative in emphasis.  The majority of modern powder coats are classified as decorative finishes, formulated to maximize color, gloss, and texture.  Powder coats formulated for maximum corrosion resistance, as might be required for outdoor applications in the marine and architectural industries, are classified as functional finishes.

Myth: Powder coat is primarily a corrosion barrier coating, and all powder coatings are excellent corrosion barrier coatings.

Fact: Some powder coats are excellent corrosion barrier coatings, and some are not.  Powder coats classified as decorative finishes, while smooth and glossy to the naked eye, can be porous on a microscopic scale and therefore not the best corrosion barrier coating.  In outdoor applications requiring a decorative finish, excellent corrosion resistance can be achieved by using a two coat primer-top coat finish, or even a three coat primer-top coat-clear coat finish.  The ultimate in corrosion barrier coatings are powder coats classified as functional finishes, as they do not have the porosity inherent in decorative finishes.

Myth:  Powder coating is a commodity service and all powder coat shops pretty much do the same thing.

Fact: It is important to use a powder coat shop that you have confidence in. The performance of powder coat is equally a function of the coating process and the metal pretreatment prior to coating.  Pretreatment may include washing, degreasing, paint stripping, abrasive blasting, phosphate coating, rinsing, and high temperature out gassing.  The coating process requires stringent controls on handling, masking, cleanliness, compressed air quality, and oven operation.  If corners are cut it is possible to coat a part that will initially look beautiful but with a finish that will chip or rub off, fade, or have no corrosion resistance.

Myth:  You can buy a hobbyist powder coat kit for under $100 and get the same results as a professional powder coat shop.

Fact:  You can buy a hobbyist powder coat kit for under $100, and you may be able to get satisfactory results.  It all depends on what coating you are putting on, what results you are expecting, what kind of pretreatment you can do, and what size and type of oven you have.   Typical non-convection kitchen ovens heat radiantly from the bottom, which can scorch powder on one side of your part while the other side is undercured.  You can’t expect the same process control and uniformity of finish as a professional shop with a $5k powder gun and $80k oven, but you can have a lot of fun.