When it comes to powder coat finishes, know your choices
You can apply an outdoor paint (not recommended for long-term outdoor use), apply a powder coated paint finish, use a galvanizing process, or allow the metal to develop a natural rust patina. Each of these finishes come with their own benefits and drawbacks. For an element that is durable, displays a chic and modern aesthetic, will not stain surfaces and WILL CONTINUE TO LOOK LIKE NEW FOR DECADES (even in corrosive outdoor exposure), POWDER COATING is a superior option. Leading landscape architects agree, POWDER COATING also called POWDER COAT PAINT has quickly risen to the top in outdoor architecture finishes. Questions many consumers have include, is powder coat paint durable enough for outdoor applications? Are there different grades or types of powder coating? Is powder coated aluminum more durable than steel? In this blog post, we'll take a closer look at the benefits and differences of powder coated metal surfaces such aluminum, mild steel, carbon steel, or stainless steel and whether it can withstand harsh outdoor environments. Keep reading to learn more!
BENEFITS OF POWDER COATING
DURABLE, LASTING FINISH Powder coating offers a thick layer of protection against rust and corrosion that may last 25 years or more without reapplication or touch ups.
NOT ALL POWDER COATS ARE THE SAME Powder coat paint is not all the same and the term “powder coat” is a generic word for many different formulations that offer very different results and quality. There are different grades and many landscape architects prefer commercial grade aka architectural grade powder coat such as AAMA 2605 or exterior fluoropolymer powders. More on this below.
VISUAL AESTHETICS & DESIGN OPTIONS - The colors and texture options for powder coat finishing are numerous. There are standard colors, but any color on the RAL color system can be implemented as well as various textures.
SUSTAINABLE, HEALTHY Powder coat finishes are a better option for the environment because there are generally no VOC’s (volatile organic compounds) or dangerous heavy metals such as chrome emitted during the manufacturing process or thereafter and will meet or exceed safe and healthy manufacturing guidelines.
WHAT IS POWDER COATING?
At Yard Couture, we use a powder coating spray gun that propels electrostatically charged particles to the grounded substrate (i.e., fire pit, planter box) which attracts the paint particles and forms a powerful bond. Once the coating has been applied, the product will go into a high heat oven to cure, the result is a smooth, even finish with vivid color and texture that will retain its fresh and flawless appearance for decades.
A DURABLE, LASTING FINISH – What items are powder coated and what materials work best?
A variety of items can be powder coated. Experts often prefer powder coated metals such as carbon steel, stainless steel, or aluminum for architectural items that will be left in an exposed outdoor setting. Outdoor furniture, railings, fire pits, planters, landscape edging, privacy screens, and retaining walls, as well as other accessories are often powder coated. The powder coating process results in a thick, durable layer that will protect your metal from the elements and keep it looking new for years to come.
Applying a powder coat paint to carbon steel is cost effective but not as durable as stainless steel or marine-grade aluminum. At Yard Couture, we powder coat 5052 MARINE-GRADE ALUMNINUM or 304 STAINLESS STEEL for our fire pits, fire pit lids, planter boxes, and garden containers because these materials possess the best protection against damage by corrosion, impact, scratches, weathering, rust, and sun.
NOT ALL POWDER COATING IS THE SAME - DOES YOUR METAL AND POWDER COATING PASS ASTM TESTING?
ASTM International (formerly American Society for Testing and Materials) is an organization that was developed to create standards for steel fabrication and has since expanded to include a wide range of materials and products. As the United States began rapid development at the turn of the century, frequent breaks were happening in the rail system, bridges, buildings and more. The country saw an URGENT need to create STRICT STANDARDS FOR METAL WORK.
AAMA 2605 IS THE GOLD STANDARD for materials fabrication and is trusted and relied on by architects, builders, consumers, and manufacturers to SOURCE MATERIAL THEY TRUST AND RELY ON for safety and durability.
WHAT DOES ASTM TEST?
Experts understand that weaknesses in any of the following areas will inevitably compromise the structure of the product within time and cause breakdown which cannot be allowed in important structures such as bridges and tall buildings. Rigorous testing involves putting materials though the following abuse to see how it will endure.
Corrosion and Humidity resistance
Chemical and mechanical endurance
Susceptibility to dirt and mildew
Weathering and the ability to retain color and gloss over time
Ask whether your powder coat finish and the metal that is coated meets ASTM standards. Architectural-grade powder coating does cost more but offers more value and endurance. AAMA 2605 is a premium, architectural-grade powder coat finish and is offered at Yard Couture. Ask our knowledgeable staff about AAMA 2605 powder coat finishes for your fire pit, planter, or garden container that are sourced from the USA.
VISUAL AESTHETICS & DESIGN
At Yard Couture, our products are customizable to your design needs You choose the size, shape, color, finish and materials to best suit your project. We do have standard colors that are popular such as black, white, gray, bronze; however, you may choose any color on the RAL color system (a global color design system) https://www.ralcolor.com. You may also choose the paint’s sheen from matte or flat to high gloss or anywhere in between. With powder coat paint, your finish will not stain, bleed, and rub off as natural patinas do. For example, corten, weathered rust, or galvanized aluminum can be messy so consider your design space and how it will be used cautiously. Powder coat paint is clean and nearly maintenance-free, so it is always a win.
HEALTHY AND SUSTAINABLE FINISH
Because powder coat is not a solvent such as other paint applications, it emits nearly no VOC’s (volatile organic compounds) or toxic heavy metals in the environment during production or during the life of the product. Solvent paints and liquid PVDF paints and finishes bring a slew of environmental grievances to your project. There are better options such as high-performance powder coats which release almost zero solvents and VOCs to the air which is ideal for LEED projects. The environmental footprint of high-performance powder finishes is impressive.
MAINTENANCE AND CARE OF POWDER COAT PAINT FINISHES
While powder coat finishes are nearly maintenance-free, centerpiece items such as a fire pit or planter boxes in an extremely exposed area may consider a gentle yearly cleaning to remove dirt, minerals from hard-water, and/or salt followed by a thin layer of metal wax which can be gently wiped on with a soft cloth. The cleaning process is gentle and simple. This step isn't necessary but will keep the powder coating looking brand new and glossy for decades and again is only recommended once per year. Also, if a scratch or dent does happen to occur, we offer a touch up spray that will conceal the area. Over the course of years if cleaning isn’t completed some mineral deposits may appear but this does not cause corrosion or breakdown of the structure.
Call us today to reach a LIVE HUMAN to discuss your next landscaping project (385) 743-9273. Check out our selection of powder coated products at our website www.yardcouture.com or view recent projects at our Pinterest https://www.pinterest.com/yardcouture/ or Instagram page https://www.pinterest.com/yardcouture/