Powder Coating or Paint – Which is Best?

powder coating or paint

Sometimes bare metal isn’t the finish that you want in your project. If you have decided that you need a finished surface then ultimately your choice boils down to powder coating or paint. Both finishes have their advantages and disadvantages and we’ll be telling you about the differences so you can make an informed decision as to which is best for your needs.


One of the main reasons for choosing a finish is to make your product look unique – totally different from everything else that’s out there. Customised colours can match your décor or be used to make a bold statement. Powder coating is preferable to paint because there is no dripping and it covers more evenly.

Paint often needs to be sanded in between coats to get a smooth surface whereas powder coating is applied quickly and easily using a heating and electrostatic process. Once it has been applied, the finish is double the thickness of paint, making for additional durability.

Paint and powder coating both have a wide range of colours to choose from but it’s easier to experiment with patterns and textures using powder paint, plus you can create custom colours for a unique result.

Powder coating or paint – Durability

We’ve already mentioned that powder coating is twice as thick as paint. It’s a great choice for applications where moving parts are involved since the coating is more flexible than paint. This means that there is less risk of damage due to vibration and movement.

Paint is more likely to flake or chip, so it’s not the best choice for areas of high traffic or for outdoors. Powder coating will add longevity to your metal, so you can enjoy it for many years to come.

Environmental benefits

Everyone has smelled the pungent aroma of paint drying and this is caused by large amounts of VOCs or volatile organic compounds. These can have a negative effect on the environment and can also be hazardous to humans. Powder coating does not contain any solvents which means they can’t release VOCs into the atmosphere.

In addition, there is less need for high power fans which not only cuts down on power coats but also the cost of heating and cooling – which can be quite substantial as far as paint finishes are concerned.


Naturally, when considering powder coating or paint cost needs to come into the equation. A paint finish takes longer, and more paint is usually required to achieve the look that you’re after. Conversely, powder coating can be exactly measured, thus avoiding any waste. An electrostatic charge holds the paint in place on the metal and the cost of the materials is considerably lower than paint.


It’s also important to consider the long-term maintenance of the finish you are considering. No-one wants to spend any more time than necessary cleaning. Powder coating can be quickly wiped down with soapy water and a cloth whereas paint often requires some sort of chemical solvent. Also, should any damage occur, the area will have to be repainted. Powder coating is easier to clean and more resistant to damage, making it the ideal choice for almost any application.

Power coating sounds great but there must be some negatives, surely?

While powder coating is an extremely popular finish, there are some instances where paint would be a better choice.

  • For thin metals where a powder coating would be too heavy for it to bear or it could affect its performance.
  • If you only need a few pieces finishing, then there may not be much difference in the cost and on occasions, paint may be a cheaper option.
  • Paint is a better choice for those people who want a smooth finish rather than the orange-peel type finish which powder coating produces.
  • Not all metals can be heating to allow for powder coating, so paint would have to be used.

At Metro Steel, we are your one-stop-shop for steel fabrication and finishing needs. If you’d like to know more about powder coating or paint finishing options then please get in touch with our experts on 07 3204 1000.


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