Powder coated finishes on metal products are very popular because they’re durable and easy to clean, as well as looking attractive. Another benefit is that in most cases they need very little maintenance. That said, some applications receive more wear and tear more than others and will as a result show signs of aging faster. For example, a handrail on a busy staircase is likely to attract grime, body oils, and dirt, a hundred or more times a day.
So, what is powder coating made of?
In essence, powder coating is made from polymers similar to most plastics. The prime ingredient is an epoxy resin which is added to protect the metal from corrosion. When it’s mixed with other chemicals or heated it liquifies and flows to cover the surface of the object with a flexible but tough barrier. Pigments of colour are also added to a powder coat mix to create a beautiful glossy finish.
Powder coating used outdoors typically lasts between 5 to 10 years although this depends on its environment as well as a frequent program of maintenance. Proper cleaning will greatly extend the life of powder coating.
Why does powder coating weather?
This is usually the result of several factors combining, including:
Biological actions such as marine fouling and mildew
Absorption of gas, moisture, chemicals etc.
External abrasions and impacts
The local environment is what mostly determines how quickly the powder coating will deteriorate. Large city or industrial areas often suffer from pollutants carried in the air whereas coastal areas may suffer from bird droppings and marine corrosion. Some colours also fade faster than others and these include blue and red.
So, what can I do to protect my powder coated surfaces?
There are basically just two principles to adhere to help your powder coated finish to stay in good condition:
Clean it on a regular basis – every 2 to 3 months
Stick to good old soap and water which is gentle and mild
Regular cleaning is important to remove dirt which may contain harmful chemicals that could cause damage to your powder coated surfaces. Usually, this is all that’s required to keep your powder coated surfaces looking attractive, but sometimes those items which receive heavy wear and tear may in time not come up new and shiny looking. While it may be tempting to try cleaning them with stronger cleaners, this is likely to result in more damage, so it’s best to refrain from doing so.