Can You Paint Over Powder Coating? (Find Out Now!)

Can You Paint Over Powder Coating

When it comes to matters of home improvement and automotive care, few things are as remarkably enjoyable as a nice, smooth coat of powder paint. Powder coating is a polymer-based type of paint that is applied with a sprayer and then “baked” on. When done right, it is smooth, ultra-protective, and durable as can be. That’s why it’s used on cars. But, how do you paint over it…and can you even do that?

It is possible to paint over powder coating, but it is not easy. You will need to sand down the existing coating using light-grade sandpaper in order to properly paint over it. Prior to painting over the coating, wipe the area down with a rag dipped in solvent cleaner. 

Painting over powder coating isn’t something most people should try on their own. After all, there is a reason why most people go to a car collision specialist to get their powder coatings fixed. If you want to try to take this project on your own, here’s what you need to know…

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What Is Powder Coating Used For?

While it is not unheard of to see powder coating inside the house, the most common uses involve automotive repair. Powder coatings are what many cars have, not to mention many car rims. Inside the home, powder coats are most commonly seen on specialty lacquer furniture items that are meant to be ultra-high gloss.

If you aren’t sure whether or not your item was powder coated, take a look at other powder-coated items to see if they have a similar texture. If they do, then you might have a powder-coated item.

Can Paint Stick To Powder Coating?

Not really—at least, not without proper preparation. Most paints will not be able to stick to the powder coat without smearing or sliding off. To make your paint stick and look halfway decent, you will need to prepare your item for the paint. Besides, it’ll make your paint last longer. Let’s talk more about this.

What Paint Can You Use Over Powder Coating?

Technically,  you can use any paint as long as you’re willing to prep and care for the surface properly. However, most people will notice scuff marks and other issues if you try to use anything other than proper powder coating again. For the sake of this article, we’re going to move forward with the idea that you’re working with another powder coating.

If you don’t want to use powder coating, we suggest using epoxy or enamel painting. Both can adhere well to the area and have a similar priming process. They’re also great for painting on metal.

What Will You Need In Order To Powder Paint Over Powder Coating?

You will need to have specialty supplies if you want to add a new coat of powder paint, honestly. Powder coating does not work with paint rollers or brushes. It needs a specialty sprayer and will also require the use of an oven. You can’t just leave this stuff up to dry and hope the powder will cure.

Another thing to take into account is protective gear and a safe painting environment. Both are necessary here.

Can You Always Do Powder Coating At Home?

Truth be told, you can’t. There’s a reason why people get powder coating done at a mechanic shop or a specialty shop. In order for powder coating to set, it needs to be baked at a high temperature—think “oven” high. More specifically, the parts need to be baked at 300 to 500 degrees Fahrenheit in order for the powder to set.

This means that most small items, such as a shelf or a metal doodad, will be doable at home. However, you probably won’t be able to bake an entire cabinet in your home’s oven. Moreover, you shouldn’t expect to do powder coating for your walls. It’s just not feasible, even if it would look amazing.

How To Paint Over An Old Layer Of Powder Coating

Painting over an old layer of powder coating will mean that you have to pay attention to the instructions on the paint you want to use. In this tutorial, we’re going to try to give instructions for both standard paint and powder coating.

  1. Start by cleaning the area. Wipe it down with a wet cloth, getting rid of any dust or grit. It’s a lot like starting off a process where you remove paint from plastic.
  2. Grab a light-grade piece of sandpaper and start sanding down the powder coating. You can also use a sandblaster for this, if the area you’re painting is big enough. When you’re sanding the area down, it’s important to remember that you don’t want to sand through the powder coating or remove it completely. You just want to give it a rougher texture.
  3. Take time to double-check to see if you missed any corners. Those little crannies become a nightmare if you don’t sand them down. Don’t skip out here.
  4. Get a can of condensed air and spray all the powder shavings off the item you’re painting. You cannot start painting the area if any dust remains on it. This will wreck the powder coating and also make your surface get uneven. Wipe the area down with denatured alcohol if you are powder coating.
  5. Once the area is clean, prep the area for your first layer of paint. If you’re using regular paint, you will need to add a primer first. If you are powder coating, you will need to preheat your item in the oven (around 400 degrees) and then take the item out. Wipe the item down with alcohol again.
  6. Apply the first coat of paint. If you’re using enamel or epoxy, you can apply it with a brush using the instructions on the can. Give your paint several hours to dry If you are working with powder coating, go to a well-ventilated area and put on protective gear. Spray on the powder using a sprayer (8 inches away from the item, at 10 to 15 psi), then transfer it to the oven. Bake the powder on at 400 degrees, for at least 15 minutes.
  7. Apply a second coat of paint. Repeat step six one more time. Both enamel and powder coating both require at least two coats before you get an even, elegant finish.
  8. If you are using standard enamel or epoxy, add a topcoat. This isn’t always necessary, but it definitely helps keep the look of your item sleek.

How Much Does Professional Powder Coating Cost?

If you want to powder coat something, be prepared to shell out some serious coin. This is the most labor-intensive way to add pigment to an item, not to mention a method that requires special equipment. DIY kits for smaller objects can cost between $100 to $200. Professional powder coating costs far more; often in the range of $400 to $600 for small objects. 

Large objects, such as car doors or specialty equipment, can cost between $300 to $800 or more, depending on the powder in question. There are other cheaper methods to get a nice glossy finish to your stuff. If you need to save money, then getting powder coating done is not on the books for you.

Though it’s not the most affordable paint method, the truth is that you will find a lot of value in powder coating. This is one paint type that just doesn’t scratch.

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Related Questions

How long does powder coating last?

Powder coating is the most long-lasting of all major paint types, which is why it’s a premium pick for most car exteriors as well as high-end furniture pieces. Though it’s labor-intensive to add, the truth is that it’s an investment that pays off in longevity.

With proper maintenance, a typical item painted with powder coating will be able to last for 20 years or longer before a new coat of powder will need to be applied. Though 20 years is typical, it’s possible to see powder coating last for as long as 40 years or more in the right environment.

How do you keep powder coating looking great?

For the most part, powder coating takes care of itself. Gentle cleaning and avoiding scratches is all most people need to do in order to keep their coating pristine.

However, there is a major caveat that you should be aware of. Powder coating has the potential to break down when exposed to constant UV radiation. This means you can extend the life of your powder coated items by keeping them away from the sun.

Can powder coating get scratched?

While most people know powder coating as an exceptionally durable way to paint, the truth is that powder coating still has its limits. If a sharp object hits the coating with enough strength behind it, it can be scratched. The same can be said about sanding the coating down.

The good news is that powder coating is still very durable. Most accidents will not involve enough force to scratch the coating or crack it, so this won’t be an issue for you in most cases.

Ossiana Tepfenhart

Ossiana Tepfenhart is an expert writer, focusing on interior design and general home tips. Writing is her life, and it's what she does best. Her interests include art and real estate investments.

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