Powder Coat Spray Paint Might Be the Perfect Fit for Your Metal Surfaces

Kristin Luna
Written by Kristin Luna
Updated February 16, 2022
man powder spraying metal
Photo: PiyawatNandeenoparit/ Adobe Stock


  • Powder coat paint is not a liquid but an electrostatically applied dry powder.

  • It’s mostly used for painting metal surfaces.

  • The application requires baking in an oven.

  • It’s environmentally friendly.

  • It’s not usually a DIY project due to the tools required.

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Powder coating is often considered the pinnacle of restoration and protection finishes when painting metal. Its application is technically challenging, and it’s not intended to be used for every DIY paint job, rather reserved for very specific circumstances. Have a car part or other metal surface you’re considering painting? Here’s everything you need to know about powder coat spray paint before you consider using it for your project.

What Is Powder Coat Spray Paint?

Powder coat paint is an electrostatically applied dry powder and therefore isn’t a liquid coating at all. The metal part to be sprayed is connected to electricity before a specialized gun system sprays powdered pigments that are shot in a sealed booth. The piece is then heated or baked in an oven to convert the powder into a uniform and very durable coating.

Powder coat spray paint is a far better coating than standard paint, so if you’re painting an object that will be affected by the weather or heavy wear and tear, you might want to consider this product.

How Do You Apply Powder Coat Spray Paint?

The metal part must be cleaned and stripped of all previous material before being hooked up inside a paint booth to an electrical lead. The electricity creates a static charge that then attracts the powder, which is sprayed from a special paint gun at the piece to be painted. Then, heat must be applied to complete the process.

The process only takes one coat, and the product spreads evenly across the surface—unlike regular spray paint where it’s easy to accidentally apply the product thicker in some areas than others. Challenging surfaces with curves and cavities are completely sealed with powder coating.

What’s the Difference Between Powder Coat Spray Paint and Regular Paint?

There are many reasons you might want to use powder coat spray paint over regular paint, especially if you’re painting car parts, for example, which will likely have curved surfaces and tricky spots that are difficult to spray with a rattle can. Bicycles and metal furniture are also good candidates for powder coating.

The longevity of powder coating, which directly bonds to the metal during the baking process, makes it especially appealing for permanent solutions. Regular spray paint will not achieve the singular hardness that a powder-coated surface attains. While liquid spray paint from a can is a durable solution for most projects, if you’re looking for a more permanent answer for a tough-to-coat surface, then powder coating by a professional local painter is the way to go.

The Cost of Powder Coat Spray Paint

Powder coat spray paint costs quite a bit more than regular paint because of the specialized tools required for the actual application of the material and the shop space that is needed for the spray booth. But given its lengthy lifespan, it does often prove cost efficient in the long run. Expect to pay between $300 to $1,000 for a professional powder coat spray paint job, according to HomeAdvisor.

The Environmental Friendliness of Powder Coat Spray Paint

man spray painting metal gate
Photo: singjai/ Adobe Stock

Another pro for using powder coat spray paint is that it is more environmentally friendly than regular paint, producing almost no waste and emitting low VOCs (volatile organic compounds). Thanks to the electrostatic process, all of the powder coating sticks to the surface that’s being painted, and any waste is easily collected and reused since it’s a powder and not liquid. Spray paint from a can releases a lot of VOC compounds into the environment and requires solvents for cleanup, none of which are required for powder coating.

How Long Does Powder Coat Spray Paint Last?

Unlike regular paint where you might need to recoat a surface within three to five years, powder coat spray paint can easily last up to 15 years, even in difficult environments like salty coastal areas. The chemical bonding process that occurs when the material is baked in an oven or heated is similar to the ceramic coating cooked onto clay products. The shell of material is made of cross-linked polymers that are virtually indestructible.

What Are the Cons of Powder Coat Spray Paint?

While there are many pros to using powder coat spray paint, know that it’s not for everyone or every project. For example, unlike regular paint, you can’t easily make touch-ups with powder coat spray paint; rather, you’d have to strip and redo the entire piece—often with a sandblaster—which adds to the time and the overall cost of a project.

The ability to remove the piece from wherever it’s located and deliver it to a different location for paint is also an encumbrance to using the powder coating process. In general, powder coating shops have size limitations for what they can put into the spray booth, and large items like fence railings or roll cages would likely be cost-prohibitive to transport for such a project.

Should I DIY My Powder Coat Spray Paint Job?

One of the biggest downsides of doing a DIY powder coat spray paint job is the amount of equipment needed to apply just a single coat. In addition to your regular spray paint kit, you’ll also need both an industrial oven, an electrostatic booth, and the specialized spray gun to dispense the powder, which aren’t standard tools in the average home renovator’s garage. While you can often buy these tools from a local hardware store, it’s likely going to be more cost-efficient to hire a professional powder coating service near you to do the job for you.

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