Powder coating furniture for a long-lasting protective finish
Furniture is something we use everyday. From chairs and tables to countertops, shelves, and shoe racks, furniture is relied upon for its functionality and aesthetic appeal. Powder coating is a resilient, durable, versatile, and attractive finish option that protects a substrate from abrasion, wear, weathering, corrosion, and fading. With a range of colours and effects, shorter processing times, and flexible application, powder coating furniture is a growing market for both refinish and fabrication.
This article is an overview of the benefits and uses of powder coating for furniture, as well as some of the companies that provide powder coating powders and services in the UK.
The benefits of powder coating furniture
Regular wear and tear can quickly deteriorate a piece of furniture and, whether you are the purchaser or the producer, this is something to be avoided. This is where powder coating comes in: protective, decorative, and long-lasting, it provides a durable solution for coating furniture. The top benefits of powder coating furniture are:
- Durability – Furniture needs to be protected from abrasions, chips, and scratches. Powder coat is a hard, durable coating which is also weatherproof and resistant to fading.
- High quality finish – Powder coating furniture provides a smooth and even finish across the entire surface without running, dripping, or sagging. As well as this, powder coating comes in a large range of colours, textures, and effects.
- Corrosion protection – For metal furniture, particularly items like patio sets or lawn furniture, corrosion is a large cause of deterioration. Powder coating provides a weather and water resistant barrier which protects a substrate from corrosion.
- Time and cost efficient – Powder coating has reduced processing time, energy requirements, and air extraction measure requirements.
- Environmentally friendly – Powder coatings contain no solvents or VOCs, can be recycled, and in general produce less waste than liquid coating.
3 advantages of powder coating furniture over liquid paint
So there are many benefits to using powder coating for furniture, but how does it compare to other options like liquid paint? There are three main areas of comparison between powder coating and liquid paint: performance, efficiency, and environmental concerns.
1. PERFORMANCE: Powder coatings are more durable and resistant to corrosion, scratches, abrasion, and damage than liquid paint. The baking and curing process also means that powder coatings do not run, drip and sag as liquid paints can, and they can be applied in thicker layers. Powder coats also have excellent colour and gloss retention, even when exposed to weather and sunlight.
2. EFFICIENCY: There are lower material and operational costs involved in powder coating than there are with liquid paint. Single coat applications in thin or thick film, a fast cure time, greater coverage, and lower energy costs all give powder coating the edge over liquid paints as far as expense and time. The overspray in powder coating can be collected and recycled, meaning more than 95% of the product is used. There is also lower reject rates so less costs lost to rework.
3. ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY: Powder coating emits zero or near-zero VOCs and is solvent free. This translates to less environmental damage and disposal costs. With the recycling capabilities of powder coating, only a small percentage of product is wasted. This waste is considered non-hazardous.
The powder coating furniture process: metal, wood, plastic, and more
One of the misconceptions about powder coating is that it is only suitable for metal. While this may once have been true, advances in technology and coatings have led to great strides in powder coating. It is now possible to coat substrates including metal, wood, plastic, composites, glass, and MDF. Though different substrates require a slightly different method, the basic process for powder coating furniture can be broken down into:
- Substrate preparation/pre-treatment
This step involves abrasive stripping (such as sandblasting), chemical stripping, or thermal stripping to remove all traces of previous paint, rust, oils and dirt from the substrate. For an uncoated new substrate, sandblasting provides a surface texture to which powder coating can adhere.
- Powder application
This step varies depending on the substrate. For metals, the part is electrically grounded and the powder sticks to it because of the electrostatic action of the spray gun used. A wood or MDF substrate is preheated in order to heighten the electrostatic charge and ensure the powder adheres – it melts a little on impact.
The final step melts and cures the powder into a liquid then solid coating. Substrates that can handle the high temperatures without negative effects are cured in an oven. There are also infrared and UV cure powders available. Curing takes 10-20 minutes.
Powder coating powders and their furniture applications
The powder in powder coating is composed of the usual components found in liquid coatings, however, the binder, pigment, and additives are processed together into a fine powder, without the need for solvent. There are two types of powder coating,: thermoset and thermoplastic. A thermoset coating undergoes crosslinking when heated, meaning the eventual coating is heat stable and chemically altered. A thermoplastic coating does not undergo crosslinking, and will soften when heated. Within these categories the powders are differentiated by resin:
- EPOXY resin powder coating is used for protective purposes. It protects from corrosion, impacts, and is highly adhesive. It is used in metal-based furniture, though it does not have great weatherability, so not for outdoor purposes.
- POLYESTER is the most common resin type due to the broad range of applications to which it is suited. It is particularly recommended for exterior settings such as garden furniture or lighting fixtures.
- An EPOXY-POLYESTER blend provides toughness, chemical resistance, colour stability and excellent decorative appearance. They are commonly used for office furniture.
- A POLYURETHANE resin is used for exterior applications with a need for hardness and a lower film build such as bus shelters and urban furniture.
- NYLON coating is used where friction reduction, resistance to corrosion and chemicals, and a cosmetic finish are required. Kids playground equipment, shopping carts and wire shelving use nylon coating.
Powder coating furniture companies and manufacturers in the UK
There are many applicators operating in the UK who provide powder coating services. These powder coating applicators use the top brands of coating powder for the most reliable and effective finish, every time. These brands include the powder coating lines put out by companies such as Interpon (AkzoNobel), PPG, Axalta, Valspar, and HMG Paints. For a look at the costs of some of the most common powder coating applications, such as coating patio furniture, see our prices page.
Powder coating on the rise
Increasingly companies are turning to powder coating for their products. IKEA relies on powder coating for their products, including their MDF products. This led to their long-time partner and leading powder producer Jotun to release a powder line for coating MDF to IKEA standards. IKEA also partnered with AkzoNobel to coat flower pots with their patented soft powder technology.
If you have a furniture project that requires powder coating, get in touch! Let us, in cooperation with our coating partners, connect you with the coating solution for your needs. Just click the “Request a Quote” button below and take advantage of our 100% free quote service. Our experts are here to help.