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Powder coated versus baked enamel finish on aluminum fence

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I searched the site archive and could not find the answer to this question. I will be having an aluminum fence installed around my pool. I have had several estimates, some offer fence that has a powder coated finish, some offer fence with a baked enamel finish. What is the difference in terms of durability, scratch resistance, fade resistance, etc.? Is one finish better than the other? The quotes for the same linear footage of powder coated fence (vs. enamel) are about 12% higher.

Thank you in advance...any insight is appreciated.

John Palatella
homeowner - Sykesville, Maryland


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The durability and corrosion resistance of an organic finish (paint, powder coating, enamel, etc.) depends as much or more on the pretreatment (zinc plating, iron phosphate, zinc phosphate, sandblast, solvent wipe) than on the finish coat. Further, there are many different resins (polyester, epoxy, etc.) The result of this is that, unfortunately, a consumer really can't predict the durability of a finish; all you can go by is the reputation of the supplier.

What powder coating means is that instead of wet painting, a dry powdered plastic is sprayed onto the item, and static electricity keeps the powder on the part long enough to get it to an oven. In the oven, heat melts the plastic to cover the part, and when the part cools the coating covers the part much as if it had been wet painted. An advantage of powder coating is that it is particularly environmentally friendly because it doesn't require solvents to wet the resin and then evaporate. So if you are environmentally oriented, pick the powder coating.

pic of Ted Mooney Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey


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Ted,

Thanks for the response...it was very helpful.

John Palatella, again
homeowner - Sykesville, Maryland


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You're certainly welcome. Like any other consumer, I go to the Walmart or garden store or Sears or whatever and buy painted patio furniture and stuff, and find that I can't predict its life either. Sometimes it rusts in half a season, sometimes its going strong 7 years later. The only thing I've learned is to go by the brand name -- but even that doesn't always work well in these changing times and a global economy :-)

For example, I bought a lawn swing last spring, all painted with the same paint and looking exactly the same. A year and a half later some parts still look excellent, while other parts became a rusty mess in the first few months -- those parts were obviously farmed out to a different shop which did poor pretreatment :-(

pic of Ted Mooney Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey

+++++++appended

My husband and I are researching to install a wrought iron look-a-like welded aluminum fence around the yard of our historic home in Orlando, Florida. We are getting conflicting information on the benefits/drawbacks of powder coating vs a baked enamel finish for the paint. What is the true durability time frame for powder coating? Will it fade over time? If it does chip or fade, what about touch-up or repainting? The baked enamel guy says powder coating will only last about 10 - 12 years; he also says that we will not be able to touch-up or repaint it. So, please help - what is the best finish for our fence? We want it to be very attractive, long-lasting and with the least amount of maintenance possible. Thanks so much for your kind help.

Cindi Parker
consumer - Orlando, Florida


January 3, 2008

Cindy,

We had some of the same questions when looking for fence companies in Orlando FL. Ultimately we chose a company because of the lifetime warranty offered on their aluminum fencing products. They also gave us the option of using steel as an alternative to traditional metal fence but in the end we liked the look and feel of aluminum fences much better.

Randy Ebbers
- Orlando, Florida


August 29, 2008appended

We are currently getting estimates from fence companies on the installation of black wrought iron fencing/gates on the front of and along the sides of our home in San Antonio, Texas. Some companies' quotes include electrostatic paint, others use powder coated panels. We would like an unbiased recommendation as to the durability and rust resistance of the two options. Thank you.

Elke Schabel
home owner - San Antonio, Texas


September 3, 2008

Hi, Cindy. Powder coating can be touched up with liquid paint, and often the supplier will give you a bottle of touch up.

Hi, Elke. As you can see, we appended your inquiry to a thread that hopefully answers it. Powder coating is usually thicker than electrostatic wet paint, and for that reason it can be a bit more corrosion resistant -- but the significance of that fades in comparison to the importance of proper pretreatment as mentioned further up in the thread.

So I would answer this way: powder coating is a more environmentally friendly approach due to the fact that there are no solvents that have to evaporate and go into the atmosphere. So, as long as the two approaches are competitive in other ways, why not skip the solvents?

Regards,
pic of Ted Mooney Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey

April 13, 2009

 

Living on the coast in Northern California, right on the water, I am trying to determine which companies manufacture the fencing, either powder coated or painted, that do prepare their fencing in a manner that they will last longer.
Can you give me any brand names? What specifically do I look for?
Thanks for any help on this.

Donna Freeman
Compass Rose Gardens

Bodega Bay, California


April 13, 2009

I can't answer that myself (2967 miles away), Donna, but hopefully some local readers who are happy with their fencing will.

Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey

August 17, 2010

PLEASE help me..

I'm searching / looking for the Standard Baked Enamel Finish.

Anyone can help?

Gadaffi Bahrudin
Purchaser - Malaysia

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