Powder coating plays an important role in the metal fabrication process, offering added protection from environmental elements such as harmful UV rays, extreme temperatures, and exposure to water. While powder coating isn't a requirement in all metal fabrication, it is highly recommended in most cases--especially for metal that is going to be used outdoors. For a metal fabricator customer making decisions regarding powder coating for a project, there are some specific mistakes that should be avoided to ensure the best results.
Choosing the Wrong Coating
One of the most common mistakes people make is simply choosing the wrong powder coating altogether. What some people don't realize is that not all powder coatings have the same capabilities; for example, some powder coatings are specifically designed to be resistant to UV rays, whereas others may be meant to repel or resist graffiti. The best way to ensure that you choose the right coating is to work directly with your supplier.
Putting Appearance Over Performance
Another common mistake people make when it comes to choosing a powder coating for their steel fabrication project is making the appearance or color of the powder coating a main priority. Unfortunately, some types of powder coating come only in designated colors. Still, it's important to keep in mind that the long-term performance of the powder coating is what's most important. If you're worried about the appearance, be sure to speak to your supplier about your coating and color options.
Not Being Aware of Industry Regulations
These days, it seems as though industry standards and regulations regarding powder coating are always changing, so it can be difficult to stay on top of them. Specifically, you'll want to speak to your supplier before ordering your metal for fabrication to ensure that all of their powder coating applications are in line with the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA), and that there is a warranty or guarantee on performance.
Assuming It Can Be Used Indoors and Outdoors
Finally, understand that not all powder coating is designed for use in outdoor environments, as not all can protect against UV rays, water, and the like. If you have metal being fabricated that you're planning on using outdoors, you'll need to make sure that the powder coating you use is specifically rated for use outdoors as well. By avoiding these common mistakes when deciding on powder coating, you can save yourself a lot of hassle and money down the road.