Which is the most ideal finishing technique for aluminum? In the world of aluminum products, a debate has arisen over whether it is better to paint a surface or use the powder coating method. At first glance, these techniques seem similar as they both add color to a surface. However, they are far different from each other in many ways.


For you to choose the best aluminum finishing technique for your product, it’s best that you understand where each of them succeeds and fails, as well as the factors and procedures involved. Thankfully, today, we’ll be helping you out with that! Below, we’ve listed all the differences between painting and powder coating. Keep reading for more.




These methods differ greatly in the process. Traditional painting has been used for years as the conventional finishing coat and technique for aluminum. This is done through pumping, spraying, brushing, or through another form of a pressurized applicant. Here, the aluminum surface is wiped thoroughly clean first, after which the liquid paint is evenly distributed onto it.


On the other hand, powder coating, is a finishing technique in which powder is used instead of liquid paint. With the powder coating technique, the powder is applied using spray tools. The powder is heated onto the surface for it to be distributed and settled.


When the aluminum product is coated, it is left under a high temperature of 400 degrees for a few minutes to allow the coating to settle completely. The high temperature is what melts the powder — allowing it to fully cover the surface.


There are two processes that you can opt for in powder coating: thermosets and thermoplastics. Thermosetting utilizes chemicals that react to the powder when heated. On the otherhand, themoplastics settle and melt into the coating upon the heating process with no additional chemicals involved.




When you’re looking for a coating for your aluminum product, adhesion is an important factor to consider. This tells how long and strong the coat will settle on the surface.


No matter how coated the surface is using the painting method, peeling is inevitable. You’ve likely seen surfaces with scattered paint flakes. It is known for eventually peeling away from aluminum through time. Sadly, aluminum does not accept paint as well as other materials do.


Powder coating, however, provides impeccable adhesion. Because it uses heat, the finished product is likely to chip, peel, and flake off. Apart from this, the substrate that it covers also gets a better level of protection. This also calls for less maintenance.




The thickness of these is both measured in mils (a mil is equal to 0.001 inches). With painting, you can only expect an output with a coating of 0.05 mils up to 1 mil thick. With powder coating, you get a much thicker finish. Powder coating can be applied to a thickness of 2 to 12 mils — depending on its application. This means you get a thicker, more protected finish.




When painted surfaces undergo motion such as vibration, flexing, bending, twisting, and the like, small cracks will appear. Apart from this being unattractive to the surface, cracks will make room for further peeling, rusting, and corrosion.


With powder coating, you won’t have to experience any of this. One of the top features of powder coating is its flexibility. It allows the finished aluminum surface to stretch, elongate, bent, and twist without suffering from cracks and holes. This also translates into a stronger finish and less maintenance.




As stated above, painted surfaces can easily crack when they experience motion. It isn’t as durable as the finish of a powder coated aluminum product.


Powder coated aluminum products are not only durable under pressure, but they are also physically harder. This means that it is able to resist any nicks, chips, dings, and scratches.




No one wants rust on their aluminum products. However, all metals corrode. But, the good news is, shielding it with a finish can help prevent it from happening faster.


Because paint is thinner, less flexible, and durable than powder coated products, it is more likely to develop rust. Worse, as it develops on the surface, it can expand further.


Since powder coating is thicker and more durable, it is less likely to have your aluminum product be left bare and exposed. It offers greater adhesion so that no rush can form the surrounding finish.


Key Takeaway

When it comes to the finishing technique of aluminum products, many ask if they should opt for powder coating or go with traditional painting. This article outlines their differences. Which is better? It all depends on the factors that you consider. If you’re looking for a fast and simple way to coat and color your aluminum surfaces, painting is a viable option. However, if you’re looking for an output that is long-lasting, protective, and durable, there is no doubt that you should choose powder coating.