Electrostatic Painting or Powder Coating Cost Guide
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For even the most talented artists and painting professionals, achieving a uniform, drip-free, perfect paint job on curved or detailed surfaces is tough and time consuming. However, by using electrostatic painting or powder coating techniques instead, uniform paint jobs aren’t only possible, but are also easy to achieve. Working on the scientific principle that opposites attract, both electrostatic painting and powder coating work to adhere paint to surfaces using opposing electrical charges to reduce waste and produce an evenly painted surface.
While it’s possible to complete electrostatic painting or powder coating jobs yourself, the highly specialized equipment and hazards associated with it mean that most homeowners wisely opt to hire a professional to do the job.
Table of Contents
- Electrostatic Painting & Powder Coating Prices
- Cost Factors of Electrostatic Painting & Powder Coating
- What Are Electrostatic Painting & Powder Coating?
- Uses of Electrostatic Paint & Powder Coating
- Advantages of Electrostatic Painting & Powder Coating
- Disadvantages of Electrostatic Painting & Powder Coating
- Safety Concerns
- DIY or Hire A Pro
- Find A Pro
Electrostatic Painting & Powder Coating Prices
Like any home improvement project, the cost of an electrostatic painting and powder coating job varies based on many factors, but specifically its size. Electrostatic painters generally charge rates between $55 - $70 per hour. Powder coating, on the other hand, is usually charged per piece. Costs for powder coating range from as little as $45 for a small piece like a stool or railing to $250 or more for larger pieces like a couch frame or door.
Cost Factors of Electrostatic Painting & Powder Coating
Other than the size of the project or number of pieces that need to be painted, several other additional factors may affect the final cost of an electrostatic painting or powder coating job:
- Materials: While the labor costs are generally higher for these specialized painting jobs, the material costs are usually lower since, by their very nature, electrostatic painting and powder coating reduce product waste. Plan to spend at least 30%, but possibly upwards of 50% less on materials such as paint.
- Project Details: While the process of using electric charges to cover surfaces with paint is designed to make painting curved surfaces and other odd shapes easier, recessed areas, such as a locker, is still a challenge to paint. Painters need to use an airless gun and advanced techniques to completely cover these types of surfaces, which may increase costs.
- Location: Powder coating requires painters to cure items in an oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for a set period of time to melt and set the paint. Therefore, it can’t be done on site at your house. The cost to transport items to a powder coating facility can therefore increase your costs.
What Are Electrostatic Painting & Powder Coating?
Most popularly used in the automotive industry, electrostatic painting and powder coating are two different methods of painting that both operate on the same principle of "opposites attract." Specifically, in both methods, the items that need to be painted are grounded while the paint gets a negative electric charge. Once released, the paint naturally attaches to the grounded object in an even manner, because once a surface has a paint particle on it, it’s no longer grounded. This virtually eliminates drips and buildup, creating a smooth, streak-free finish that’s harder and more durable than typical paint.
The main difference between electrostatic painting and powder coating is the state of the paint as it’s applied. Whereas electrostatic painting uses liquid paint that dries directly on the object and can be applied onsite, powder coating uses a powder that painters must cure in a 400-degree oven. As a result, powder coating can take on more complex patterns and textures when compared to electrostatic painting, which is generally only available in solid colors with the option to add metallic flakes for extra shine. Both electrostatic and powder coat paints can be matched exactly to existing colors, which is why they’re so popular for exterior automobile bodywork.
Uses of Electrostatic Paint & Powder Coating
Automotive detailers and manufacturers use electrostatic painting and powder coating for a number of applications both inside and outside vehicles. In home and business situations, these painting methods are most popular for exterior painting projects on metallic surfaces such as lawn furniture, railings, gates, fences, fence posts, steps and pipes. In industrial settings, electrostatic painting and powder coating are used on heavy equipment and machinery.
Advantages of Electrostatic Painting & Powder Coating
There are many advantages to choosing electrostatic painting and powder coating over traditional painting methods. For starters, they’re less wasteful, virtually eliminating the risk of overspray and waste commonly associated with spray painting. For this same reason, they’re also more environmentally friendly, limiting the release of paint particles into the air.
Because these techniques evenly coat surfaces regardless of their shape, electrostatic painting and powder coating can actually be more cost effective because they require less time and materials as opposed to traditional painting methods. In addition, the quick 12–24-hour dry time of electrostatic painting makes completing a project and getting back to work or life easier, eliminating inconvenience.
Disadvantages of Electrostatic Painting & Powder Coating
There are very few disadvantages to electrostatic painting and powder coating when it comes to metallic surfaces that can be easily grounded. While not impossible, painting non-conductive surfaces through either of these methods is a bit more complicated because the project involves using a grounding plate or painting the item with a conductive primer first. In addition, the equipment and methods used for electrostatic painting and powder coating are more complex and hazardous than other painting methods, making them unsuitable for most DIYers.
As with any painting project, proper ventilation when electrostatic painting or powder coating is necessary to avoid the buildup of toxic fumes. All painters must also wear proper protective equipment including gloves and breathing masks to reduce risk of chemical burns. Finally, if a surface isn’t prepared properly or a painter is inexperienced with electrostatic painting and powder coating methods, clusters of paint can build up around small openings and crevices. This type of electrostatic buildup is highly hazardous, as it can lead to shock and fire if left unattended.
DIY or Hire A Pro
For safety reasons, it’s best to hire a professional with the equipment and knowledge needed to safely and effectively complete electrostatic painting and powder coating projects. However, advanced DIYers or those with experience using powder coating methods for automobile parts can use them in the home improvement sector as well. Take a look at this video for tips and instructions on how to complete powder coating projects at home, but only attempt this project if you already have a thorough understanding of the basics of powder coating and have previously completed this type of project successfully.
Find A Pro
If you’re considering an electrostatic painting or powder coating project in your home or business, ImproveNet offers free connections with professionals in your area who can talk to you about the details of your specific project as well as offer quotes and further advice.
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Last updated on Nov 17, 2016