Powder coat was a new process that has had a learning curve. We recommend that if you choose a powder coat, that you understand these important issues. Be sure to have the job sandblasted, powder coated prime, and powder coated finish coat. Have all the pieces bolted together at the job site. Have touch-up paint from the paint supplier or have a custom mix that is matched for color and sheen. Realize that if the paint fails you will have to take the job back to the paint company; and they will have to sand blast off all the paint and start over. Blasting off powder coat paint is expensive due to powder coat paint being very hard.
- We powder coated our first job for Jim Dixon around a pool. We were told by the powder coat company that cold-roll steel, which did not have mill scale, was the best to use for this job. The job looked great for only the first week. After that, all four corners of the steel began to rust. We were told that the paint, when it dried, shrunk and pulled away from the corners. We were told that we should’ve used a round corner material because of the shrinking. They told us to bring the fence back to them and they could try again. However, we could not remove the fence. Instead, we had to repaint by hand on site the whole fence around the pool. Because of powder coat’s problems with sharp corners and edges, it is very difficult to recommend powder coat on beautifully ornate and complex iron designs.
- Our second job using the powder coat procedure was for Fors Golf Course. They insisted that they wanted powder coat. We advised them that we had not had good performance with powder-coat finishes. We used pipe for the rail and core drill and set the railing into the concrete patio. After four (4) months, they called us to come fix the rusting problems. We still have a piece of the pipe from this job showing the failure of powder coating. The water migrated under the surface and rusted the pipe. The paint came off in large layers. We had to cut the rail off and take it back to a different powder coat company. They sandblasted the rust off, and re-powder-coated the rail. Then we welded the rail back into place. Finally, we touched up the rail with custom-mix color and sheen from an automotive paint supply company.
- Another job using the powder coat process was a spiral staircase and pipe rail in Bountiful, Utah. The pipe rail has begun to rust. The spiral steps are rusting. The water has migrated under the paint. I can pull large sections of paint off the treads, thereby leaving a rusty tread. The owners are sanding down the pipe rail and repainting it. They have not as yet sanded and painted the spiral staircase, which is still deteriorating.
- On another spiral staircase project where the treads were powder coated, the paint was so thin that the rust started to build. We had to sand the tread out and repaint.
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