Powder coating is a dry finishing process that has become popular since it was developed 50 or so years ago. Powder coating is a way to cover the surface of almost any material with a solid, durable finish that can withstand wear and tear, including the outdoor elements. Automotive hobbyists are familiar with powder coating, which is used to paint and embellish the bodies and exposed parts of cars. In the powder coating process, a dry material is applied to the surface using electrostatic or compressed air. The item is then placed in a curing oven until the dry powder melts and is fused to the surface—hence its durability. Professionals can refinish ironwork, outdoor furniture or even cabinetry. Powder coating can also be applied to nonmetallic surfaces such as plastics and medium-density fiberboard (MDF). Powder coating revitalizes fences, furniture and more at a much lower cost than replacing them. Powder coating iron or metal patio furniture is a great way to update an outdoor space and protect the furniture from rust and corrosion.
Powder coating is a specialized finishing process that should be done by someone with experience. Jack Johnson and his team at 4:13 Inc. in Olin, North Carolina, specializes in welding and fabrication and guarantees all powder coating jobs for 10 years. Costs vary depending on the size of the item(s) to be powder coated as well as the color and texture selected. Metallic and nonstandard powder coating colors cost more than standard colors, for example.
The amount of surface area to be coated affects the overall cost. So the larger the item, the higher the cost. For example, it costs $1,000–$3,000 to have a car repainted with a powder coating. Powder coating a set of wheels typically costs about $400–$700. Having a bicycle frame powder coated could cost about $75. Powder coating a 48-inch round patio table might cost $160–$200, depending on whether it needs to be sandblasted first. Here are some more cost estimates for outdoor and indoor furniture that can be powder coated, with sandblasting included:
Side chair: $75 and up
Arm chair: $85 and up
Low rocker: $95 and up
High-back rocker: $105 and up
Bar stool: $100 and up
High-back, spin-base chair: $105 and up
Two-person glider or love seat: $125 and up
Queen-size bed: $100 and up
King-size: $200 and up
- Baby crib: $200 and up
Gates and fencing
Powder coating a metal or wrought-iron fence can make it look brand new by giving it a good-looking, durable finish. Most professionals charge about $6–$8 per square foot of fencing to sandblast and powder coat a fence. Wrought iron usually costs more to powder coat than aluminum. The contractor will most likely bring a portable powder-coating machine to the job site and refinish the fence in place. On-site powder coating involves a slightly different process. Some pros will apply the powder coat and fire it in one step, while others will powder coat the surface first and then cure it with a handheld firing gun.
Thermoset versus thermoplastic
Advances in powder coating technology have brought about thermoplastic coatings, which are more flexible than thermoset, making them more appropriate for certain applications, such as park benches and play equipment. Thermoset powder coating is heat-resistant and therefore more durable than thermoplastic, which is less expensive than thermoset.