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Powder Coatings vs Liquid Coatings

What’s The Difference and Why It Matters in the OEM Industry


At DECO Coatings, we are Liquid Coatings Specialists that understand the ins and the outs of the industry in the most intricate ways possible. Not only do we have our own in-house lab, where we conduct continual testing and process improvement, but we are committed to continued learning as we attend conferences and events for liquid coatings. We are called the “Coating Nerds” for a reason, and we are proud of it. 

Since we get many calls from customers who need specialty coatings and who are confused as to whether powder coatings or liquid coatings are the best fit for their coatings needs, we decided to do a Q&A with Laura English, who is our VP Business Operations. Hopefully, this can help educate our customers and offer them more information as they peruse our website in search for speciality coatings options.

powder coating application

Applicator performing a powder coating application.

Why would a company choose a liquid coating instead of a powder coating?

Laura English:  Liquid coatings can be applied at a variety of thickness and the color palette is ultimately limitless. Another aspect that is important to customers, is the fact that liquid coatings, at the proper thickness, are much more durable than powder coatings. Also, touch-ups required to the coating after installation (or for future maintenance reasons) are easier to perform on liquid vs powder.

What is the difference between a liquid and powder coating?

English: A liquid coating is mechanically mixed with liquid color additive and then applied by brush, roll, or spray equipment. It can be heat cured with an oven or air cured (no heat). Liquid coatings can also be applied in a liquid state, but dry to leave a solid finish.

Powder is applied as a free-flowing, dry powder, and then cured under heat. Powder may have limited availability based on color selection and have minimum order quantities required to process. On the other hand, liquid coating may be custom blended and available on short batch runs.

What is the intrinsic value of a liquid coating? 

English: The overall cost per gallon may be comparable between liquid and powder coatings, but the true value is in the availability of color selection and gaining better asset protection of liquid over powder.

Tell me about your most recent customer in OEM. What was the problem they called you about? How did you solve their problem? What creative actions did you take? What was the end result?

English: Customers needed a high salt resistance finish coating mixed in a variety of colors. Color batch runs would be on-demand and total quantity would change based on their specific needs. The DECO applied finish coat would be applied over a variety of primers, from a variety of OEMs and a variety of parts. DECO would then proceed with product testing over primers to offer a one finish liquid coating solution to meet the demand of our customer. This approach has grown our coating application with over 7 different parts/components with 6 different color hues. With DECO’s quick adaptability to customer demand, we can quickly change out colors or parts within a 12 hour notice–that’s a pretty big deal in this industry!

Still have questions? Need specialty coatings on your OEM or infrastructure? Give us a call today.

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