Powder Coating Care and Maintenance
 

Powder coatings that are applied to metal products exposed to the weather will inevitably degrade over time. A number of conditions, including those found in nature, will contribute to shortening the life of this type of protective finish.

  • Sun
  • Rain
  • Wind
  • Pollution
  • Cold weather
  • Salt water
  • Electrical current
  • Dissimilar metals

Given that there are so many elements that can affect the coating, it’s not surprising that it can break down over time.


The right type of care and maintenance is essential to combat the detrimental effects of the elements when finished parts are exposed to the sun, wind, rain, etc. No powder coating is entirely maintenance-free — over time, it can lose some (or all) of its decorative and protective properties due to the effects of weather and other influences.


With the right type of maintenance, you can increase the service life of the finish of powder coated surfaces. The care and maintenance tips listed below can help to keep the repair and maintenance costs down for some items, as well.

 
How to Maintain Powder Coating
 

Avoid Harsh Chemical Cleaners. Powder coatings can be damaged by harsh solvents. A number of commercial cleaning products can cause damage to these types of finishes. Once the finish has become damaged, it is much more vulnerable to fading, staining and failure of the finish itself. When harsh chemical cleaners are used on powder coated surfaces, the life expectancy of the finish can reasonably be halved.


The service life of an organic finish cannot accurately be predicted due to the number of variables that can affect its ability to beautify and protect the surface where they have been applied. A professional finishing company would never even attempt to give a firm answer about any of the following:

  • How long a particular finish will last
  • The rate at which the coating will start to lose either its protective or decorative value
  • The rate at which values are lost

These are impossible to predict with any degree of certainty. Anyone who tells you they can give you a definitive answer is likely overreaching.


Proper Cleaning and Maintenance to Extend Effective Service Life. While it may not be possible to map out the exact length of service life you can expect to get from fabricated products, you can extend their effective service life with the right cleaning and maintenance. It could double or even triple the coating’s effective service life.


For applications that will have a high visibility factor, such as ones being used in buildings, a prudent approach involves maintaining detailed maintenance records that include the dates of all cleanings, including the products and materials used. These records will be important in tracking the type of cleaners used to keep the surface of the material looking its best.

 
Recommended Care and Maintenance Schedule
 

It is recommended in environments with low salt, low pollutant and urban areas cleaning should take place at a minimum of every twelve months.


In areas where salt, pollutants and high corrosively levels are prevalent, e.g. beachfront houses or industrial areas, it is recommended a cleaning program should be carried out more frequently at a minimum of every six months. 


Sheltered areas can have a higher risk of coating degradation as wind-blown salt and other debris or pollutants may adhere to the surface and not be removed when it rains. These areas may require more frequent cleaning.


Use the following table to identify the recommended minimum cleaning schedule for your project. The table reference ISO12944 Atmospheric corrosively zones in the UK to define the environmental conditions.


Environment  Conditions  Corrosively  Zone Example Environments  Recommended  Minimum Cleaning 
Exterior Environments: Mild C2 Low Arid, Urban Inland, City Every 12 months
C3 Medium Light Industrial & Coastal Every 6 months
Severe C4 High Sea shore (calm) Every 6 months
C5 Very High Industrial Heavy Industrial Every 3 months
C5 Very High Marine Sea shore Every 3 months
Tropical Tropical (T) High, Humid and Monsoonal Every 3 months
Interior Environments: General Interior C1 Very Low Dry Every 12 months
C2 Low Minor Condensation Every 12 months
Moderate Interior C3 Medium High Moisture Every 6 months
C4 High Significant Contamination Every 3 months

 

 
Damage of Powder Coated Surface
 

If Aluminium, steel and galvanised powder coated surface is chipped down to the base metal, then extra care should be taken in preparing the surface around the chipped area. Lightly abrade using 240 wet & dry paper, abrade by hand until a smooth surface and blended (faded) area is achieved. Wipe off with dry lint free cloth, apply some pre panel wipe to remove all traces of oil, grease and contaminates. Once clean and dry, apply two coats of HB420 adhesion promoting primer either by brush or spray method, allowing time to dry approximately 30 min dependant on weather conditions. Once dry apply 2 coats of Impact powder coating enamel by brush or spray method ensuring at least 10mm around original chip is covered to seal the surface. Once dry approx. 2-3 hours weather dependant product will be ready to handle – full cure 7 days. Do not coat in damp areas, humidity below 50% or above 85%, temperature below 8 degrees or above 70 degrees. Further details on repair systems contact technical department 01206 866880 or info@impactcoatings.co.uk

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