Coating Alternatives for Aluminum & Plastic

aluminum-coatingInstead of going to your local hardware store for a can or two of spray paint, consider covering your aluminum or plastic in different more durable materials. While the materials may be a bit more expensive at first, it will prove to be money well spent in the long run as these coats will last a long time.

Aluminum & Plastic Coating Aletrnatives

  • Anodizing This first process applies only to Aluminum and is an electrochemical coating that forms a coating of aluminum oxide on the surface of the aluminum. Here are some general pros and cons
  1. Can only be used with Aluminum
  2. This is cheaper than most painting options
  3. This coating cannot peel because its integral to the metal
  4. The thicker the coating the longer the life of the coating
  5. Poor chemical resistance but still better than pure aluminum (ie acidic rain)
  6. You can paint or cover the anodizing with another form of paint or coating
  7. Environmentally friendly as it emits no VOC’s and uses no heavy metals
  8. A few colors available
  9. Easy to scratch
  10. Able to be done at home with the right chemicals and materials
  11. No curing time needed
  12. You can’t remove the coating
  • Powder Coating This process involves spraying powder onto the plastic or metal part and then melting and baking that powder onto the material coated. Here are some general pros and cons to powder coating
  1. Multiple colors available
  2. Most resistant to chemical and physical abuse
  3. It can chip and peel, although not easily
  4. More expensive than spray paint and anodizing
  5. The coating is thick
  6. Environmentally friendly
  7. Can be used with multiple materials
  8. Hard to do it yourself
  9. Short curing times
  10. More flexible coating meaning its more durable with moving parts
  11. Easy to clean off the powder and restart before you cure it
  • Paint Finally, the tried and true spray can. This involves spraying paint onto the metal or plastic and then waiting for the paint to dry or curing the paint in an oven. Here are some pros and cons
  1. Easiest to do at home
  2. Cheap for simple paint jobs although it can get really expensive with more complex jobs
  3. NOT environmentally friendly as paint sometimes includes heavy metals and the propellants are usually hydrocarbons and curing releases VOC’s
  4. Long curing times
  5. Infinite colors available
  6. This has the weakest chemical and physical resistance
  7. Only thin coatings allowed otherwise paint will droop
  8. Coatings can easily peel and chip
  9. Easy to clean off and fix any mistakes

Anodizing is cheap and durable but can only be used on aluminum with limitedplatstic-coating-materials colors and no re-do’s. Powder coating is expensive but offers the best durability with the most flexibility in terms of what it can be applied on and what colors can be used. Finally, painting is easiest to do, but has the weakest durability. Whichever coating you go for, you’ll have an amazing look to admire and protect your materials for years.