Powder Coating Costs Explained: ($20-$25/sq. ft.!)

Powder Coating Costs Explained: ($20-$25/sq. ft.!)

Powder Coating Costs Explained: ($20-$25/sq. ft.!)

Powder coating costs an average of around $20 - $25 per square foot. However, this cost may vary depending on the service provider, quantity, preparation work, and desired finish. Therefore, on average, powder coating an entire workpiece can cost around $100 to over a few thousand dollars.

This article discusses the cost of powder coating and helps you select the best service provider by breaking down the costs involved and understanding the factors that affect the cost of powder coating.

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How Much Does Powder Coating Cost?

WorkpieceEstimated Price Range
Automobiles bumpers$185 to $315
Furniture like Patio ChairsAround $100 
Architectural parts like window frames and door handle$50 to $75 per item
Sports equipment like hockey sticks and tennis rackets$50 to $200
Beds$50 to $200 per bed
Radiators$200 to $300
Fences and gates$6 to $8 per square foot
Staircase Railings$8 to $12 per linear foot
The estimated price range of powder coating some common workpieces

The cost of powder coating varies from one workpiece to another, based on the size of the workpiece and the thickness of the coating demanded.

Some of the most common powder-coating applications include automobile parts, furniture, architectural parts, and sports equipment.

Generally, the average cost of powder-coating automobile parts is the highest as they involve a larger surface area.

Moreover, their intended application also demands a thicker coating for greater protection against abrasive conditions and other harsh environmental factors.

Powder coating architectural parts, furniture, and sports equipment like window frames and door handle cost relatively less due to their smaller surface area and somewhat thinner coating requirement.

The cost of powder coating is generally based on the weight of powder coating consumed to coat the workpiece.

The larger the part, the greater the volume and weight of the powder required, thus higher the cost. 

Furthermore, the cost also depends on the type of powder coating used.

Cost Breakdown

Costs Involved in Powder CoatingEstimated Average Cost
1.Cost of Powder Coating$20 - $25 per square foot
3.Cost of Preparing the Workpiece$25 - $100 per workpiece
Costs involved in powder coating a workpiece

Polyester TGIC-type powder coating costs about $8 to $35 per pound, whereas Polyester Epoxy costs between $10 to $25 per pound of usage, and Polyester polyurethane ranges between $10 to $35 per pound of use on average.

Generally, the minimum order weight varies from 1 pound of powder usage for small-scale businesses to several hundred pounds for large-scale companies. 

In terms of surface area, powder coating costs an average of around $20 - $25 per square foot, and most service providers fix a minimum order cost of around $25 - $50, based on the service provider.

In addition, standard labor rates vary depending upon the country and supplier, but the minimum charges can be $50, going up to $250.

These charges are generally included in the powder coating cost, but it is advised to clarify the costing structure before opting for the service to get a clear idea of the overall cost.

If your application demands surface preparation operations such as masking and sandblasting before powder coating, the cost can further increase.

Surface preparation, on average, costs about $100, with masking costing about $25 and sandblasting costing around $75.

For example, if you are getting your car’s bumper powder coated, in addition to the $185 to $315 cost of powder coating, the surface preparation will bring the overall cost to around $285 to $415.

Factors That Affect the Cost of Powder Coating

Clear Powder Coated Springs
Clear Powder Coated Springs (Source: Eastwood)

Multiple factors can affect the cost of powder coating.

Type of Powder Coating

Powder Coating TypeEstimated Cost
Standard Epoxy$40 - $50 per sq. ft
Hybrid Epoxy$50 - $60 per sq. ft
Polyester TGIC$50 - $60 per sq. ft
Acrylic$50 - $60 per sq. ft
Urethane$60 - $80 per sq. ft
Super Durable Urethane$80 - $100 per sq. ft
Fluoropolymer$100 - $150 per sq. ft
Types of Powder Coating and their estimated cost

The type of powder coating used also plays a role in the cost of the project. Different types of powder coatings have different properties and costs.

For example, standard epoxy powder coatings are generally more affordable than urethane or fluoropolymer powder coatings.

Furthermore, clear powder coatings are comparatively cheaper than colored powder coatings.

Epoxy coatings are known for their good impact and abrasion resistance, good chemical resistance, and good electrical insulation properties.

While urethane coatings are known for their excellent impact resistance, abrasion resistance, and chemical resistance.

Fluoropolymer coatings are known for their outstanding weather resistance, UV resistance, and chemical resistance.

Size/Quantity of Workpieces

The size of your workpiece is a major cost-deciding factor as it is directly related to the amount of powder required, thus the cost of the process. 

A larger surface area workpiece will cost more to powder coat due to a more significant requirement and usage of powder particles.

If multiple workpieces are to be coated, they are usually treated as separate orders by the service providers, leading to additional costs.

However, if multiple units of the same workpiece are to be powder coated, the cost of powder coating can be lower as they will be considered as a single lot.

Preparation Work Needed

The extent of surface preparation required also determines the total cost of the process. 

A greasy, dirty, or worn-out surface will require a greater extent of surface preparation, i.e., masking, sanding, sandblasting, and cleaning.

If the surface preparation required is more intensive, the overall cost will increase, in addition to the extra labor costs associated with it.

Desired Finish of Powder Coating

Epoxy powder coating textures
Epoxy powder coating textures and finishes

The type of surface finish and powder coating you desire significantly affect the overall process cost.

If you want to apply multiple layers of coating, as per your workpiece's intended application, the cost will increase per layer.

For example, suppose you intend to use your workpiece in an outdoor environment with long time exposure to sunlight.

In that case, a UV-resistant coating like the polyester TGIC coating will be ideal, and using multiple layers of this coating will increase durability at the expense of cost. 

Hybrid polyester coatings cost the most, whereas pure polyester coatings are the cheapest.

Labor Rates 

Labor rates vary in the different regions of the USA.

Some states have higher labor rates leading to higher process costs, whereas, in some states, it is the opposite.

Availability of Stock and Expertise

In urban areas, the necessary expertise and equipment are readily available, which leads to lower powder coating costs.

Contrarily, in rural or far-off areas, there may be a need for more expertise and equipment, leading to higher logistical costs, which all add up to the total costs. 

Things to Ensure Before Powder Coating the Part

Clear Powder Coating
Clear Powder Coated rim of a Car (Source: Eastwood)

There are several aspects you need to ensure before powder coating a workpiece.

Workpiece Material Compatibility

Every material can not be powder coated, so you should ensure that your material has a suitable composition.

Apart from metallic surfaces like aluminum; ceramics, medium-density fiberwood, and some specific types of glass and plastics can also be powder coated.

However, plastics with low melting points and rubbers can not be powder coated.

Intended Application of the Workpiece

The intended application of a workpiece determines the type of powder coating it requires.

For example, an automobile shaft, which has an outdoor application in extreme environments, requires a hybrid coating that provides enhanced durability compared to other types of powder coatings.

Moreover, its shiny appearance will also add to the visual aesthetics.

Similarly, a workpiece subjected to sunlight, such as a patio chair, will require a coating that provides good resistance to UV radiations, such as Polyester TGIC coating.

Surface Preparation

Always ensure that the workpiece surface is free from grease, debris, dirt, and other impurities that may hinder the powder coating process.

These impurities can result in cavities, porosities, and a non-uniform coating.

The surface must be adequately degreased in a detergent-based solution, media blasted, masked, and sanded to obtain a smooth and clean surface which can then be effectively powder coated.

Environmental Conditions

The environmental conditions should be carefully monitored and regulated during powder coating.

Preferably, relative humidity should be around 50%, while a temperature of 25 to 30 degrees celsius is suitable before the curing stage.

In case of high surrounding temperatures and humidity, the workpiece surface may deform, and porosities containing water vapors may form.

Curing and Storage

It's crucial to ensure that the powder-coated workpiece is effectively heated, cured, and stored.

Otherwise, the powder coating may wither or not sit properly on the workpiece surface.

After effectively heating and curing the powder-coated workpiece, it should be stored in a dry environment free from contaminants to retain and preserve the coating before its intended use.

Powder Coating vs Regular Painting - Which is Cheaper?

ParameterPowder CoatingRegular Painting
Materials and equipmentMore expensiveCheaper
Surface PreparationMore expensiveCheaper
Consistency and uniformityBetterRequires multiple coats (increased cost)
MaintenanceCheaperMore expensive
Environment and safetyBetterCan contain harmful elements
Difference between powder coating and regular painting

Materials and Equipment

Generally, on average, the powder coating process is almost twice as expensive as regular painting in terms of material and equipment required. 

On a per-square-foot basis, powder coating can range from $5 to $50, whereas regular painting costs between $3 to $15. 

The additional specialized equipment, such as spray guns, ovens, and hangers required in powder coating, add to the overall cost. 

Contrarily, regular painting requires simple equipment like paint, paint rollers, brushes, and trays.

Surface Preparation

Powder coating requires significant surface preparation, including media blasting, cleaning, etc. 

Contrarily, regular painting does not require any prerequisite step, meaning you can start painting immediately. 

However, cleaning your surface before painting is preferable to obtain a more uniform coat of paint.

Consistency and Uniformity

The powder coating process ensures that the powder gets uniformly coated and can reach even the most hard-to-reach areas of a workpiece.

Moreover, the electrostatic nature of the powder particles and the workpiece ensure that no material wastage occurs during powder spraying.

The extra powder is repelled and collected in a chamber to be reused.

This aspect saves material costs and any other post-processing costs as well.

On the other hand, regular painting does not result in such a uniform and homogeneous coating, due to which multiple coats of paint may be needed, significantly adding to the material costs.

Moreover, some paint gets wasted during the painting process, which again incurs extra costs to the user.

Maintenance Costs

The powder-coated external protective layer is durable and can easily withstand stress, wear, and vibrations.

It prolongs the workpiece’s life and lowers subsequent maintenance or post-processing costs.

In contrast, regular paint forms a thin external layer that easily gets worn out over time and requires repainting almost every year.

This aspect makes regular painting more costly due to higher maintenance costs and repeated repainting over time.

Environment and Safety

Regular liquid paint contains different types of volatile organic compounds that are carcinogenic and cause air pollution once released into the environment.

This aspect incurs extra cost because specialized personal protective equipment is required, and specialized paint treatments or compositions are necessary to lower toxic substances.

Contrarily, powder coating does not contain such harmful components and does not result in contamination.

Moreover, simple PPEs can be worn during the powder coating process to prevent the operator from inhaling the powder particles.

Things to Look for When Outsourcing Powder Coating Projects

Choosing the right service provider for powder coating your workpiece is crucial.

Generally, cost, delivery time, market review, and customer service are vital aspects to consider when choosing a service provider.

Apart from that, it is advised to look for a good service provider in your vicinity, as it saves you time and money spent in delivering the product to and from the service provider.

However, if your application involves frequent powder coating of large workpieces, it is advised to invest in purchasing the required tools for either your local store or an online marketplace like Eastwood.

Final Thoughts

Powder coating is an effective process for improving your workpiece's durability and visual aesthetics.

However, its cost can be an issue, especially for hobbyists and DIY users.

Additional procedures, such as sandblasting to prepare the workpiece for powder coating can further increase the cost.

It is crucial to ensure that the powder coating is carried out in a controlled environment following the proper procedure.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Can the powder coating process be automated?

Yes, the powder coating process can be automated using programming and CNC robotic arms to position and operate the spray guns. 

Is the powder coating process an environmentally friendly process?

Yes, the powder coating process is environmentally friendly as no toxic substances, e.g., hydrocarbons or mono oxides, are usually emitted during the process.

Can powder coating inhibit the rusting process?

Yes, powder coating can inhibit the rusting process as an additional external protective layer in the form of this powder coating prevents any oxidation and subsequent wear of the original workpiece surface.

About John

Hey I'm John. I write about Manufacturing, Metalworking, CNCs and Lasers at Mellowpine. If you have any questions related to CNCs or Lasers, I'd be happy to answer them. Reach me at mail@mellowpine.com

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Hey I'm John. I write about Manufacturing, Metalworking, CNCs and Lasers at Mellowpine. If you have any questions related to CNCs or Lasers, I'd be happy to answer them. Reach me at mail@mellowpine.com

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