Paints & Coatings Resource Center

Ask the Expert Question-and-Answer Archive

by Ron Joseph

June, 2008

Powder Coating Stainless Steel and Galvanized Drinking Fountains

Q: I have been assigned a goal to come up with specifications on powder coating stainless steel and galvanized drinking fountains. In searching the web I found your web site and I was hoping you could help.

A: Powder coating galvanized steel is much like powder coating mild steel. The surface should pretreated with an iron or zinc phosphate followed by the powder coating.

For stainless steel I'm more skeptical. Preferably, the surface should have a brushed or textured finish rather than a smooth, polished finish. I suggest that you visit a custom coater in your local area who specializes in powder coatings and ask him/her how he/she would pretreat the part.

Your choice of powder will depend on whether the drinking fountains will be located indoors or outdoors. Will any be located in coastal areas? If so, I would coat them differently from those that will be shipped to less aggressive environments.

Your local powder coating vendor can recommend the most suitable powder resin depending on the finish you desire. You will need to decide on the type of texture, gloss level, color and most importantly the environment in which the drinking fountains will be exposed. Some powders are more expensive than others and this might be a factor. Also, for more aggressive environments you might need to first apply a powder coating primer.

Finally, I strongly suggest that your company should not skimp on the surface pretreatment. I have inspected numerous products that have failed on account of inadequate surface preparation.

Good luck,

Ron Joseph

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