Toll Free
1-800-258-2320

M-F 6am-5pm PT

What is Powder Coating? A Quick Explanation from Tablebases.com

You probably noticed that many of our metal table bases are available with a black powder coat finish, either in matte or semi-gloss black. And you may be wondering, what is powder coating? Powder coating is very common, you've likely come across some powder coated patio furniture or metal parts. However, it isn't something that most people can do at home as it required specialized processes and equipment, so many people are unfamiliar with the process. Powder coating is an alternative to paint finishes, made to be much more durable and corrosion resistant. It is especially helpful for protecting steel table bases and cast iron table bases, as those materials can be susceptible to rusting in humid our outdoor environments. Keep reading to learn about the powder coat process, and why it works so well for metal table bases!

Powder coating is a process of applying a dry, powder pigment finish (in our case, black pigments) to a surface, usually metal, although it is possible to powder coat other materials. The process was invented in the 1940's in the United States and became popular in the 60s. The actual process of powder coating is a bit complicated, but the simple explanation is that it involves a polymer resin with pigments and other additives, which are then mixed and ground down into a powder (similar in texture to baking flour) that is sprayed onto an object and baked on. We'll use a table base as an example and break down the main steps in the most common way of applying powder coats.

  1. Cleaning: First, the table base parts (including the base bottom, column, and mounting plate) to be powder coated are cleaned and blasted with either sand, glass particles, steel shot, or silicon carbide (there are other options as well). This removes any grease or leftover materials from the manufacturing process, creating a clean surface so the powder coat can adhere strongly and evenly.
  2. Application: The powder is then sprayed through an electrified spray gun (in a process called electrostatic spray deposition, or ESD), that adds a positive charge to the powder as it's applied to the table base. The metal table base parts are grounded, so the electrified particles are attracted to the metal parts. This ensures even and smooth coverage across the entire surface.
  3. Curing: After the powder is applied, the metal table base parts are placed in a curing oven. There, the powder melts and flows, and a chemical reaction creates a "network-like structure" with long molecular chains that are strongly bonded (giving the finish it's excellent durability). Usually, parts are cured at about 200 ºC for about 10 minutes.

With powder coating, the finish is actually bonded to the metal parts using electricity, and then baked on (sort of like an enamel finish on a casserole dish). That is why powder coating is so commonly used for metal pieces in industrial applications, outdoor furniture and other items that need to be very durable. As the finish is baked on, it's much more scratch-resistant than paint, and does a better job of protecting metal pieces from rusting. Powder coating also does not contain any solvents, and has other advantages that make it an environmentally friendly option.

The powder coating process also allows for much more flexibility in the texture of the finish. Most of our black metal table bases have a textured finish, as this adds to the scratch resistance and durability. These would include options such as our B Series,  JR Series, and XG Series. Others have a slightly more decorative powder coat finish with a light swirl texture, such as our C series and XB Series. Some of our more modern bases, like the Turno and Plaza series, feature satin black powder coats that have a more smooth finish appropriate for high-end spaces.

While powder coating does create a durable finish that helps protect our steel table bases and cast iron table bases, we do still recommend stainless steel table bases or aluminum table bases for outdoor use, as those materials do not rust and are easy to clean. Of course, if you have any questions about the best table base or table legs for your project, feel free to contact a Tablebases.com customer service representative!

For a demonstration of the powder coating process, check out this video from Local Motors by LMI.

https://youtu.be/YnTh1mlvYXk