Powder Coating vs Painting – Which One Is Better?



If you are the type of motorcycle rider who loves customizing your ride, and you are trying to learn more about the differences between powder coating vs painting, we’ve got you covered. So, before you decide to do any type of painting, check out this comprehensive article that we have prepared for you!


Painting – pros 

If you plan on painting the frame of your bike, wet paint is, for many, the go-to product. However, as in the case of all kinds of products, there are a lot of pros and cons that you should take into account before you make a decision.

Firstly, it should be mentioned that the most obvious advantage of painting your bike frame, rather than powder-coating it, is the fact that the former option is less expensive. However, before you start painting, you have to take the time to prep the bike by removing or taping off the parts that you don’t want to paint over, sanding all the parts of the frame, as well as wiping the frame with a wax and grease remover.

When compared to having your bike powder-coated, keep in mind that, if you decide to paint the frame, you won’t be required to fully strip down the ride, a process that can get overly-complicated, as well as time-consuming. Still, if you fail to prep the bike correctly, the dirt and grease stains left will make it impossible for the paint to adhere to the frame. In other words, you’ll be left with a botched job. 

To be sure that you get the expected results, you should also consider using a primer, as this might help you achieve the uniform look that you are searching for. As you paint the frame of your beloved ride, you have to pay close attention to details so that you evenly cover all the areas of the frame. 

With paint, one of the biggest pros is that you have access to a wide variety of colors and that you can control the thickness of the paint layer, which is a feature that powder-coating does not allow for.  

Another advantage of painting the frame is that you can do this at home, by yourself. If you do not have a lot of money to spare, the best option for you is to paint the frame in your garage. If you use quality products and the right equipment, your frame will look brand new, and your budget won’t be affected by this decision. 


Painting – cons 

One drawback that you should keep in mind before opting for paint is that, when compared to powder coating, paint is known for being easier to scratch off. For instance, if you accidentally tip the ride over, there is a risk that you’ll get it scratched. When/if this happens, you will have to do some touch-ups or to repaint the entire bike. 

Paint is also likely to be affected by the elements much quickly. Thus, after a while, you will start to notice paint flaking off, or chips coming off the frame. Still, according to the specialists, in time, the powder coat is also likely to start showing signs of wear.

To achieve a perfect finish when using paint, you will most likely have to use several layers of paint. Still, given its practicality, paint is the perfect choice for both small and large finishing applications. 

Storing liquid paint can be hazardous as this substance is flammable. Therefore, if you buy paint, you have to be extra careful where you place it. For extra safety, it is best that you wear protective equipment – a mask- while using it to avoid breathing in toxic vapors. 

According to numerous studies, long term exposure to the volatile compounds that can be found in paint can lead to respiratory irritations as well as other health-related risks. Additionally, these volatile organic compounds are also highly pollutant. So, disposing of them should be done ethically and safely. 

To do so, you can either wait for the paint to dry and then throw it away, or you can call a specialized recycling center. If you cannot find a recycling center of this sort in your area, you should call your local waste management authority to collect it. Another simpler alternative is to just donate it. 


Powder coating – pros 

When a motorcycle frame is powder-coated, a powder-like substance is applied all over the frame. Then, this powder is settled into the surface of the frame by using heat. This is why, if you opt for this alternative, you will be required to completely strip off the ride, including the engine, seat, etc. On top of that, all nuts and bolts have to also be removed. 

The main reason why this has to happen is that, once the substance is applied, the frame is placed in an oven that can affect the integrity of the components. Yet, getting your bike powder coated means that you can expect thorough results. So, you don’t have to worry that some of the parts will not get covered as expected.

One important advantage of having your bike power-coated is that this type of frame-painting is much more durable than regular paint. Once your bike is powder coated, it won’t be affected by the elements as easily. Besides, the frame will be less likely to chip. According to seasoned bikers, provided that you look after your bike, it will last for up to 10 years before you need to redo the entire process.

If you are a novice, you should know that there are many types of powder-coating varieties that you can select from, depending on the substances used in the fabrication of the substance. Because of the versatility of this product, you can opt between different types of finishes, textures, and colors. 

Besides, given the entire powder-coating process does not produce a lot of volatile compounds, it is friendly to the environment. Additionally, disposing of the residues caused by the application process is more affordable and less complicated. 


Powder coating – cons

As expected, the biggest drawback of powder coating is the fact that this is not a process that you can do at home, by yourself. And, yes, while you can find the necessary equipment for powder coating online, investing in all of that stuff will cost you much more than simply having the frame powder coated by a pro. 

If you decide to opt for powder-coating your bike, you should know that you should not expect to be left with a thin-layer type of finish. However, the result is aesthetically pleasing and thus, this won’t affect the overall design and appeal of your ride.

Moreover, it should be mentioned that, when compared to painting your bike, powder coating it is significantly more expensive. From this point of view, prices for this service might vary, depending on your location. One of the reasons why the cost of powder coating is higher is the fact that, before the coating itself, the pros have to disassemble the motorcycle and they have to prep the frame for the process.

Powder-coating also offers little versatility when it comes to the colors that you can opt for. When compared to regular paint, in the case of powder-coating, there are fewer available colors. 

This happens because the color of the powder is determined by the type of plastic used in its formula. Thus, blending two different types of powders is not something that can be done. Yet, powder coating does provide you with better color retention in time.

Finally, having your ride powder-coated is much more time-consuming than painting it by yourself. This is the case because you have to go to the shop and you have to schedule an appointment. Plus, on average, it might take a couple of hours before the job is done, and the frame is entirely cured in the oven.


Which is better?

When you decide between using paint of powder coating for your ride, you have to consider your needs. If you want to refresh the frame of your motorcycle at home, and you do not want to spend a lot of money on this process, paint is the obvious choice, especially given the fact that you can apply it without having to completely strip off the bike.

If you are interested in a more durable alternative, and you have the budget and time for it, go for powder coating as it can deliver the type of results that you are looking for. 

However, it should be stated that, at the end of the day, you cannot say that one of these options is better than the other, as it all depends on the type of application that you are interested in. 

If you find it difficult to select between the two, you can ask for the help of a specialist as he/she will most likely be able to help you decide by taking into account the type of motorcycle that you own, as well as other important factors.