Powder Coating Furniture NZ: Attractive & durable protection

Whether it concerns office furniture, cabinets, displays, countertops, bathroom furniture or garden furniture; furniture should not only be functional and durable, but also look good. Powder coating for furniture is a versatile and attractive finishing option that also protects against wear, weathering, corrosion and discolouration. Add to that an infinite range of colors and effects + efficient and environmentally friendly processing and it is not surprising that this form of finishing is gaining in popularity in the healthcare, hospitality, retail and office sectors.

This article provides an overview of the advantages and applications of powder coating for furniture, as well as companies that supply this powder coating service in New Zealand.

Top 5 advantages of powder coating furniture

The top layer of a piece of furniture can be damaged by normal use and wear. Whether you are the purchaser or the producer, this is something to be avoided. This is where powder coating comes in. It offers durable and protective upholstery and is aesthetically appealing. The top advantages include:

Powder coating furniture NZ on garden furniture

Garden furniture is exposed to different weather conditions and is therefore vulnerable to depreciation if not suitably protected

    1. Durable – Furniture must be protected from knocks, wear and scratches. Powder coating is a very hard coating that is resistant to discoloration and fading even in various weather conditions.
    2. Versatile –  The powder coating of furniture guarantees a smooth and even finish over the entire surface. In addition, it is available in a wide range of colors, textures and effects.
    3. Corrosion protection – For metal furniture such as outdoor furniture, cabinets and display cabinets, corrosion is a major cause of deterioration. Powder coating offers a weather and water resistant barrier that protects the surface against corrosion.
    4. Time and cost-efficient – Powder coating is fast and efficient, and almost no powder is lost during application. Powder coating is therefore very suitable for large volumes.
    5. Environmentally friendly – Powder coatings do not contain solvents or VOCs, can be recycled and generally produce less waste than liquid coating.

Powder coating for furniture versus paint / wet paint

As described above, there are many advantages to the powder coating of furniture, but how does this relate to other options such as liquid paint or wet paint? There are three important points that we can compare: performance, efficiency and the environmental implications of the paint:

  • Eco-friendliness: Powder coating has a zero emission output or near-zero VOCs and is solvent free. This translates to less environmental damage and disposal costs. With the recycling capabilities of powder coating, only a small percentage of product is wasted. This waste is considered non-hazardous.
  • Efficiency: Powder coatings can be processed faster than wet paint, because no primer is needed and less sanding needs to be done. With larger volumes, there are fewer material and implementation costs for powder coating. Powder that does not end up on the object can be collected and recycled, which means that more than 95% of the product is used. In addition, it dries faster and can be applied smoothly and evenly to large surfaces. Finally, the automated process is less error-prone than when painting furniture.
  • Performance: Powder coatings are more durable and resistant to corrosion, scratches, abrasion, and damage than liquid paint. The baking and curing process also means that powder coatings do not run, drip and sag as liquid paints can, and they can be applied in thicker layers. Powder coats also have excellent color and gloss retention, even when exposed to weather and sunlight.

How powder coating furniture works

One of the misconceptions about powder coating is that it is only suitable for metal. While this may once have been true, advances in technology and coatings have led to great strides in powder coating. It is now possible to coat substrates including metal, wood, plastic, composites, glass, and MDF. Though different substrates require a slightly different method, the basic process for powder coating furniture can be broken down into:

Powder coating oven NZ from Kiwicote Ltd

A batch oven capable of sustaining 450 degrees will have to be large enough to fit your powder coated furniture (Image: Kiwicote Ltd)

  1. Substrate pre-treatment 
    This step involves abrasive stripping (such as sandblasting), chemical stripping, or thermal stripping to remove all traces of previous paint, rust, oils and dirt from the substrate. For an uncoated new substrate, sandblasting provides a surface texture to which powder coating can adhere.
  2. Powder application 
    This step varies depending on the substrate. For metals, the part is electrically grounded and the powder sticks to it because of the electrostatic action of the spray gun used. A wood or MDF substrate is preheated in order to heighten the electrostatic charge and ensure the powder adheres – it melts a little on impact.
  3. Curing 
    The final step melts and cures the powder into a liquid then solid coating. Substrates that can handle the high temperatures without negative effects are cured in an oven. There are also infrared and UV cure powders available. Curing takes 10-20 minutes.

What is the best powder coating for furniture?

Powder coating powder consists of the regular components of liquid coatings. However, the binder, additives and the pigment are processed as powder and a solvent is no longer needed. In the base there are two types of powders; thermoplastics and thermosets

Thermosets work with a so-called “cross-linker”. By heating, the cross linker is activated and this creates a chemical reaction between the powder components that bind them together. Thermoplastics, on the other hand, do not contain any cross-linker and melt and flow out by heating. In these two categories, powders can be classified based on the binder that has been added.

They each have their own aesthetic properties and also perform differently in terms of durability and resistance. In cooperation with a coating specialist, you put together the perfect formula for your project. 

  • Epoxy resin powder coating | for protective purposes

It protects from corrosion, impacts, and is highly adhesive. It is used in metal-based furniture, though it does not have great weatherability, so not for outdoor purposes

  • Polyester | for flexibility

Due to the broad range of applications to which it is suited, it is particularly recommended for exterior settings such as garden furniture or lighting fixtures.

  • Epoxy polyester blend | for toughness, chemical resistance, color stability and decorative appearance

They are commonly used for office furniture.

  • Nylon coating | for friction reduction, corrosion and chemicals resistance, and a cosmetic finish

Kids playground equipment, shopping carts and wire shelving use nylon coating.

  • Polyurethane resin | for exterior applications

This coating is best for hardness and a lower film build such as on bus shelters and urban furniture

Powder coating furniture NZ: companies and manufacturers

There are many applicators operating in New Zealand who provide powder coating services. These powder coating applicators use the top brands of coating powder for the most reliable and effective finish, every time. These brands include the powder coating lines put out by companies such as Interpon (AkzoNobel), PPG, Resene, Dulux, and Arkro Powder Coatings. For a look at the costs of some of the most common powder coating applications, such as coating patio furniture, we have prices in a separate overview.

Are you a furniture designer, salesman or producer and would like to know more about the possibilities of powder coating? Contact us today for free advice or a quote and we will gladly connect you with the best specialist for your project!

IKEA and the future of Powder coating

Increasingly companies are turning to powder coating for their products. IKEA relies on powder coating for their products, including their Medium-Density Fibreboard (MDF) products. This led to their long-time partner and leading powder producer, Jotun, to release a powder line for coating MDF to IKEA standards. IKEA also partnered with AkzoNobel to coat flower pots with their patented soft powder technology.