Comparing Powder Coats for Steel Post and Rail Fences: Factors Affecting Performance and the Importance of Pre-Treatment
Powder coating is a popular choice for protecting and enhancing the appearance of various metal surfaces, including steel. However, not all powder coats are created equal, and their performance can vary based on factors such as the type of coating and the pre-treatment process.
At Stock & Noble, we provide the finest fencing solutions to properties across Australia and New Zealand. Our Premium Steel Post and Rail Fencing System called Buckley has been selected based on its high aesthetics and exceptional performance across the globe. Designed and developed in America, Buckley has an architectural-grade powder coat system. Based on our knowledge of different types of steel fencing products and insights gained from powder coating developers, we will help simplify the world of protective powder coats.
In this blog, we will explore different types of powder coats, focusing on standard polyester powder coats, super durable polyester powder coats, and other specialised options. We will also discuss the crucial role of pre-treatment in ensuring optimal performance for steel surfaces.
Types of Powder Coating Options
Standard Polyester Powder Coat
Standard polyester powder coat is commonly used in residential and commercial buildings, particularly for windows and doors. While it offers decent durability, it may not withstand harsh weather conditions or provide long-term protection. It is important to consider the specific environmental requirements before choosing this type of powder coat for steel post and rail fences.
Super Durable Polyester Powder Coat
Super durable polyester powder coat is a high-quality powder coating system developed to meet the demanding standards of the architectural and industrial sectors. It provides significantly enhanced weather resistance and overall performance compared to standard polyester powder coats. With five times the durability, it is an ideal choice for applications that require superior protection, such as steel post and rail fences.
In addition to standard and super-durable polyester powder coats, there are other specialised options available for specific applications. Epoxy Polyester Hybrid or Fluoro Polymers are suitable for environments with unique challenges, such as marine environments. However, for steel post and rail fences, these specialised coatings may not be necessary.
Importance of Pre-Treatment
Pre-treatment is a critical step in the powder coating process, as it directly affects the adhesion, durability, and performance of the powder coat. Pre-treatment processes are essential in ensuring a high-quality coating job and preventing corrosion.
These processes involve cleaning and preparing the surface to be coated, allowing the coating to adhere effectively. There are various types of pre-treatment systems available, depending on the substrate, end-use, and size of the coating line. The pre-treatment stages typically include a cleaner stage, rinse stage, conditioning stage, zinc phosphate stage, sealer stage, and dry-off oven stage. Each stage serves a specific purpose in preparing the surface for the coating application.
Two common approaches to pre-treatment are the 7-step immersion bath treatment and zinc phosphate conversion coating.
The 7-step immersion bath
This treatment involves a series of cleaning and chemical treatment steps to prepare the steel surface for powder coating. It ensures the removal of contaminants, promotes adhesion and improves corrosion resistance.
Zinc phosphate conversion coating
This coating is highly regarded for its exceptional benefits in surface treatment. It provides superior corrosion protection by forming a protective barrier that shields metal surfaces from rust and deterioration caused by moisture and environmental factors.
Additionally, zinc phosphate coating enhances adhesion, promoting better bonding with subsequent coatings and improving the durability and longevity of the finish. Its lubricious surface reduces friction and wear, while also facilitating paint adherence for a smoother and more uniform paint finish. With its versatility and ability to enhance the performance attributes of metal, zinc phosphate conversion coating is a preferred choice for various applications, ensuring increased durability, reduced maintenance, and extended product lifespan.
In summary, Zinc Phosphate Conversion Coating is an additional pre-treatment step that transforms the nature of the steel surface, making it naturally non-corrosive.
It provides excellent adhesion and enhances the overall performance of the powder coat.
Factors Affecting the Performance of Powder Coats
Several factors influence the performance of powder coats on steel post and rail fences:
1. Environmental Conditions
The environmental conditions to which the powder-coated steel will be exposed play a significant role. Factors such as UV exposure, temperature fluctuations, humidity, and chemical exposure can impact the integrity and longevity of the powder coat. Choosing a powder coat with appropriate properties for the specific environment is crucial.
2. Pre-Treatment Quality
The quality and effectiveness of the pre-treatment process directly impact the adhesion and durability of the powder coat. Proper pre-treatment ensures that the steel surface is thoroughly cleaned and prepared for optimal adhesion and long-term performance. The additional step of Zinc Phosphate Conversion Coating is highly beneficial in protecting the steel from corrosion naturally and effectively.
To survive and thrive in Australian conditions for 10 more years, we recommend checking with your Steel Post and Rail supplier if the powder coat has Zinc Phosphate Conversion Coating applied to it.
3. Application Technique
The application technique used during the powder coating process can affect the final appearance and performance. Proper temperature control, consistent film thickness, and uniform coverage are essential for achieving an even and durable finish.
Which Powder Coat should my Steel Post and Rail Fencing have?
In conclusion, selecting the Steel Post and Rail Fences that have an appropriate powder coat and implemented effective pre-treatment processes are crucial in maximising the beauty, performance and longevity of fencing on your property.
While a standard polyester powder coat may suffice for some applications, the super durable polyester powder coat offers superior protection against harsh weather conditions and the regular wear and tear often associated with Equine properties.. Careful consideration of the environmental factors and the specific requirement of the project is essential in making the right choice.
The importance of pre-treatment cannot be overstated. Properly preparing the steel surface through thorough cleaning and pre-treatment stages, such as zinc phosphate conversion coating, significantly enhances adhesion, corrosion resistance, and overall durability of the powder coat.
The additional step of zinc phosphate conversion coating provides exceptional benefits, transforming the steel surface into a naturally non-corrosive substrate that ensures increased product lifespan and reduced maintenance.
Investing in high-quality Steel Post and Rail Fences that follow the best practices of powder coating and pre-treatment will ultimately result in a durable and visually appealing solution that withstands the test of time.
There are other factors too that should be considered before saying yes to a particular steel post and rail fencing for your property. A detailed comparison of Cattle Rail, Pre-powdered Cattle Rail and Buckley Steel Post and Rail Fencing would prove useful in your research.
If you have more questions on the coatings, material, rust management, installation or cost of Premium Steel Post and Rail Fencing, book a personalised consultation and get all your queries answered in depth. One of our fencing experts will connect with you and help you at every step to create a safe and beautiful property, just the way you imagined.