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Electrostatic painting has a wide appreciation as the go-to painting technique for heavy machinery and other industrial metal objects.
However, it does also have its applications on the domestic front, especially for iron fencing, antique bathtubs, and other outdoor equipment. The reason this painting method is favored on most metal surfaces is that while latex or oil-based paints can bubble or easily peel off metal surfaces and traditional painting techniques using rollers or brushes is sure to leave streaks, electrostatic painting guarantees a durable and smooth finish.
In this short read, we’re going to introduce you to everything you need to know about electrostatic painting.
What is electrostatic painting?
Electrostatic painting works in the same way a magnet is attracted to the metal surface on a refrigerator. The negatively charged molecules on the refrigerator attract the positively charged ions on the magnet, and they stick to each other.
Similarly, when you spray paint a metal surface using an electrostatic painting gun, the paint molecules are positively charged in an electric field as they leave the spray nozzles. This electrical charge attracts the paint onto the metal surface they are being aimed at without any deviations.
In fact, the charge is so strong (75 times stronger than gravity), that the paint molecules do not change direction at all from the metal surface.
Electrostatic painting guarantees an even coat every time due to the fact that the paint molecules are attracted to the highest charge, and will land only on unpainted metal surfaces.
This is unlike regular spray painting, where the paint goes only wherever the gun is pointed, and overspray makes it more difficult to get an even surface.
Benefits of electrostatic painting
- Offers a durable finish similar to powder coating without the issues of having to preheat the paint at 400 degrees. Also, unlike powder coating, electrostatic painting does not require an industrial setting for application. It can be applied on site.
- With a 98% transfer rate, the charged paint particles ensure a much more even coat and reduced wastage than conventional spray painting.
- The paint itself may not be cheaper, but the electrostatic coating ensures that a single coat suffices. It also breathes new life into old, rusting metal surfaces and protects them against deterioration for years to come.
- Electrostatic spray painting is a process that is quick and convenient, with a dry time of only a few hours.
- Metal surfaces on which paint has been applied electrostatically have a non-porous surface that is easy to maintain and hygienic.
- There are multiple color options, including custom colors to match existing themes.
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Disadvantages of electrostatic painting
- The paints used have a high concentration of VOC (volatile organic compounds) in them, making them toxic.
- The equipment used to apply paint electrostatically is a lot more expensive than regular painting gear. For this reason, as well as the application process itself, it cannot be a DIY painting project. Homeowners will need to hire trained professionals for the job.
Typical costs for electrostatic painting can vary from a low of $200 to a high of $1,000, with the national average around $500. However, the costs could vary depending on location, size, and complexity of the job, easy access to the worksite as well as the material that needs to be painted.