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Is It Possible to Powder Coat Chrome Materials?

December 12, 2016

It's difficult to maintain a peel-free chrome coating, especially when salt-heavy air and abrasive weather conditions corrupt that fine sheen. Unfortunately, it's hard to powder coat this slick plating. Mud won't adhere to the coating, so why would a powder coating? But, as ever, there are ways around this obstacle if you're willing to make a few sacrifices.

Straight Answers: Can You Coat 'Over' The Chrome?

The short answer, unfortunately, is an emphatic no, you just can't get away with a professional look, one that's aesthetically attractive and weather sealed. In theory, some studios advocate a "roughing up" stage. This abraded surface is not uniform, though, and full powder adherence is not assured. It's a subjective matter, of course, with some coating technicians taking the chance that a diligently sanded chrome surface will pick up enough of the powdery medium. Otherwise, adherence issues are going to cause major headaches.

The Long Answer: Using Abrasive Solutions

Again, this is a subjective answer, at best. The shiny substrate can be scoured away manually with an abrasive tool or an acid bath. This step adds "bite" to what's left, but the stripped finish is uneven. A seasoned hand will be required to get a professional finish, at this point. Quite frankly, most powder coating shops will balk at the prospect, but usable results are possible. The question is, will the final product be viable? Will it be sealed against all weathering influences and look as silky smooth as it should? Perhaps the better option is to reverse course and opt for a chemical strip, yes?

The Best Solution: Chemical Stripping

The flaking chrome reveals a delicate aluminium underside or a relatively mild alloy beneath the shiny coating. A sandblasting operation will obviously remove the shiny plating, but it may also damage the metal below. A chemical peel doesn't cause any damage to the base metal, well, as long as the right compound is employed. But don't take chances with highly reactive chemicals. That's what specialist workshops and preprocessing facilities are for, after all.

The case for powder coating chrome is a weak one. Certainly, the subjective approach will yield results by removing the polished substrate, but this is an amateurish route, so expect amateurish results. The best way forward is to discuss preprocessing options with the powder coating shop. Wash away the plating and replace it with a chrome-like powder coat, a thicker, more protective finish that's much "greener" than the chrome and nickel variant.

GP Industries Pty Ltd

Head Office

1 Regal Court,
Vermont South VIC 3133

Phone: (03) 9802 1355

Fax: (03) 9802 6027

Email: gp_ind@bigpond.com

Factory

Factory G,
20 Burgess Road,
Bayswater North VIC 3153

Phone: (03) 9761 7676

Fax: (03) 9761 7671

Email: gpfactory@bigpond.com

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