To refinish or repaint a metal part or product (such as expensive car wheels, frames, etc.), you will often need to strip away the powder coating.
But the greatest strength of powder coating, the durability, is what makes it difficult to remove.
So, in my opinion, unless it is necessary, you should not try to remove powder coating from metals.
But if you do need to remove the powder coating from metal for any reason, the easiest method is to try sandblaster. Although it won’t be easy, the process can work and help you remove powder coat from most metals successfully.
Alternatively, there are a few different ways that you can go about it.
What follows is a simple guide that might help you remove the powder coating safely.
What's Covered in the Article:
Removing Powder Coating from Metal
These methods and tips will help you retreat the metal surfaces later as per your requirements.
Method 1- Chemical Stripper to Get Powder Coat Off
The chemical stripper is normally the first option available. You can choose from a wide variety of chemical strippers depending on the application.
For example, a high production setting where plenty of powder coating will need to be removed may require a dip tank.
However, if a dip tank is not an option because of the size of the part or product, then you will need to use a brush.
There are different chemical strippers available that are specific to either dip tank or brush use.
Arguably the biggest pro in using a chemical stripper is that you will get an even result. This is especially true if you use the dip tank method.
This is the main advantage of using a chemical stripper is that the part or product should be uniformly cleaned off the powder coating.
Plus, you can use chemical strippers for either large or small parts or products equally. I
It helps that the purchase price of most strippers is quite low and affordable.
The biggest issue with chemical strippers is the danger they present.
Using a chemical stripper will require protection, most normally a respirator or mask that can filter out harmful chemicals.
Plus, you will need to work in an area that is well-ventilated.
The disposal of chemical strippers will also require some environmental guidelines, as you can’t just pour them down the drain.
However, one drawback may not be a disadvantage at all, depending on why you are stripping away the powder coating.
The chemical stripper will leave no profile behind on the part or product.
If you are planning on using paint to cover the surface after removing the powder coating, the lack of a profile may make it more difficult for the paint to stick properly.
This means using additional methods to create a profile for the paint to adhere properly to the surface.
Requirements of Chemical Strippers:
Depending on the extent or the area in which you need to use a chemical stripper, using a piece of proper equipment to get the job done can help a lot.
For a small spot, you may only need a brush or cloth to apply the stripper.
While a large area may require a dip tank, and finally, you will need a safe way to dispose of the stripper once its work is done.
Method 2- Heat Removal for Powder Coating
If you are uncomfortable using chemical strippers or want a profile on the surface after the powder coating is removed, heat removal may be the answer.
Applying intense heat will either fluidize, bake, or burn away the powder coating without using chemicals.
There is a difference between the three results that you must consider before using heat in the removal system.
This is a stripping system that is abrasive in nature and causes the bed of the coating to heat up to 800 degrees Fahrenheit.
640 to 750 degrees Fahrenheit for 3 to 6 hours. You will need to wash away the remaining powder once the process has been completed.
1000 to 1200 degrees Fahrenheit, which should burn away the coating in just minutes.
This provides rapid results, but the part or product will need to withstand the high temperature.
Heat removal is fast, efficient, and does not use any dangerous chemicals, so there is nothing to dispose of.
If you have large amounts of powder coating to be removed, heat may be your best solution.
While heat removal has its advantages, there are some significant issues as well.
One of the most prominent is the cost of heat removal, which may run into thousands of dollars.
Plus, you may also have to pay for the natural gas or electricity used to generate that much heat.
Even getting that type of heat in an oven may be quite the challenge.
You will need to purchase a special wash that will remove the burnt remains of the powder coating once the heat has been applied.
And just like using a chemical stripper, there will not be a profile that remains after the powder coating has been removed, which makes the part or product more challenging to paint.
Method 3- Abrasive Blasting to Blast Away Powder Coats
The third option is to use abrasive blasting.
As the name suggests, this process uses a media that is abrasive in nature which is propelled at high speeds to wear down the powder coating.
This is often known as sandblasting, even if sand is not used.
You will need to set up a room or cabinet for the blasting to take place.
The material you use for the blasting process will depend on how much powder coating needs to be removed.
So, you may need to run a few tests on small areas to find the right one.
A “sandblasting cabinet” is better suited to remove powder coating from small parts. While a “sandblast room” is better for larger parts or products.
For small parts, abrasive blasting may be the best method available. It’s simple, fast, and works well with most products or parts.
Additionally, the blasting will leave a profile behind so you can paint the part or product easier.
As fast as abrasive blasting is, it is not as fast as chemical strippers or even some methods of heat removal.
Plus, it can be quite expensive to use depending on the size and number of parts or products that need abrasive blasting.
You will need to use compressed air, which may be problematic depending on your situation.
Method 4- Laser for Stripping Away Powder Coat
Lasers can do a lot of things, including removing powder coating from surfaces.
Depending on the type of powder coating, the laser may be the best removal system available.
But when trying this method, you will need to be extra cautious.
The laser is versatile enough to be used on small to large surfaces.
It does not alter the substrate, which means you do not have to worry about the environment once it is completed.
There is no heat involved in laser removal, and it will not alter the surface of the product.
Lasers can be quite expensive to rent or maintain, especially for those who only occasionally remove powder coating.
The Bottom Line
So, there you have it—everything you need to know about removing powder coating from metal. If you are careful and take your time, the processes I mentioned above are not too complex.
Just be sure to follow all of the safety precautions and use the right tools and chemicals, and you should be able to get the job done without any problems.
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One of the easiest ways to remove powder coating is chemically. Benco B17 is an industrial liquid chemical stripper that has a high concentration of methylene chloride that removes sturdy powder coating in less than 20 minutes.What is the best way to remove powder coating from aluminum? ›
The easiest way of powder coating stripping from aluminum objects is with a strong gasket remover, solvent chemicals, or removing powder coat with a heat gun. Simply spray on all sides of your desired section, let it sit for 15-20 minutes (you'll notice bubbles and peeling), then peel away.Can you reverse powder coating? ›
Thermoplastic powder coating finishes become liquid and very soft when heated. This eliminates chemical bonding. This process makes the powder coating both reversible and reusable.Will paint thinner remove Powdercoat? ›
NEVER use solvents such as acetone, contact cleaners, thinners or Methyl Ethyl Ketone (MEK) to clean powder coating finishes. These solvents are very damaging to the powder coat and will soften and/or dissolve the surface of the coating, diminishing its shine and durability or removing the finish altogether.Will rubbing alcohol damage powder coat? ›
Do not rub powder coated surfaces excessively, especially metallic finishes. Use only Isopropyl alcohol (IPA) or methylated spirits and rinse off with clean fresh water. It is universally recognized some sunscreens adversely affect powder coated finishes.Can you sand powder coat off? ›
Though its durability is one of its greatest strengths, it is possible to remove powder coating from a substrate without destroying it in the process. You can remove powder coating with a chemical stripper, abrasive blasting, or extreme heat. There are even lasers designed to remove coatings.Can you sand down powder coat? ›
Sanding and buffing the powder finish can eliminate surface trash and some defects. This also helps smooth out orange peel that naturally occurs with most powder coatings on parts where the powder thickness is excessive in a particular area.Will mineral spirits remove powder coat? ›
Do not use turpentine, white spirits, thinners, citrus based cleaners or other aggressive solvents on powder coating. Ensure all paint splatters or excess sealant are immediately removed before they dry.What chemicals damage powder coating? ›
Harsh cleaners and solvents like acetone can actually damage powder coating.Does powder coating come off easily? ›
Aesthetically, the powder finish may look great however it will have poor adhesion and be quite brittle which makes it susceptible to chipping, cracking and flaking off from the substrate.
Aluminum Oxide – Aluminum oxide is a great blast media for powder coating removal. It can often be one of the fastest medias to remove powder coating but is an expensive media to purchase which makes it most useful in a blast room where it can be recovered.Will CitriStrip remove powder coating? ›
If it comes up easily, head to the sink to rinse the gel off your tumbler. Make sure you really clean out your sink since you don't want that CitriStrip stripping the powder coating off your sink! You can also pull off the stencil and the painter's tape as well.How do you mask off powder coating? ›
- Wear gloves in order to avoid oil from your fingers from contaminating the surface and the tape.
- Apply pressure with a squeegee or roller to get adhesive linked to the metal to prevent any leakage.
- Remove the tape soon after part is done baking.
In a burn off system temperatures can reach 1000 - 1200 degrees farenheit and in a matter of minutes have all the powder coating removed from the products surface. This solution is typically used for high production facilities due to its ability to rapidly remove powder coating.Can powder coating be painted over? ›
Unfortunately, you cannot paint directly onto a surface after powder coating, as the liquid paint would not bind effectively with the flat and smooth finish. While it is difficult to paint after powder coating, it is not impossible; it just requires more preparation.Can you remelt powder coat? ›
Because the changes after curing are permanent, this type of coating will not remelt under intense temperatures. Plus, it provides better scratch resistance compared to thermoplastics. Thermoset powder coatings develop thinner films, which can be more visually appealing than some thermoplastic.What temperature does powder coat burn off? ›
The oven temperature is set between 650-750F, which is generally the temperature where the coating will degrade and eventually ignite. The byproducts of this process (VOCs) are often destroyed by afterburners in the exhaust stack.Does aircraft remover work on powder coat? ›
Chemical stripping involves using chemicals like an aircraft stripping agent to remove a powder coating.Is Simple Green safe on powder coat? ›
Dawn or Simple Green cleaners would be our first recommendations. These solutions should be followed by an adequate rinse of water. Use cloth, sponges or a soft bristle brush for application.Will vinegar harm powder coating? ›
Vinegar won't hurt the coating but you'll need to sharpen it afterwards thus defeating the point of soaking in the first place. If you polish the relief it will be less prone to rusting in the future.
An ultrasonic cleaner can remove powder coating using the right solution in a matter of minutes. Dip it in sulphuric acid, it is commonly available, it is the cheapest way to remover powder coating paint, care should be taken sulphuric acid do not come in contact with your skin.What grit sandpaper for powder coating? ›
Start with 120 grit sandpaper and work towards finer grades until the surface is smooth to the touch. Small localized surface defects can be removed using wet sanding techniques with very fine (1000 to 2000 grit) sandpaper. In this case, keeping the repair area as small as possible is best.What causes orange peel in powder coating? ›
'Orange peel' can occur when the surface has not been prepared properly before the coating is added. The way that coating is applied can also be a cause, as can the way it is cured after application. Surfaces can be prepared for powder coating with sandblasting or immersion in zinc or phosphate.Will acetone remove paint from metal? ›
But, as a solution to remove paints from the metal surface, chemicals are considered as one of the best options in recent times. All over the globe, Ammonia and Acetone are the two widely used chemicals to remove paint from the metal surface.What paint to use on powder coated metal? ›
If your customer repaints, recommend using thermosetting acrylic, epoxy, polyester or polyurethane enamels. Although they may not provide the same quality, air drying enamels including aerosol spray can paints will adhere as well.What metals Cannot be powder coated? ›
Metals that are not electrically conductive, like those that use certain fillers, cannot be powder coated.What is more durable than powder coating? ›
STEEL-IT® stainless steel based industrial coating – a top alternative to powder coating – is tougher, lasts longer, and offers superior protection against corrosion and abrasion.What causes spots in powder coat? ›
Back ionization occurs when a powder coat becomes to thick and as a result can cause the surface to become insulated which causes new particles of powder to lay unevenly and can result in dots on your product's surface. You can often see this issue when you apply the powder as small craters in the powders surface.What happens if you over cured powder coat? ›
Over-curing powder coating may result in cracks and breaks in the finish, forcing you to sandblast the part and start all over. Also the thinner areas of your product will cure faster than thicker areas, so keep an eye out for it to cook just long enough for the thickest part to reach proper temperature and cure.Is powder coating permanent? ›
Powder coating is an excellent alternative to paint that provides a near-indestructible, permanent, and even coating that is simple to apply and environmentally friendly.
When a coating is baked too long or at too high of a temperature, the polymer or pigments break down causing a drop in gloss, change in color, or yellowing. It is not recommended to expose a typical powder coating above 410°F.What is the most common blasting media? ›
Aluminum Oxide is the most widely used abrasive blasting media. Its versatility and strength against a variety of materials – from metal, to glass, to wood – make it a favorite “go-to” for manufacturers and industry professionals doing surface prep.What is the best way to paint over powder coated metal? ›
A: Unfortunately, powder coatings are very hard and do not easily allowed other coatings to adhere. A better method for recoating the powder is to lightly sand it with 180 grit sand paper, solvent wipe and then follow with a two-component epoxy primer followed by the enamel of your choice.What is the most aggressive blasting media? ›
Aluminum oxide blast media is one of the more aggressive blasting materials that can offer fast results and superior strength.Does CitriStrip work on metal? ›
Use CITRISTRIP® to remove multiple layers of dried latex and oil-based paint, varnish, lacquer, polyurethane and shellac from wood, metal and masonry surfaces.Can you use denatured alcohol to clean CitriStrip? ›
You can use Mineral Spirits or Denatured Alcohol to remove residue after stripping paint. Just be sure to follow the safe usage directions on their containers.Which masking tape is used for powder coating? ›
Go-to powder coating tapes
3M™ Polyester Tapes 8991 and 8992 provide sharp mask lines and clean removal after bake processes. These general-purpose tapes excel in high temp powder coat operations and feature a silicone adhesive that bonds to a variety of difficult surfaces.
Masking is an essential step of the powder coating process. Before applying primers, powders and finishes to a metal surface, high-temperature silicone plugs and/or tapes should block off areas so that they are not powder coated.How do you remove powder coating from rust? ›
If a powder coated part starts to rust, there's no choice but to sand down the rusty pieces thoroughly (or blast the whole part, if it's too far gone) and start the powder coating process from scratch.Can you paint over metal that has been powder coated? ›
A: Unfortunately, powder coatings are very hard and do not easily allowed other coatings to adhere. A better method for recoating the powder is to lightly sand it with 180 grit sand paper, solvent wipe and then follow with a two-component epoxy primer followed by the enamel of your choice.
The oven temperature is set between 650-750F, which is generally the temperature where the coating will degrade and eventually ignite. The byproducts of this process (VOCs) are often destroyed by afterburners in the exhaust stack.What causes powder coating to peel off? ›
Even if the substrate is correctly pre-treated, the powder coating may break down if it is not cured adequately. Powder coating takes a certain amount of time at a particular temperature to cure properly and powder that is under-cured will not be the most durable even though it may appear intact.
Flow out is a vital part of the powder coating process because it ensures that the dry powder transforms into an even film to coat and protect the surface it is applied to. Most powder coatings will cure at temperatures of 200°C and take between 10 and 15 minutes to do this.How do you remove dry powder? ›
- Step One: File Down the Top Coat. ...
- Step Two: Soak Nails in Acetone. ...
- Step Three: Wipe Remaining Powder Polish Off.
Dip nails can be removed without acetone using white vinegar, alcohol, or baking soda and toothpaste.Will rubbing alcohol damage powder coating? ›
Do not rub powder coated surfaces excessively, especially metallic finishes. Use only Isopropyl alcohol (IPA) or methylated spirits and rinse off with clean fresh water. It is universally recognized some sunscreens adversely affect powder coated finishes.What paint will stick to powder coating? ›
If your customer repaints, recommend using thermosetting acrylic, epoxy, polyester or polyurethane enamels. Although they may not provide the same quality, air drying enamels including aerosol spray can paints will adhere as well.What can damage powder coating? ›
Powder coatings can be damaged by harsh solvents. A number of commercial cleaning products can cause damage to these types of finishes. Once the finish has become damaged, it is much more vulnerable to fading, staining and failure of the finish itself.