The Differences of Powder Coating and Wet Paint

The range of paint types and colours and the equipment used to apply them is constantly developing, offering more choice than ever to customers. Powder coating and wet paint are the main paint types for industrial work and are used to protect metals from reacting with oxygen to form rust. Despite serving a similar purpose, the two types of paint have different strengths and weaknesses, which should be considered when deciding which paint to apply to a surface.

Powder Coating

Due to its density, powder coatings are generally thicker than wet paint and applied electrostatically as a dry powder. Applying paint electrostatically uses positive and negative charges to apply the powder coat in a specific order, which helps to prevent an uneven application. Due to this application process, multiple layers of powder coating are seldom required and projects can be completed in less time.

Once applied, the powder paint needs to be cured under heat. Powder coat finishes are usually baked in an oven to create a hard surface that provides more protection to a surface than liquid paint because it’s stronger and less likely to damage. Powder coating also offers a greater degree of flexibility than wet paints, making it ideal for moving parts and items that experience constant vibrations.

Wet Paint

The application of wet paint involves wet-layering liquid coatings, such as epoxy, onto a clean surface using a spray. Wet paint often produces a much thinner coat than powder coating because it is not as dense. Due to its thin density, wet paint is not as durable as powder coatings and does not last as long or provide the same level of protection to the surface. When exposed to variable weather conditions, wet paint coats require touch-ups and an entirely new coat after a few years.

Unlike powder coating, wet paint dries on its own and doesn’t need to be subjected to heat. Therefore, an oven isn’t required and the paint can be applied to materials that can’t withstand heat. As a result, spray painting is much more affordable than powder coating. Having said that, the application of wet paint demands a high level of skill to evenly apply the paint and often requires multiple coats to achieve an even finish.

Wet Paint Allows for More Colours

When a bespoke colour is required, wet paints offer more blending possibilities and a greater range of colours than powder coatings. The final dry state colour of liquid paint is clear to see from the start, which allows a paint specialist to mix and match paints with greater accuracy to achieve a required hue. Unlike wet paint, when different powders are mixed, they don’t create a uniform colour, but a speckled combination of colours. As a result, the hue of the mixed colour is difficult to determine without actually applying it to a surface.

Powder Coating Is More Efficient

Transfer efficiency refers to the amount of paint that is successfully applied to the surface compared to the overall amount of paint used in the process. The electrostatic process ensures that the application of powder coating is highly efficient, with an average transfer efficiency of 60-70%. In comparison, wet paint only has a transfer efficiency of 30-35%. Due to the difficulty of applying an even layer of wet paint, around two thirds is wasted during the application process, whereas only a third of powder paint is usually wasted. This means that powder coating is more efficient than wet paint.


At Mulberry & Pier Protective Coatings Ltd, we’ve worked with wet paints and powder coatings for 30 years, applying them to the complete spectrum of surfaces. Our large factory base HQ contains all the facilities needed to complete wet paint and powder coating projects, while our mobile equipment allows us to travel to your site and complete the desired work with minimal disruption. Our skilled paint coating specialists are highly proficient in the application of all types of paint and will deliver even coats with minimal wastage, reducing the cost you pay.

If you’d like to speak to one of our team about your coating needs, please get in touch.