How do you powder-coat architectural façades for marine environments?

In a nutshell:

  • Powder-coating is often overlooked by specifiers of architectural façades for marine locations 
  • Compared with anodising, it can be more cost-effective, with a wider range of colours and textures 
  • Powder-coating is best applied up to 80 microns thick to perform well in marine locations 
  • Thicker layers may lead to imperfections on the surface and fail to meet fire regulations 
  • Talk to a façade specialist or certified powder-coating applicator before making any decisions

A commonly held view in the façade industry that you don’t... that anodising is the better option for protecting metal against the corrosive effects of salty air in seaside locations. 

And, to a degree, that’s true. But powder-coating can be more cost-effective than anodising, with a wider range of colours and textures. So, it’s worth taking a closer look. 

The downside of powder-coating 

To achieve the best protection in marine environments, powder-coating is best applied to the architectural façade at a thickness of up to 80 microns (compared to up to 60 microns in other locations). Not only can this be more expensive, there’s also a risk of imperfections on the surface. Also, powder-coating generally doesn’t achieve a non-combustible A1 fire rating – an important factor in architectural façade specifying.

Remember, building control officers may be willing to sign-off A2-rated powder-coating, depending on where it is and what it’s being used for. 

Compare the fire ratings of powder-coating and anodised finishes

Making a decision 

Despite some downsides, powder-coating has a lot going for it. So, when faced with a marine location, it’s best to talk to a façade specialist or certified powder-coating applicator. 

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