Hartley Magazine

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In Praise of Powder Coating

Glass artist Barbara Sanderson relies on powder coating for long-lasting supports. (B. Sanderson)

Of course, any Hartley Botanic structure is colored using the powder coating process. That happens at the factory. But I never thought about using it for small items.  If you have rusted tables, chairs, containers, or shelving that you’ve never have gotten around to refurbishing with a coat of spray paint, consider powder coating instead. You avoid doing the scraping and sanding, and you can have the exact color you want, along with the assurance that you won’t be doing any more maintenance on that piece for a long time. Prices are reasonable, compared to buying new.

I started on my own powder-coating journey of discovery when I needed to save a custom-made steel cover that sits over my septic tank lid. It had rusted badly. The cost of remaking the plate was prohibitive. Someone suggested powder coating it. So, I hauled my cover in the back of my SUV to a local shop, Karam Coatings. The folks were so helpful. The round metal plate came out great. It sits on a small rock patio—aren’t all septic tanks right where you don’t want them? Instead of trying to make it blend in, I chose a color that stands out, as if it were purposeful décor.

Matching the color of the steel plate to the house accent was easy with custom choice powder coating.

I learned that powder coating is relatively environmentally friendly; it uses no solvents and little volatile organic compounds (VOC). Fine powder is sprayed onto a prepared surface (all dirt, grease, and rust removed by sandblasting or chemicals) and cured with heat.

And then I was off into the world of powder coating possibilities. I was so pleased with the steel cover’s revival, I transported a garden bench to Karam Coatings. This was a really ugly bench where everyone who sat on it came away with rust-colored stripes. Many would have said it was a candidate for the landfill. A week later, I had a great new bench, which is weather protected, and will spend many more years in my garden.

Before powder coating this rusted steel bench looked beyond repair.
After powder coating. this bench will be a garden focal point for years to come.
Barbara Sanderson’s glass art Blue Poppy is supported by powder-coated steel.(B. Sanderson)

My colleague, garden photographer Grace Hensley, also found powder coating to be beneficial when she inherited her mother’s outdoor furniture. “Sending this vintage set to the powder coating firm saved me hours of time,” she says. “I was so grateful that I didn’t have to use paint stripper, and get a wire brush out and clean off the original paint, and then do a bad job spraying it with the new color.”


Photographer Grace Hensley updated her mother’s vintage garden funiture with a new fun color. (G. Hensley)

And another friend, glass artist Barabra Sanderson, always uses powder-coated metal to support her creations. “I personally don’t like rusty metal in my garden art,” she says. “I know quite a few people do but I just think it looks messy. So, the powder coating is very long-lasting and prevents rust from forming.”

Garden photographer Grace Hensley saved special momentos from her mom’s garden with powder coating. (G. Hensley)