There are three types of treatments that people use to color projects: powder coating, spray paint, and plasti-dip.  Below is a breakdown of the differences between each type.  

 

Applying Paint

Application Process

Powder Coating

Powder coating is a protective finish applied in powder form.  The powder is made of resin, flow modifiers, pigments, and leveling agents that are melted and ground into a fine powder.  The powder is then applied with an electrostatic gun, helping it attach to the workpiece.  The item is them heated up in a ceramic oven where it is cured, creating strong chemical bonds.  

Spray Paint

Many people use spray paint to quickly paint a project. Apply a primer to help the paint stick better.  After it dries, carefully spray the item with a coat or two of paint.

Plasti-Dip

Plasti-dip is an “air-dry specialty rubber coating,” as the company says on their site. It is flexible, stretchy, and helps protect items against the elements.  It is applied similarly to spray paint.  

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Durability

Powder Coating

If it is applied correctly, powder coating is a very durable to cracking, peeling, abrasion, and corrosion.  Powder coating is also resistant to the elements, including UV rays, wind, snow, rain, etc.  

Spray Paint

Spray paint simply doesn’t last.  It chips easily, even if you use a clear coat finish.  Of course, if you use high quality spray paint, and apply it properly, it will last longer.

Plasti-Dip

Plasti-dip creates a protective barrier, but it doesn’t last very long.  In fact, it is a popular product in the automobile community due to it’s semi-permanence.   It can start to peel if it is exposed to the elements, or even just normal wear and tear.  Plasti-dip is great for things that don’t get much use.

 

Cost

Cost

Powder Coating

Powder coating is the most expensive option between spray painting, plasti-dip and powder coating.  Depending on the size of the project, it can cost as little as $15 or up to a few hundred to powder coat something, depending on the object.  However, it will last much longer than the other options.   

Spray Paint

Spray paint is probably the cheapest route to change the appearance of a object.  It costs about $3-6 a can, and the final cost will depend on the size of the object you want to paint.  However, you will have to re-paint it quite frequently if it chips or is scratched.  

Plasti-Dip

Plasti-dip is more expensive than spray paint per can (about $7-15/can), and if done professionally, it can run close to the cost as powder coating.  Again, the price to plasti-dip something will change depending on how large your project is.

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Limitations

Powder Coating

Unfortunately, powder coating can not be used in all cases.  The project must be electromagnetic as well as able to withstand temperatures of 375 to 400 degrees F.  You cannot powder coat some plastics, wood, rubber, etc.

Spray Paint

Spray paint on the other hand can be used on many different materials: plastic, wood, fiberglass, mirror, metal, etc.  However, there are not very many color options when it comes to spray painting, and you do have to be careful when using it, as the vapors are toxic.  

Plasti-Dip

Plasti-dip can easily be torn or ripped, so if you put it on something that gets a lot of wear, you will have to replace it soon.  You also are limited to the amount of colors that you can choose from.  Compared to spray paint and powder coating, it doesn’t look quite as nice.