What Is Clear Powder Coating?


powder coated wheelsClear powder coat has a great many applications in the world of powder coating—probably more than you think. Here is a look at what clear powder coating is exactly and how you can use it.

Types of clear coat

Clear coats come in all different types, but acrylic thermosetting powder is the most commonly used type of powder for clear coats. (In fact, acrylic powder is used mainly for clear powder coating.) Acrylic clear coat, as you’ll remember from our post on different powder coat types, has strong clarity and is highly chip resistant. It also tends to be smoother and more clear than clear coats made from other types of powders. These traits make acrylic a prime option for a clear coat.

One important thing to remember with clear coating is that no clear coat is invisible. Every type of clear coat has its own finished look, so the clear coat that you choose largely depends on the type of shine and clarity that you want. You’ll find clear coats in varying gloss levels from flat to semi gloss to full gloss.

Clear coat uses

Clear powder coat can, of course, be used as an added layer of protection over colored powder coats. It can even enhance the look of a colored powder coating, such as by applying a high gloss clear coat over a gloss black coat. Clear coat can also add durability to a powder coat finish—especially when it is carefully applied mid-way through the curing process of the first coat, as this allows both coats to cross link and bond with one another.

There are a number of other particular scenarios that call for clear coating or clear coat resins as well. When working with chrome powders, for example, it is essential to finish with a clear coat on top. Otherwise, the aluminum flakes in the powder will oxidize very quickly and will begin to resemble bare, unfinished aluminum, making for an unattractive finish. Some powder coatings, meanwhile, are actually porous on a microscopic scale and therefore are not the best corrosion barrier coatings. These decorative coatings are best finished with a primer-top coat finish or with a primer-top coat-clear coat finish in order to add durability and functionality. And sometimes acrylic resins are added to polyester based powders to improve flow and leveling and enhance stain.