After we have poured our hearts into a new gate design and fabrication, the finish can be the icing on the cake that makes everyone “OOH” and “AHH”.  Or, it can be completely distracting in all the wrong ways … like orange hair on an otherwise beautiful brunette.

Besides that, the finish needs to be durable – protecting and keeping your gate looking great over time.  We cringe at the site of rust runs on an otherwise beautiful gate.  It is so sad.

Most of what you find on the internet touts the superiority of powder coating over painting, but if you call us – we are going to recommend painting your gate.

Because Accidents Happen

One half of our reasoning for paint is because of who we build the custom gates for:

  • Parents or grandparents of teenagers that drive too fast.
  • Horse and cattle ranches with big trucks and trailers operated by employees who cut a corner a little too close.
  • Businesses where delivery trucks are not always paying attention.
  • Mobile phone users … (all of us) who forget what we are doing, and stop in the middle of an electric gate that it will automatically close while we are not paying attention.

NOTE! We are NOT arguing the virtues of powder coating.  It is just not the best option for our custom gates.

Since we are also in the gate maintenance and repair business, we get the calls to fix our works of art when these rather inevitable accidents happen.  If the gates were painted, and the damage isn’t too bad, we can fix what is broke and retouch the paint without too much expense. But, even when the damage is minimal to a gate that has been powder coated, you will need to have the entire gate sandblasted and re-powder coated.  Insurance adjusters don’t always see it that way.

Reasons We Prefer Paint
  • Both applications seal the metal from exposure equally well.
  • Quality paint applied properly can last just as long as powder coating.
  • Paint can look just as good (or better).
  • If our trusted painters are busy, we have the equipment and expertise in-house to paint our gates.
  • We do not have an in house means to powder coat our gates. We’ve not found a reliable powder coater that cares as much as we do about a flawless finish on our gates.  We recently had to sand and repaint a gate at our own expense because the Fort Worth company we used did such a poor job.
What about rust?

You don’t want to see rust runs on your gate after the first rain.  And, powder coating is supposed to be superior because it is thicker and more durable, right?

The problem with that argument is the reason for rust runs are the pinholes left in the welds – not the finish.  Powder coating does not fill in these pinholes, so you will see rust on both powder coated and painted gates.

fresh pin hole

fresh pin hole

rusty pin hole

rusty old pin hole

resulting rust from pinhole

resulting rust runs from pinhole

 

If you don’t want to see rust, you need to choose a fabricator that takes the time to weld your custom gate properly.  You can easily see the difference.  So, ask to see past works as you are shopping.

custom iron driveway gate

good weld

good weld

good weld

bad weld

rusty old bad weld

 

In all honesty, the occasional pinhole will occur.  When it does, it should be filled in properly. The process and product is a little different depending on whether you are painting or powder coating.

  • PAINTING – Pinholes are sealed with automotive body filler or seam sealer between the priming and painting processes.
  • POWDER COATING – The first step is sandblasting. Then, because the powder coating process will cook out body filler, an oven cured sealant must be used.  But again, we’ve not found a vendor that is willing to take the time to do this.

A great alternative is to go with a forced-rust finish.  If this option works for your design, it is a low-maintenance, economical and “rustic-chic” finish. (I got that term from Pinterest).  Our forced-rust finish has been very popular among several of our clients.

Another way to avoid rust all together is to select aluminum instead of steel.  We want the gates and doors we design and build to forever be our artistic contribution to your ranch, driveway, or home.  It is a bit more of an investment on the front end, but aluminum will never rust.

We are fans of aluminum, but I’ll save more on that for a future blog post.

What are your concerns about paint? What other reasons have you heard for powder coating? What do you think about a force-rusted finish or aluminum?

We look forward to any comments or questions.

If you have time, visit our gate gallery and let us know your thoughts.

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