Powder Coating vs. Resin Based – Which is Better & What Sets Them Apart?

terracast Blog

Powder coating vs. resin – which one is better for the longevity of a product? To understand what sets these two types of products apart, it’s important to know how they are formed in the first place. All of our aluminum products are powder coated, and we also offer an extensive line of resin-based products. Therefore, we understand there are pros to both options but without doubt, resin offers a stronger and longer lasting finished product.

What is Powder Coating?

Powder coating, which originated in the 1960s, is the act of adding dry polymer finish to a surface after it has been mechanically or chemically cleaned to remove all oils, dirt, oxidation, and old finishes.

Powder coating results in a nice-looking finish that is tough and durable. The process can be done on a small or large scale, using a powder spray gun and a large or small oven. The gun provides an electrostatic charge to powder particles as they pass through, these particles are attracted to the charge.

After applying the powder to the parts, it is cured in an oven. This causes everything to melt and cross-link together so that the powder coating creates a tough outer layer that is resistant to scratches and other damages. Although, the inside of the product is not powder coated, and so, when salt and moisture find a way in, they can still cause damages such as corrosion. 

What is Resin?

Resin is different in that it isn’t a coating applied on top of a product, instead the protective outer layer and coloring are baked into and throughout the entire product. Resin is often confused for a type of plastic, but it’s so much more than that. Our resin is a composite blend that is rotationally molded to form strong and flexible products. Resin can be made to look like stone and other materials, although it is lighter, non-porous, and far more durable over time.

We start with a Linear Low Density Polyethylene (LLDPE) that is a true resin blend. Starting off as a powder, it is heated until it liquefies and can be poured into a mold. From there, the mold is baked and rotated the entire time to create an even finish.

Our resin is blended with UV-12 inhibitors to offer vibrant colors that hold over the years.

Learn more about our unique resin

Powder Coating vs Resin – Which is Stronger?

Powder coated products do not have the same long-standing strength as resin. Due to the unique process used to create our resin-based products, they are extremely durable, flexible, and resistant to breaking, shattering and cracking.

You can powder coat a variety of materials, but once that outer layer starts to break down, the material beneath may rust, corrode, or show other signs of issue. Resin is the makeup of the product, not just the outer layer. Therefore, you don’t have to worry about rust or corrosion as you would with most powder coated products.

While powder coating can’t offer quite as many benefits as resin, it is much better than using traditional paint. Powder coating does not run or drip like regular paint. Plus, it provides a more uniform appearance and is better for the environment.

Powder Coating Benefits

  • When compared to paint, it is safer for employees and the environment as it does not release volatile organic compounds into the atmosphere.
  • It is more durable and aesthetically pleasing than traditional paint
  • After initial startup costs, it is more cost effective than painting and it takes less time
  • Resistant to chips (but not forever)
  • More time efficient to produce products like this vs painting

Drawbacks to Powder Coating:

  • Not easy to match certain paint colors
  • It is tricky to touch up products that chip or begin to discolor in places
  • There are many different mistakes that can occur in the manufacturing process
  • The outer coating will eventually begin to break down from exposure to the elements and everyday wear and tear.

Powder coating can be applied to many different materials, and at the end of the day, the strength of the underlying material matters in terms of how long the product will last. While powder coating creates a durable product, the outer layer isn’t thick enough to prevent all forms of water damage or scratches, indefinitely. Instead, this outer layer will start to break down over time. Large cuts or dings to the surface will let moisture into whatever material is beneath the powder-coated surface, thus allowing degradation to begin.

Resin Benefits

  • Instead of an outer coating, it is the base for the product and is therefore less likely to fade, chip, crack or show other signs of damage.
  • Will last a lifetime
  • Extremely strong and durable
  • Lightweight and flexible
  • UV inhibitors are baked directly into the product to help reduce the effects of sun exposure and to maintain brighter colors over time.
  • Non-porous and non-hydroscopic – that means it is not susceptible to water damage, rust, leaks, or discoloration.
  • Can be customized to look like stone or other materials

Drawbacks to resin:

Honestly, we can’t think of any! Of course, there are certain applications where powder coating makes a better option, but for the most part, resin-based products are a win-win.

Resin vs. Powder Coating

Powder coating can make an excellent option when it is properly done. Although, we can’t deny that resin offers a stronger and more reliable finished product. After all, resin is superior to powder coating in a lot of ways. For one, resin-based products can last a lifetime. You see how light poles are often rusted at the bottom? That doesn’t happen with resin-based products.

Speaking of light poles… if your light poles are rusted or falling apart, you can rebase the bottom of the pole with a resin-based attachment piece made by TerraCast. That way, you don’t have to replace the entire pole, but you can improve the overall appearance and slow down damage. Learn more about our Light Post Bases