Powder Coating – A Hard Finish For Outdoor Metal Furniture

Mom 2 gave us three of her metal outdoor chairs a few years ago.  Two of them are at one end of our front porch – and were previously painted yellow.

Yellow Metal Porch Chairs

The cheery cherry red one was at the kitchen end of the porch.

Red Metal Porch Chair

Notice the chipped paint on the legs.  It was time to do something about the finish on all three chairs plus three metal tables Mom 2 also gave us.  I took them to our local monument company, where they make headstones and such.

Furniture Waiting for Sandblasting

I’d heard they could sand blast our chippy metal furniture, so I left them for a few days.

Sandblasting in Process

They did a thorough job of getting all the paint off the chairs and tables.  Here they are, paint-less and rust-free.

Sandblasted Chairs

National Custom Craft (Nettleton, MS) is a company that gives a baked-on finish to metal, called powder coating.  I took the chairs and tables to them for the special treatment.  This company typically does huge jobs for businesses, but they will do small jobs like these chairs if you ask them real nice.  😉

If you do a Google search, you may find a powder coat finishing business in your general area.

The first step is an acid wash.

Acid Wash

The metal pieces hang to dry.  These were some sort of industrial parts they were coating the day of my visit.

Drying Metal

The next step is to add the coating inside the huge kiln seen below.  The paint is actually powder that is attracted to the electrostatically charged metal.  It is then heated to 800° inside this kiln so the powder will form a tight skin.  It bonds the paint to the metal and forms a nice, even finish.  It is supposedly chip-free for life and can be removed only with high-powered chemicals or extensive and exhaustive sand blasting.

I was told to choose my color wisely because it will be pretty final.  After recently devoting a lot of time painting our porch rockers, final sounded real nice.

Metal Kiln

Mr. Sullivan, the owner of National Custom Craft explained that the chairs Mom 2 gave me were made in the 70’s and are very well made.

The formerly red chair is the oldest and has cast decorative parts (metal poured into a form).

Cast Decorations

The two formerly yellow chairs are from later in the 70’s and were stamped (flat metal with imprinting stamped into it).

Stamped Leaves

The chairs we find for sale today are made of cheap metal that is not worth preserving in powder coating.   Mr. Sullivan explained that when we purchase the cheaper line of metal furnishings, it’s best to use them well during the few years they last, and then discard them when they fail – and buy new again.

Since the powder coating is expected to last forever, I decided to go with basic black, rather than yellow or red.  With pillows, I can change my color scheme easily, and they go well with our white porch rockers, white house, and black shutters.  Black is timeless, isn’t it?

Here’s their new look.

Newly Painted Metal Chairs

I do miss the former colors of yellow and red, and the black is too bland for my taste with the current cushions.  I’ll be adding some pops of color with pillows this year.  It’s highly possible that I’ll cover those cushions before they actually wear out, too. 😉

Powder Coated Metal Chair

The total cost for sand blasting and powder coating three chairs and three tables was $250.00.  Gulp!  I know…not my usual DIY budget.  But, since the furniture was given to us (and we want to take good care of it), we decided the extra money was worth having hassle-free porch chairs and tables for many years in the future.

Newly Coated Chair

A less expensive option is to have the sand blasters give the furniture a thorough coating of primer immediately after removing all paint and rust, which eliminates any time for flash rust to occur.  Then you can spray-paint the furniture yourself.  The total cost for my project with this option would have been $150-$175.  (My DIY ways are hard to give up, y’all!)  This would also leave your options open for changing the paint color(s) at your every whim later.

What do you think?  Was it worth the extra money?  Is this powder coating process something you’d like to have done to your rusty deteriorating metal outdoor furniture?

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    • Kim says

      Thank you, Jenna. I think this coating would be good for salt-water areas, too. 🙂

  1. says

    TOTALLY worth the extra money!!! I can’t imagine having to undertake a project like that! I recently investigated the cost of having a settee and 2 chairs powder-coated, and the bottom line just chased me away. It was close to $600. I don’t love the set THAT much!!! I don’t know what my other options might be to hold onto it for a few years more, but I’ll cross that bridge only if I have to. Chances are we won’t be entertaining outdoors very much this summer.

    I think the black was a great choice. You’ll have a ton of color options to use along with it to bring it to life. It’s a great neutral.
    Alycia Nichols recently posted…Easter in Pink & GreyMy Profile

    • Kim says

      Thanks for sharing your cost estimate, Alycia. It is a lot of money, so I think only worth it if you love the furniture and want to keep it forever. 🙂

  2. Jeanne says

    I think these look great! We spent a hefty sum on our patio table and chairs about 7 years ago. Its one of those heavy cast aluminum that looks like wrought iron. The finish is already showing chips and wear. I spent this spring sanding down and priming and spray painting the table and chairs. I ran out of steam and didn’t get the bakers rack done. Its on my to- do list for fall when it cools down a bit outside and we aren’t doing as much entertaining around the pool.

    • says

      Thank you, Jeanne! We have a set of cast aluminum table and chairs on our patio, but the paint remains in good shape. It’s about 15 years old, so I’m surprised we haven’t had to repaint it yet. I cannot imagine having to sand down that table and all six chairs of basket-weave design. Talk about a lot of work! I can see how you ran out of steam for the baker’s rack. I’m interested in the type of primer and paint you used. I’m sure other readers would like to know, too. I hope the baker’s rack goes easier when you tackle it this fall! 🙂

  3. Jeanne says

    I forgot to say … I love the black. However, if it were my porch I’d be painting that little bench/side table a bright red and maybe even the obelisk in the corner to bring that pop of color back to the area.