Can You Clear Coat Over Powder Coat? (Explained)

Powder coating leaves behind a durable finish, irrespective of the surface it is applied. Clear coat, on the other hand, offers two main benefits. It protects finishes from the elements and improves aesthetics.

If you intend to clear coat over powder coat, your main reason should be to enhance the gloss and not offer more protection.

So, you can use a clear coat over a powder coat only for aesthetic purposes. If you want to protect powder coat, you should know that it is ten times as strong as a clear coat and won’t need much protection.

Also, whether you should or shouldn’t use a clear coat over a powder coat depends on the project you are working on and your end goal. On various detailing forums, you will come across different opinions regarding this topic.

However, we have done extensive research and determined that it’s okay to clear over powder coat, provided the goal is to improve gloss and not to offer more protection to a surface.

can you clear coat over powder coat

What is Clear Powder Coating?

When painting a surface such as a car, a clear coat is usually the last thing to be applied. It accentuates the colors of the paint while protecting it from rain, the sun, and other elements such as dirt.

In automotive applications, a clear coat is a must-have. The same can’t be said for other painting projects. Over the years, clear coat has been known to offer several benefits. This is why you may be contemplating using it on a powder-coated surface.

Clear powder coating is simply the process of spraying clear coat over powder coat. This layer of clear can be applied over any powder coat color, and the main benefit that can come from this is an improvement of gloss.

When you clear the powder coat, you will notice that the surface will add an element of sparkle.

Why Should I Clear Over Powder Coat?

If you are keen on aesthetics, you should spray some clear over the powder coat. Without a doubt, an added layer of gloss can significantly improve the finish of a project.

No matter what you are working on, some clear coat can make the powder-coated surface look better. Feel free to add a clear coat over any powder-coated surface as long as you aren’t doing it for protection.

Does Clear Coat Offer Any Protection Over Powder Coat?

As mentioned earlier, a clear coat is famous for its protection abilities. However, a powder coat can do without a clear coat because it is durable. It is even much stronger than the clear coat itself. It won’t make much sense for you to spray a clear coat to protect the powder coat.

With that being said, you may be wondering, does a clear coat offer no protection over powder-coated surfaces? We have to get a little bit technical here.

The powder coat is made using metallic powders. These powders are bound to oxidize after being exposed to moisture for a long time.

A clear coat can prevent this by blocking moisture from making contact with the powder coat.

The above form of protection offered by clear coat is negligible since modern powder coat formulas have been designed to prevent oxidation.

The other thing is that even if oxidation were to occur, the state of the powder coat doesn’t tolerate room for immediate oxidation. It would take a significantly longer period for that to occur.

Also, when you consider the lifespan of a clear coat, you will need to make numerous applications for the powder-coated surface to enjoy this form of protection.

How Long Does Clear Coat Last on Powder Coat?

A clear coat can last for a couple of months when applied to a powder coat. This depends on several factors.

One, how well the clear coat was applied. Two, the quality of the clear used. Three, the surface the clear coat is applied on.

Surfaces that are involved with a lot of activity and friction will lead to faster wear of clear coat. For instance, if you clear coat a powder-coated tool, the clear will wear faster.

It would be best to consider these crucial factors before applying clear over powder coat.

Can Clear Change the Color of Powder Coat?

Playing with different types of coats has its risks. When you clear coat over powder coat, there can be a slight color shift. Also, if the clear is applied incorrectly, the colors can be manipulated.

Before attempting such, you should perform a patch test on another surface. That will help you avoid surprises in the future.

Does Powder Coat Need Clear Coat?

Powder and clear coats are things that aren’t usually used together. When you mention these two to some detailers and DIY enthusiasts, they may be surprised at the idea of a clear-coating powder coat.

But, there’s always a first time to everything. Does the powder coat need to be clear-coated? Not really!

Even though it’s okay to clear powder coat and enhance gloss, the powder coat doesn’t need added protection from clear coat and any other protective finishes.

Powder coating is a high-quality and durable finish that can withstand many elements. Powder coating is often used on surfaces that experience the roughest and toughest conditions. Compared to a clear coat, it is no match for a powder coat.

Unlike a clear coat that will peel, chip, fade, and get scratched easily, a powder coat can withstand the test of time. No matter what you put it through, it will still hold.

Considering the powder coat’s durability and strength, applying a clear coat to enhance protection will be a waste of time and resources. If you are powder coating a surface, be contented with the protection this coating will provide you.

What Do Experts Think of Clear Coating Over Powder Coat?

There are some valid reasons to consider clear coating over powder coat.

A good example is when they are interested in upgrading the aesthetics.

However, other than that, professional detailers don’t recommend clear coating over powder coat. If not for aesthetics, there is no other valid reason to use your time and energy spraying a clear coat.

Is Powder Coat Dull?

We have been talking about how a clear coat adds gloss to a powder coat. If you have never used powder coat on a surface, the above discussion can leave you thinking that powder coat is dull.

Even though it’s not the shiniest coating ever made, powder coat is very far from dull.

Its surface is pleasant to look at, and these days, it’s available in a wide range of colors. Therefore, you can powder coat your surface with a color that excites you.

What a clear coat does is add an extra layer of gloss. And you should be able to note that difference. However, other than that, you don’t have to worry much about powder coat having a dull finish.

After a while, salt and dirt buildup can dull the finish of the powder coat. Thorough and regular cleaning should prevent that from happening.

A clear coat can also prevent dirt and salt from adhering to the surface of the powder coat. But you will have to spray it severally to continue retaining a protective barrier.

Can I Powder Coat Over a Clear Coat?

If you look at the vice versa, it also doesn’t make much sense. This is why we said earlier that these two terms are never used together.

A powder coat is applied on surfaces that need ultimate protection. If a surface had a clear coat, it would be removed during the process of powder coating.

And if you want to powder coat a surface, you shouldn’t spray clear paint over it since it won’t serve any purpose.

Can Clear Coat Stick to Powder Coat?

Yes, it will. A clear coat should stick and hold on to a powder-coated surface. The mode of application and quality of the clear coat used determine how well it will stick. If you do it correctly, it should stick and won’t peel or chip off.

What Should I Use Clear Coat On?

You should use a clear coat on the paint. That’s where it was made to be used originally. A layer of clear has many benefits when used on paint.

Besides improving the finish, a clear coat will protect the paint from sun rays, road salt, chemicals, and other elements.

However, powder coat already has the features needed to protect the surface beneath from all these elements. So, a clear coat won’t offer any added protection.

Is Powder Coat Similar to Paint?

If powder coat and paint were the same things, you would have no trouble spraying a clear coat. Unfortunately, they are not. The paint contains solvents, whereas the powder coat doesn’t.

Paint is in liquid form, whereas powder coat is applied in powder form. If you look at the chemical buildup of both materials, you will notice a big difference. Let’s not also forget that powder coat is stronger than paint.

Should You Clear Coat or Powder Coat a Surface?

We can’t compare these two because they are applicable under varying circumstances. Powder coating comes in handy when you want a tougher finish than conventional paint.

The paint looks good, but it’s delicate to some extent. Powder coating is much stronger, and that’s why it’s used in home appliances and other heavy-duty objects.

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