The 4 Main Genres of Coatings: What's Best For You

Are you curious what type of coating is best for your project? Read more here to see what kind of coating would be best for your needs!

When you think of the coatings that are on products all around you, it can be overwhelming.  It’s easy to think of coatings as a heavy duty paint.  Coatings could also seem like the exterior of the original material.

You should know that coatings are much more than color.  Coatings have the potential to enhance the life of the product they cover.  And there are many types of coatings.


In this post, we’ll review the different kinds of coatings most often used.  We’ll take a look at the kinds of applications they work best in.  Our goal will be to help you understand which may be best for you.


Powder Coating


          This is the most popular type of coating. It’s most often used on manufactured metals used in household appliances and automobile  parts. These applications make it easy to visualize how prevalent powder coatings are in our day to day lives.

The process to powder coat a metal is unique.  A dry powder is applied electrostatically and then cured under heat.  The curing process creates a hard finish that is tougher than conventional paint.  Powder coating can create thicker coatings than conventional liquid coatings without running. Because there is no evaporation of fluid like with liquid sprays, the coating process emits very few volatile  compounds.  This makes for an environmentally friendly process.

          Powder coating works well in many applications.  As mentioned before, household items made of metals are often powder coated.  Automobile parts are also popular items that can be powder coated. While there are many practical applications for powder coating, one that is not a good fit for powder is with threaded items. Threading is often done to such specifications that the coating can increase the chance that the fit will no longer be optimal.



Anodizing is another popular option for coating.  Anodized finishes have made aluminum one of the most widely used materials today. Thousands of products are made with anodized aluminum.

Anodizing is an electrochemical process that converts a metal surface into a corrosion-resistant finish.

Aluminum is a the most common metal for anodizing because of it nonferrous properties.  Titanium and magnesium are also popular choices for anodizing.

        Anodizing occurs when aluminum is immersed into an acid electrolyte bath.  An operator then introduces an electric current.  They mount a cathode to the inside of the anodizing tank and the aluminum acts as an anode. This combination ensures that oxygen ions released from the electrolyte combine with the aluminum atoms on the surface of the part being anodized.

Anodized metals can are visible in many applications around us. Anodized aluminum makes up computer hardware, scientific instruments and a range of home appliances.  Anodized aluminum was used in the construction of the Sears Tower in Chicago. Even satellites have anodized materials to help protect them from the harsh environments in space.


Marine and Protective Coatings

          This option, while visible in many applications, is not as widespread as the previous two.  It can be defined with the use of the term “marine”.  These coatings exist in environments where water causes extensive corrosion.  These coatings range in application from boats to bridges.

When considering marine coatings, the most important thing to remember is to prepare the surface properly.

Proper removal of existing debris and cleaning of the surface is critical.  Rust and other areas of corrosion will also prevent ideal adhesion of a coating.  Paint should sanded off from painted surfaces.  This will ensure the integrity of the coating over the surface.

Aside from boats and bridges, there are many other applications for marine coatings.  Docks at marinas are often coated to enhance their integrity. Marine dealerships are well versed in marine coatings as they may use them to perform repairs to marine vehicles. House boats, pleasure boats or fishing boats also have marine coatings to help them resist corrosion.


CARC Coatings

          CARC coatings are the most niche, as they serve a very particular industry.  This industry is so particular, in fact, that it’s not likely you will ever need to consider this type of coating.  We’ll mention it here though, as the need for this coating is somewhat popular. CARC is an acronym for Chemical Agent Resistant Coating and these coating types are primarily used on military vehicles.

          CARC is a low gloss version of automotive-grade polyurethane paint. CARC coatings provide the standard characteristics of any protective finish: corrosion resistance, durability, identification marking, etc.  They resist the absorption of chemical warfare agents. Their formulations are different in that they provide unique properties that distinguish them from commercially available paints.

Because CARC coatings have been developed for military applications, colors are similar. Pigmentation additives in CARC formulations have unique properties and characteristics that make them suitable for military operations. Pigments used to make the base green mimic reflectance properties of chlorophyll found in living foliage.

Not only is the CARC coating resistant to chemical agents, but it’s color blends in with it’s surroundings as well.


If you find that you have more questions about your coating options, reach out to us. We’re always happy to help with determining which coating application is the best fit for you.

Similar posts

Get notified when new articles publish

Be the first to know when we publish a new article. We'll make it easy by sending a link to the article in your email!