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Sandblasting and Powder Coating Cost: What to Expect

sandblasting and powder coating costIn the metal manufacturing world, the amount you’ll pay for powder coating or sandblasting (a general term that doesn’t account for other blasting methods) varies. A lot.

For example, average powder coating costs for individual items, such as automobiles and metal chairs, range from about $75 to around $4,000, depending on the size of the item and other factors. As for metal component sandblasting and powder coating cost, it all comes down to the nature of the project.

For metal components, the questions to ask include:

  • How much square footage of material is involved?
  • How complex is the architecture of the component?
  • Is the project low- or high-volume?
  • How long does it take to properly coat or blast each component?
  • Is the project a one-time thing or ongoing?

In other words, calculating the cost is not a first-grade math problem. Keep reading for an education on sandblasting and powder coating costs -- knowledge is power when you’re talking price with a vendor!

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Sandblasting and Powder Coating Cost

Powder coating provides excellent protection for metal components and has several qualities that make it competitive with or even better than paint:

  • Competitive cost
  • Durable, with resistance to scratching, chipping, and fading
  • Available in a wide variety of colors
  • Includes formulations based on polyester, fluoropolymer, epoxy, nylon polyurethane, and more to meet a variety of requirements

When determining the cost of powder coating, you have to consider whether to use a thermoset or thermoplastic product. Thermoplastic costs less, but it’s also less durable and less heat-resistant. So, again, it depends on the component you want coated. Does it need to have a more durable, heat-resistant coating?

Sometimes components need to be blasted before they’re powder coated. This treatment adds to the cost. So does use of certain colors. Sorry to disappoint you folks dreaming of carnation pink fertilizer rollers.

If you’re thinking about doing your own powder coating as opposed to jobbing it out, you should consider the hidden and not-so-hidden factors that contribute to the cost. For example:

  • Equipment for application and baking
  • Cleaning, degreasing, and sandblasting (if necessary)
  • Labor and materials
  • Production rate

On that last point: Does it take longer to do the job than it would if you outsourced it? How does this factor affect your overall production? Do you gain or lose productivity? Do you have the financial means to buy all your own machines and blasting/coating material?

Figuring the Cost of Component Blasting

As hinted earlier, metal component blasting isn’t done only with sand. It can be performed using water, glass beads, steel beads, and nutshells, among other materials. For metal, our favorite method is blasting with glass beads, for several reasons:

  • Relatively low cost because the beads are inexpensive to make and, unlike sand, can be reused

  • Variable bead size and shape to produce different surface finishes and heavier or lighter cleaning power

  • Greatly reduced environmental hazards over sand because, unlike sand, glass beads don’t leave a lot of residue and create little dust. If you’re going to handle blasting in-house, this is a biggie!

  • Significantly reduced health and safety hazards because of the absence of silica, which can cause lung scarring leading to difficulty breathing. Again, not pleasant to deal with in-house.

Some of the considerations that govern the price of powder coating, such as equipment, the number of components, labor and materials, and production rate, also apply to blasting. So do the problems with establishing an average price. Every job is different.

Sandblasting and Powder Coating Cost: Outsource or In-House?

Perhaps the best advice, if you’re debating whether to take blasting and/or powder coating in-house, is to thoroughly evaluate the real costs of doing it yourself vs. outsourcing the work.

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