Powder coating is a process whereby a special paint is added to metal objects and adheres through a heated process. As it bonds to the metal, it creates a nearly permanent coat (nearly permanent because it will eventually wear off in spots). If you bought a home that has a very old set of porch railings, and those porch railings have powder coating that is now beginning to wear off, you may want to remove the powder coating and redo the railings. This is especially true if the railings are beginning to show any little signs of rust. However, removing powder coating is a very dangerous task. If you still want the job done, there are three ways you can go about it.
Hire a Painting Professional
Painting professionals usually have a vast amount of experience working with different paints and painting techniques. Hire one who knows how to remove powder coating and can remove the powder coating in his or her shop. That way, the only thing you need to do is unbolt the railings from your porch and bring them in. The painter will also sand or sandblast the rust areas away before applying any new paint or powder coating in your preselected color or finish.
Mail the Railings to a Specialty Company
If the company that originally manufactured your porch railings is still in operation, you could contact them to see if they would be willing to redo the railings for you. If the original company no longer exists, there are specialty companies that take shipments of metal goods that customers wish to restore, then the companies restore these metal items to new shine and paint finish. It may be quite costly to mail the metal railings in because of their size, shape and weight, but if you do not have access to a painting professional where you live and you do not want to do the job yourself, this may be your next best option.
Stripping the Rails Yourself
If you are bold enough (or crazy enough!) to strip the powder coating off the rails yourself, you will need a lot of protective equipment first. You will be working with a liquid solvent that will eat through the powder coating like it is melted butter, so you should don a full face shield, a welder's apron (because it has a protective middle layer that will stop the solvent from eating through to your skin) and really thick, lined rubber work gloves (although welder's gloves would work well here too). The solvent is usually in a spray can or in a bucket. It should be applied only to the railings as they lay flat on a solvent-proof work surface. It will take a few minutes for the solvent to eat through the powder coating, and then you can just wipe it off with a damp sponge. Now your rails are ready to be sanded and repainted.
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