Paint or powder? Which is better? Some people feel as strongly about this as they do about their favorite tractor or brand of equipment! What it boils down to is this: does it stick? How well does it prevent rust? Done correctly, either process will offer quality protection. But steel can still rust away underneath a good paint or powder coating.
The Root of the Problem
What makes a good rust or corrosion preventative? Preparation, preparation, preparation! The foundation for the best paint or powder coating is clean steel! Most manufacturers acid wash the steel and make sure it isn’t rusty before painting it. Some manufacturers, like SureTrac trailers, actually sandblast the steel!
But building thousands of trailers a year poses a problem. Many manufacturers don’t have the room to store all this steel under roof. They are building trailers so fast, the unpainted trailers sit in the weather before getting into the paint booth. They may get rained on before getting even the first coating of protection. These trailers are compromised before ever being painted.
Because of these weaknesses in the manufacturing process, some coatings are not given a fair chance. Putting this aside, let’s look at the materials themselves.
With over 10 years of experience in the trailer industry, Burkholder Trailers has realized that paint gives steel the best fighting chance to prevent rust. If the steel is acid etched and rust free to start, paint will prevent rust when used with a good primer and applied in the correct temperatures. If rust starts, the paint will inhibit the rust so it doesn’t spread underneath. A good paint is only as good as its primer. The primer bonds the paint to the steel. A good primer will bleed into the steel and block the rust.
Due to so many manufacturers being willing to sacrifice quality for price, powder coating has earned itself a bad name. Prepped correctly, powder coating will stand with the best paint, to the point where it is difficult to remove by sandblasting. If your steel is abraded and acid washed, both powder coating and paint will last the same amount of time.
At Burkholder Trailers, paint quality is part of our quality control for trailers received from our manufacturers. The manufacturers we choose must meet paint quality standards we set, and we are very proactive about paint problems. Learn more by visiting one of our three locations or contacting us today!
Footnote: Steel trailers will always be subject to some rusting. Despite even the best painting practices, there are places that rust will form. Keeping after it is important; clean up any rust and touch it up with paint.