Powder Coating

Understanding Wood Grain Powder Coating

Table of Contents

  1. Advanced Finishing – Wood Grain Powder Coating Professionals
  2. What is Wood Grain Powder Coating?
  3. How Does Wood Grain Powder Coating Work?
  4. Finish Types of Wood Grain Powder Coating
  5. Wood Grain Powder Coating with Decoral® Licensed Systems
  6. Advantages of Wood Grain Powder Coating
  7. Applications Suitable for Wood Grain Powder Coating
  8. Choosing Advanced Finishing as a Wood Grain Powder Coating Provider

What is Wood Grain Powder Coating?

Wood grain powder coating or “wood effect powder coating” can be defined as a relatively new and aesthetically appealing process of adding realistic wood grain to a material through sublimation which combines heat and pressure. This process offers the benefits of:
  • Significant durability that is comparable to the hardness of the metal or material it is applied to
  • Improved corrosion resistance
  • Realistic wood-look finishes that can look identical to cherry, poplar, oak, and other common woods

The resulting finished product offers all the hardness and corrosion resistance of metals or other materials with the appealing decorative look of popular wood varieties. This article will discuss in more detail what wood grain powder coating is, how it works, available finish types, licensed Decoral® systems, the advantages of wood grain powder coating, and the many end applications of the product.

Over the last half-century, Advanced Finishing has worked with countless customers throughout North America who required premium quality finishing services. As time progresses and industry needs evolve, Advanced Finishing remains consistent in implementing the necessary procedural innovations to keep serving the needs of existing clients as well as growing into new areas of expertise. While the technological improvements at Advanced Finishing have been extensive, wood grain powder coating stands out due to the growing demand and innumerable advantages to customers.

At any time you can follow the link below, to speak with a qualified representative of the Advanced Finishing team to discuss wood-look powder coating needs or requirements.

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History and Use of Wood Grain Powder

For decades, powder coating has been used to provide an attractive and durable finish coating to materials especially those used in outdoor environments. During this time solid colors were the predominant offering however evolving customer demands required further improvements and innovations. Eventually, available color palettes expanded, powder improved, and curing techniques were perfected to the point that specific patterns, like wood grains, became available.

Wood, although receptive to protective coatings and treatments, does not possess the necessary hardness or corrosion resistance required for numerous end applications. Furthermore, the lifespan of wood is quite limited when compared to metal alternatives. Despite these drawbacks, natural wood and its many species were highly sought after for the detailed grains, broad color palettes, and even the smells they brought to specific end products. That is where wood grain powder coating enters the picture. While the smell of rich mahogany is not replicable with powder coating, the desirable faux wood grain patterns attained combine the desirable properties of metal with the aesthetic appearance and long-standing appeal of wood.

At its core, wood grain powder coating takes the numerous advantages of the historically effective powder coating process and adds the flexibility to incorporate designs that did not previously exist. Even beyond the highly desirable wood grain coatings, Advanced Finishing can replicate stonework, intricate patterns, and even custom designs into the powder coating process – further expanding our reach and viability in a growing market.

How Does Wood Grain Powder Coating Work?

Throughout the history of powder coating, the application of the durable coating has remained relatively unchanged albeit some minor improvements have been made. A powder is sprayed through an electrically charged gun that is grounded through the surface of the metal, thereby attracting the particulate powder. The coating is then cured at specific temperatures to create a uniform finish that is both visually appealing and durable. The application of wood grain powder coating follows the same basic formula with a few slight additions to manifest the wood grain finish.

  1. Pre-Treatment: All components or materials destined for wood grain powder coating from Advanced Finishing first go through a rigorous pre-treatment process to ensure proper adhesion of the coating. Materials can undergo a series of sandblasting, rinsing, and air-drying steps to guarantee the surface is free of detrimental contaminants. The presence of contaminants like dust, debris, and other particulate matter left over from the manufacturing process will impact the effectiveness of the subsequent steps and the final quality of the coating.
  2. Polyurethane Powder Coat: After the pre-treatment process is completed and the material is completely dry, a polyurethane powder coating is applied and completely cured to develop a semi-translucent base coat. This base is integral to the warmth and depth of the finished product that other powder coating solutions do not provide.
  3. Wood Grain: Next, the desired wood grain appearance is added to the coated substrate through a textile film layer with a printed computer-generated image aided by specially formulated dye sublimation inks. Nearly all existing wood species are replicable through this process, from standards like pine to exotic and expensive woods like teak with more designs becoming available each year.
  4. Vacuum Sealing: Now that the desired wood grain appearance has been added above the semi-translucent base coat, the substrate material is transferred to a Decoral® vacuum system to remove all air between the film layer and material to generate an air-tight seal. Any particulate matter suspended in the air is also removed to ensure a perfect final appearance.
  5. Heat & Pressure Treated: Lastly, the substrate material is heated and pressurized to induce the transfer of the wood grain pattern from the computer-generated film directly to the powder coating layer through sublimation. Once removed and cooled, the film layer is removed to reveal the final wood grain powder coating finish. What customers then receive is an incredibly durable and long-lasting product that provides the aesthetic appeal of wood without the detrimental drawbacks long associated with the material.

Finish Types of Wood Effect Powder Coating

By utilizing a comprehensive catalog of custom polyurethane-based powders, Advanced Finishing is capable of creating a virtually limitless amount of wood grain powder coating appearances. Since the polyurethane powder coating layer is semi-transparent it creates levels of light absorption other common coating methods cannot achieve. As a result, the wood grain powder coating evokes the depth and warmth frequently associated with actual wood-manufactured products. The below list is a summary of the available wood grain appearances achievable through the expertise of Advanced Finishing, with additional wood species available upon request.

  • Oak
  • Pine
  • Maple
  • Mahogany
  • Teak
  • Burlwood
  • Countless Other Wood Species Upon Request

Thanks to the extensive experience of Advanced Finishing in applying these coatings, the final realistic wood-looking finished coating displays a detailed grain and depth that is indistinguishable from real wood products. In addition to offering numerous wood species, both smooth and textured finishes are available. The smooth finish gives a sleek and polished appearance with exceptional reflective properties that capture light and enhance the detailed wood grain design. A textured finish results in a matte appearance that closely resembles the look of natural wood. It may also help to hide any eventual surface defects that could appear over the product’s lifespan. Both options meet AAMA 2604 specifications which dictate that the final powder coatings deliver up to five times better weather resistance over other coatings.

Wood Grain Powder Coating with Decoral® Licensed Systems

In the early 1990s industry pioneers Decoral® Systems developed a sublimation process that found widespread use in decorating metal products with complex shapes such as wood grain powder coating. As all Decoral® processes and products are unique they are further protected by a series of over 70 individual patents registered in Italy and numerous other countries. That number is expected to grow as the research and development team is constantly looking for ways to improve the solutions and techniques that currently exist for wood grain powder coating.

By being a primary adapter of Decoral® technology into our 80,000-square-foot facility, Advanced Finishing has become the largest single independent Decoral® licensee in America. Our Erie, PA, facility contains all necessary equipment and materials needed for wood grain powder coating jobs of all sizes and complexities to best serve various industries. Through the partnership with Decoral® Systems, Advanced Finishing is proud to offer a more sustainable and environmentally friendly finish that helps preserve forested lands worldwide.

Advantages of Wood Grain Powder Coating

While the demand for real wood manufacturing persists in certain industries, wood grain powder coating provides numerous advantages that traditional solid wood and wood composites cannot offer. Even the most robust pressure-treated woods used in outdoor construction projects will not provide the same level of protection from the elements that powder-coated steel or aluminum can. Eventually, weather conditions like fluctuating humidity, temperature, and moisture from rain or snow will sink into the wood to create avenues for rot that lead to structural deterioration and may necessitate total replacement.

  • Enhanced Durability: Wood grain powder coating further enhances the natural hardness of the metal substrates to provide impressive levels of scratch and wear resistance. For many of the decorative indoor applications of this product, customers can expect to see minimal alteration in appearance.
  • Weather & UV-Resistant: While treated lumber does possess some resistance to harsh weather conditions, eventually the chemically impregnated wood will evaporate and lead to degrading appearance and functionality. Wood grain powder coating offers long-term resistance to fluctuations in humidity, temperature, and UV exposure making them highly desirable for outdoor applications.
  • Environmentally Friendly: When compared to standard wet paint finishes, wood grain powder coating does not require volatile organic compounds (VOCs) or other harmful substances that are difficult to apply and properly dispose of. Additionally, this finishing method reduces global deforestation and can be applied to a more sustainable and recyclable base material.
  • Low Maintenance: Regular maintenance of alternative materials to those coated with wood grain powder coating is expensive and time-consuming. The powder-coated exterior only requires water and mild soap to clean and preserve the finish. All harsh chemicals and solvents should be avoided as they can damage the coating and create openings for corrosion.
  • Cost-Efficient: Wood grain powder coating provides immediate cost savings to the customer as the base materials and procedures are more affordably priced than the natural alternatives, especially for larger projects. Those choosing to utilize this specific finishing method will also see cost savings over a longer duration of time. As they are more durable, powder-coated materials need to be replaced far less frequently.

Applications Suitable for Wood Grain Powder Coating

Steel and aluminum coated with wood grain powder finishes can be utilized in every manner where natural wood would be the first choice. As the specific wood grains applied to the substrate are endless, wood grain powder coating has many end applications. Frequently these materials are highly desirable for architectural projects like window trim, door trim, railings, building façade panels, and other exterior installations exposed to changing weather conditions. In many instances, the powder-coated materials are lighter in weight than the alternative material and become easier to ship, move around a job site, and install. Through our extensive history of providing wood grain powder coating services, Advanced Finishing has developed and delivered products for the following applications.

  • wood grain powder coated fan blades

    Large Ceiling Fan Systems Projects

  • Wood grain powder coating on a restaurant facade

    Building Facades & Exterior Decorative Panels

  • wood grain powder coat finish on balcony and staircases

    Aluminum Hand Railings (Top Rails)

  • woodgrain powder coat on commercial window frames

    Curtain Walls

  • wood grain powder coated interior doors

    Door and Window Trims

One of our regular customers is a fan manufacturer and requires consistent powder coating results at a competitive price. Like many companies, this manufacturer was experiencing quality control issues with other finishers and needed to find a company that could solve the recurring problem. Advanced Finishing was able to diagnose the issue, develop a solution, and implement a revised procedure that not only addressed the problem but allowed the company to further expand its available product line. While the customer does offer custom small batch colors and various architectural colors, our dye-sublimated wood grain powder coat finishes have become extremely popular to the point that Advanced Finishing is running upwards of 500 fan blades a week, ranging in lengths from 3’ to 5’. This is just one example of how Advanced Finishing not only provided quality wood grain powder coating services to a customer but addressed an ongoing problem and provided an improved solution that created growth throughout the supply chain.

Chances are you’ve experienced wood grain powder-coated materials without immediately differentiating them from real wood. These products are becoming increasingly popular in both industrial and commercial applications as customer needs evolve and develop to match the market. AFUSA envisions a world where demands necessitate a greater reliance on wood grain powder-coated materials instead of the less sustainably procured natural wood that has dominated the sector for decades. At the end of the day, the majority of manufacturing scenarios could benefit from the durability, aesthetic appeal, and cost-savings provided by wood grain powder coating.

Choosing Advanced Finishing as a Wood Grain Powder Coating Provider

You do not become the leading powder coating provider for a complete region by accident. Advanced Finishing has made the necessary technological advancements and procedural improvements over the last fifty years to continue elevating our services above those offered by the competition. We take immense pride in our wood grain powder coating services and guarantee a high-quality product that presents the aesthetic appeal of varying wood species with the impressive durability of steel. We are ready to quote any project from specialty one-off products to high-volume requests and believe that the combination of speed, quality, and price is hard to beat! Send us a note with more information about an upcoming project and our team will be happy to start the conversation towards choosing Advanced Finishing for all wood grain powder coating needs.

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