Painting vs Coating: Are They Two Sides of The Same Coin?

Duality is interweaved in the fabric of life in which we have always been entwined. In the same principle, verbs like ‘painting’ and ‘coating’ are often interchangeably used. It is unlikely they’ll make you wide-eyed unless you ruthlessly critique, gleaning meanings from stray smudges. 

Generally speaking, coating gets a substrate covered with an applicant while painting (a type of coating) is merely applying a runny or viscous polymer to a surface that may or may not be pre-treated. Coating bonds best when cured by temperature and pressure. 

On the contrary, painting may not require a similar effort. Air drying or temperature curing fuses paint with the surface better. Here’s a trivia you might have unheard of. It is estimated that the demand for painting and coating in the architectural sector will continue soaring globally till 2024.

Understanding the Difference Between Coating and Painting via Applications

Need broader distinction between the two? Here’s an example you can relate to. Property owners get painting and coating done to get the most out of their property’s life. It’s safe to say one is more than just a cosmetic treatment. 

So how does it matter choosing one or both? 

Well, the question may be as old as the oldest wine except for subtle differentiable trait(s) that experts like Properla can explain better and help you pick what is right for your needs. 

To begin with, let’s get one thing clear. From an architectural and industrial perspective, painting beautifies while coating adds performance. Together, they yield a new lease of life to surfaces while enhancing durability.
  • Like all dichotomies of things, painting and coating are cardinal to certain situations. In the fabrication business, there is fierce competition for perfect finishing. 
  • In the labyrinthine process of wet painting and coating, the finishing is separately evaluated to arrive at who did it best. 
  • To put the finishing quality of coating against painting, it’s crucial to grasp what separates success and failure in each method as well as the principles behind them. 

Let’s look at some real-world applications of painting versus coating to understand how one differs from the other.

1. Powder Coating Metals

To arrive at an impeccable finish, dry powder is applied with a high-voltage electrostatic charge. This method enhances efficiency by up to 95% because it reduces the wastage of paint and ensures an even finish. The coating forms a tough shield that is many times resilient than wet paint. In powder coating, thermoplastics or thermosets are two popular curing methods. The former is where baking melts thermoplastic, causing it to set with the first coat, while the latter triggers a chemical reaction to result in a polymer finish. 

2. Wet Painting Metals

Before powder coating came to be known as what it is today, wet paint was the traditional choice. Today, it has only gotten better from what it was yesterday thanks to technology and years of research. 

In the fabrication business, a pump sprayer is popularly used for transferring wet paint onto the metal surface. A slightly sophisticated approach is electroplating where a high-temperature electric arc causes metal to deposit. Plating is popular for gold-plating, corrosion inhibition, and metal hardening among other applications. 

When using wet paint method, the surface is wiped clean to improve the adhesion and evenness of the blasted paint, which is usually 15-20 micrometre thick. If you prefer plating, the method varies after cleaning the metal being surfaced. 

The process which is slightly more challenging depends on the metal being plated and knowing what type of finishing is required. In an overarching principle, the plating metal is super-heated before being fused onto the metal. In certain variants, the arc is produced in vacuums, liquids, and vapours in lieu of pressure and heat.

3. Architectural Painting

When painting walls most of us would do so with an intent to improve aesthetics. You may have noticed the old paint peel, or they no longer appeal to the eye. Whatever the reason, worn looks can be renewed by bringing in painting experts or choosing DIY methods, if the latter is your forte. 

Besides, painting techniques differ with surfaces so there is usually more than one way to achieve a dreamy finish. Dabbing with texture, vibrancy, and glossiness is what regulars do, but creativity knows no bounds because painting is a project on an empty canvas with endless possibilities.

4. Architectural Coating

As far as coating goes, it does everything that painting stops short of representation. When you start coating a surface, you do so with an intent that isn’t limited to just enhancing the visual appeal. In the same principle as painting, coating methods vary depending on the surfaces and properties you want the surface to manifest. 

The performance aspect of coating includes:

  • Retention of colour 
  • Water beading
  • Rust and corrosion inhibition
  • Elasticity
  • Anti-fungal
  • Breathability
  • Waterproof
  • Self-cleaning 

In a nutshell, coating can be a paint, but the inverse isn’t possible. The main difference being performance. 

If your goal is to have a disposable property renewed (look wise) for sale, it’s economical to paint the exterior and let the new owner worry about performance. 

However, if you are contemplating renovation to extend the life of your property, it’s best to have the coating done so that assets last longer while exposed to elements and other factors that impact durability. 


Now that you know the broad dimensions of painting and coating through their applications, it’s also obvious that they have certain advantages and disadvantages. 

Therefore, to pick one method over another, you’ll need to set about assessing the cost and whether superior protection from elements is a necessity. 

When in Doubt, Dial the Expert

If you can’t splurge a fortune to protect and decorate the surface, you’ll find painting a bang-for-buck solution but if you’re unwilling to cede quality and durability, coating pays back in the long run. If you need something along the lines of Goldilocks principle to get the best of both worlds, you can get first-class assistance from Properla. We have experts who can lend an ear to your problems to understand what you need best to carve a solution within the budget.  Let’s Discuss

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proPERLA® offers a range of exterior super hydrophobic waterproof paints & coatings designed to reduce energy costs and protect homes.

Through our official network of applicators, we provide services to end customers, ensuring the correct application of our products for your benefit.

Whether you are a professional interested in working with our products, or a customer looking for solutions, contact us for more information.

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