Metal Coating Types

November 2, 2017

Metal finishing is the process of applying a coating to the surface of a component.

No matter what substrate you are coating, metal finishing can be used to keep your product protected, enhance its appearance, or improve its performance.

When you are choosing a metal coating, you can be overwhelmed by the different options. Some can be used to reduce friction while others protect the surface of metal equipment. This is particularly great for companies in the manufacturing and construction industries.

But there are many other industries that can benefit from metal coating. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know to make the best choice for your needs.

Metal Coating Types

Metal coating is both the term for covering nonmetal objects with a metal finish as well as covering metal objects with other substances.

There are four different coatings that can be applied to a metal surface. These options are plastic, paint, metal, and polymers. Here's a rundown.


One of the greatest benefits of using a plastic coating is that it can accommodate products of a number of sizes and shapes.

One of the most commonly known plastic coatings used on metal is Teflon. It is used to coat cookware to prevent food from sticking to it. Everyone knows how great it is to have a non-stick coating when you go to cook dishes like homemade mac and cheese!


Paint may not be the first substrate you think of when you are looking at metal coating types. Traditionally, it has flaked off metal objects, preventing it from being a long-term solution.

Luckily, today there is high heat paint on the market. It can flow into the smallest cracks between your machine's moving parts and it often used to protect metal from corrosive elements. In the same way, paint keeps the body of your car from rusting.


Sometimes metal coating types are needed to provide the right protection for a metal component. Two popular types of metal on metal coatings are NiroCoat and molybdenum disulfide. They are both used to provide extra lubrication.


The world of industry is filled with a wide variety of polymers that can provide an excellent coating for metals. Like the list of plastic that can be used, the list of polymers is quite long. They can be used for waterproof coatings and protection from the elements.

Purposes for Metal Coating

There are a wide variety of industries that use metal coating for their products ranging from aerospace to electronics, jewelry, and consumer products.

Some of the following purposes use metal finishing:

  • Increased corrosion resistance
  • More surface thickness
  • Greater strength and durability
  • Better appearance
  • Easier to solder
  • Better electrical conductivity
  • More electrical resistance
  • Increased chemical resistance
  • More surface hardness
  • Better adhesion
  • Increased torque tolerance
  • More water resistance

Picking Metal Coating Types

There are a number of factors that need to be taken into consideration to determine the right metal finishing process for your requirements. First, you will need to define the specific goal that you would like for your outcome.

Once you have an idea of your needs you will want to also consider the amount of time that it would take for the finishing process to be complete. These types of cycles can vary a lot from one process to another.

There are multiple factors that can affect the timeline for your project. These include the substrate, part size, and the volume of the job. You need to be sure that whatever process you select, it can fit in with your production schedule.

The last major decision factor in selecting a coating is cost. When you are considering the cost of a coating you will want to think both about the cost of completing the coatings, as well as the long-term savings having the proper coating can provide.

Although some metal finishing processes have higher up-front costs, they can also significantly reduce the amount of money you need to spend in the future.

Popular Industrial Metal Finishing Processes

Sorting through your options for metal finishes can get a little confusing. Here is an overview of some of the most commonly applied processes so that you can choose one that makes sense for your needs.

Industrial Plating

Industrial plating is the name for the process of depositing a thin layer of coating on a surface. The most common form is called electroplating, a process used to increase thickness.

Another term for electroplating is electrodeposition. It is accomplished as an electric current is sent through an electrolyte solution referred to as a bath.

The bath contains the metal substrate as well as dissolved ions of the metal to be used as a coating.

The four most popular industrial plating materials are tin, copper, zinc, and nickel. Tin is a soft, malleable metal that can be found readily making it a very cost-effective option. The tin plating process is also referred to as "tinning".

Copper is used when a substrate needs to conduct electricity. Certain electronic circuit boards and other electronic parts will go through a copper plating process. Copper is also great for improving adhesion and can be used as an antimicrobial surface.

Zinc is also a readily available element. This makes it an inexpensive option for protection from corrosion. It is primarily used on smaller parts such as bolts and screws.

Nickel is strong and is frequently used as a base coat for platings with precious metals. It can harden the substrate's surface, preventing water from getting in.

Applying Metal Coating Types

Metal coating types can provide a cost-effective way for you to make your products more conductive, less corroded, and better looking. It can be considered for companies in all types of industries.

If you are a commercial business owner and you would like to have your project evaluated, contact Petrusse Norris Painting.

They have decades of experience and can give you advice on what kind of coatings may be needed in your business.

The Author | Melissa Petrusse
Melissa Petrusse, Owner-Operator, Petrusse-Norris Painting - Licensed Painting/Decorating Contractor and Color-Expert. Please feel free to reach out to Melissa with any painting project questions, as she is happy to be of service. Simply fill out the Contact Form found on our Contact Page, as Melissa personally receives each request. View More Post from Melissa Petrusse