I read with interest in the April 2002 issue your reply to the gentleman with the stainless steel medicine cabinet. How durable is the finish? I am building a customized Peterbilt, and I would like to have the stainless steel pieces either powder coated or painted. The parts, a sun visor and the fenders over the rear tires, see a lot of miles each year, thus my concerns with durability. D.R.
Paints and powder coatings are not as durable as stainless steel. This reminds me of the time when I had a real job, and I was asked to recommend a paint that would protect concrete from impingement by a high pressure water jet. The pressure was high enough to pierce a steel plate, but that’s another story.
Why paint or powder coat stainless steel, which is used because of its corrosion resistance and durability? Thirty years from now when your customized Peterbilt’s carcass is rusting away in a junkyard, the stainless steel will still be bright and shiny.
Now back to the issue at hand. After pretreatment, stainless steel can be painted with any kind of paint or powder coating, including the most durable materials. The pretreatment involves abrading the surface, which will change its appearance. However, this will be evident only if you use a clear coating.