rock guard powder coating
What's Rock Guard Powder Coat?

Powder coating is the modern method of sealing steel against corrosion. It’s been around for years and few boat trailers are “spray” painted anymore. Powder coating equipment is expensive, often running to $250,000+ for a fully functioning system. Some small manufacturers can’t afford the expense and often promote galvanizing as an alternative.

There is a huge difference in powder coating. Modern powder coat installations provide a tough durable finish. However many smaller companies have cobbled together systems. They don’t clean or prep the steel and sometimes the furnace is nothing more than heaters blowing hot air to melt the powder. You won’t know which you have until a year after you buy the trailer and rust starts to appear.

Textured powder coating is the most modern and most effective method. Literally only a couple of years old. It requires an expensive ($6000) spray gun. You usually need a couple, they have to be cleaned periodically. Our system sprays powder coat 9 to 11 mils thick. In our system the steel is bead blasted to remove any welding impurities. The powder is sprayed onto an electrostatically charged frame and the powder is melted in an oven at temperatures above 400 degrees for 17 minutes.

bead blast chamber powder coat booths rock guardpowder coat ovens
Our bead blast chamber One of our powder coat booths One of our 400_ degree ovens
rock guard powder coating
How thick is 11 mil? Run your hand over the top of our trailer, you can feel the textured powder coat.

A Lot can go wrong with dirty steel, thin or improperly applied powder coat

example of bad powder coat
Steel was not prepped. Dirt shows through the finish. Coating is so thin that street shoes scratch the top frame.

bad powder coating

Steel sometimes comes from the mill with imperfections. If trailer manufacturers don’t clean the steel these imperfections work their way to the surface. We bead blast our frames and our textured 11 mil, Rock Guard finish is thick enough to cover imperfections. Although we exercise quality control and inspect the steel. If there is a bad piece of steel (above-right) we don’t use it.

We HATE Rust
pontoon trailer axlesWe were with a trailer manufacturer for several years that would not upgrade their powder coat system. It hurt our reputation.
We found a new and better supplier. We have zero tolerance for rust.

Axles are vendor items for most trailer manufactures. Axle builders usually just spray paint the axles. They get scratched in transit and assembly. They seldom get touched up. Axle companies claim they’re beneath the trailer, no one will notice. But many boats are off the trailer, often six months a year, when the axles rust, you will notice. We pay extra for Aluminized axles on our brake models. An aluminized coating helps prevent corrosion. We are committed to not having rust on our trailers even the axles, and
even after the warranty expires.
pontoon trailer axle comparison
pontoon trailer axle pontoon trailer axle
Our Aluminum Axles NOT OURS
Things that will destroy the finish on a trailer
We sell about 1500 trailers a year. Almost every year we warranty 3-4 trailers for bad paint. If our selling dealer says it’s warranty, it’s warranty. We bring the trailers back to Elkhart and in almost every case we discover that the “bad paint” trailer has either been used in salt water or towed during the winter when salt was on the roads and the trailer was not rinsed off. Use in salt water voids the finish warranty on any painted or powder coated trailer. Almost as bad is running on salty roads and not rising the salt off.
Salt water is “nasty” stuff. It will destroy the finish even on some galvanized trailers.

(to the left) - Stone damage on a quality “custom” paint trailer.
Stones flying at 10+ MPH will destroy even the best trailer finish.

Another thing that will damage the finish on any trailer (painted or even galvanized) is traveling at a high rate of speed down a gravel road. Flying stones will chip painted or a galvanized finish. Almost anyone can identify stone damage and knows it’s negligence.
We replace salt damaged trailers and refurnish them, often at a considerable loss. A couple trailers a year won’t break us, but we are working with our dealers to help them identify trailers that have been used in salt water. Salt water destroys a finish on any steel trailer and as such there is no warranty on the finish. Towing a trailer through salted roads and not rinsing it off becomes negligence. If you do tow your trailer in the winter or early spring when salt residue is on the roads, we recommend the “Salt-Away” product to completely clean off any salt residue. You can find that on Amazon here
WE like to say that you don’t need to know trailers, WE DO. We won’t sell a trailer with a bad finish.