When it comes to choosing your rig or squat rack, there are so many questions to ask yourself: Where will you put it? How much will you spend? When will you use it?
But one of the most important, yet often overlooked factors, is the finish of your rig. How you choose to finish a Rig or Rack will dictate many characteristics and ultimately, how you use it.
There are Four main categories for all Bulldog Gear finishes -
Powder Coat, Galvanised, Selective Powder Coat and Dual Coat.
The most typical finish that we create for our customers is ‘Powder Coated’.
This is the default coating for our products, as we’ve worked with a specialist to develop our own blend of textured powder coat giving it an aesthetically pleasing finish. It’s also perfect for indoor use and provides a good tacky grip for sweaty hands.
Powder Coat offers a more colour durable and scratch-resistant finish than regular paint - which is ideal for equipment that’s going to endure frequent use. Typically, the Powder Coat finish is added to our Rigs and Squat Racks that are kept indoors.
You will usually find these Rigs and Racks in strength and conditioning facilities or functional fitness gyms - where the Rigs are used frequently, and often vigorously. Other spaces you may find the classic powder coat in, is inside garage gyms or around the home.
Despite being best placed indoors, Powder Coat Rigs can be placed outdoors however, they will eventually rust over a period of time. This is because Powder Coat is only applied to the external surfaces and not internally. It will therefore only be applied to the outside of a Squat Rack uprights for example. Powder Coat can be used outside for a number of years.
The user will need to distinguish between rust (full corrosion) and oxidation (a mild orange/red layer). A Powder Coated frame will oxidise when left out in the rain on the uncoated parts. However, it will not corrode structurally for a long time, this timeline will depend on the conditions of the Rig or Rack’s location and climate. For example, if you live in a milder climate like Spain, this could be a 10-15 year lifespan. If you live in a more extreme climate like the Orkney Islands, Scotland, it could be 5 years. You can also purchase a tarpaulin or cover, such as you would use to cover your BBQ or garden furniture, in between uses to further protect your Powder Coated Squat Rack in the garden, for example.
While the signature black textured powder coat is a customer favourite, another characteristic of Powder Coat is that the colour can be customised to match up with your space, which is a possibility to consider.
‘Selective Powder Coat’ is another option which, essentially, has an unfinished option for a particular section of the Rig. While the rest is Powder Coated, once the steel Pull-Up Bar has been cut, it is cleaned and brushed but left without a coating.
Customers tend to find that the grip of the bare steel hits a sweet spot, in-between powder coat and galvanised. If you do choose to use bare steel, it’s better suited to indoors, away from the elements. We recommend this for independent functional gyms as a viable option. It will require occasional wire brushing or sanding to keep a smooth surface and remove chalk build up.
The second option that we offer all rigs and racks in is ‘Galvanised’.
This is a method involves coating the product in a protective layer of zinc. Galvanisation weather-proofs equipment, making it the perfect option if you want to have your Rig, Rack or even Axle Bar outdoors.
Weather resistant, galvanised products will avoid corrosion for between 15-25 years. Meaning there is no need to worry about leaving equipment outdoors - particularly if you’re used to the rain!
Our most common Galvanised product is the ‘Perseverance Rig’, as featured in The Home Gym Series. Designed specifically for gardens and outdoor gyms, once galvanised, there is nothing that can stop it - perfect for the person who wants to train, come rain or shine.
Additional benefits and placements of a Galvanised Rig include hot countries and rigs by the beach. Powder Coat tends to be harder to grip in hotter climates as the steel sweats. Galvanised products provide a good tacky grip for pull ups while protecting it against salt spray and hot climates. If your equipment is based in a hot country - this could be the option for you.
Please note this does not mean that your Galvanised Rig will not oxidise and rust on the surface. Because of the very nature of galvaning, by dipping our products in molten zinc solution our frames are returned with ‘sharps’, these need to be deburred with a file or powered soft pad. There is always a balance, particularly when coating fitness equipment, to deburr sharp areas and not to remove too much of the protective zinc coating that is applied. This is a fine balancing act, especially on sections of Pull-up Bars for example. Therefore, you may need to use a spray galvinging solution on occasions, to top the coating on these areas, we recommend CRC 400ml Grey Spray Paint for Galv coating top-ups.
One would need to accept the limitations of galvanised coating. If you think an area is still a bit rough and would like it to be smoother, you can use a hand file to remove some more of the coating to fit your personal preference. Our fabrications team have had many years experience and use their judgement to determine how much to remove during manufacturing.
Galvanising is not a beautiful decorative finish like the chrome taps in your bathroom. It is a utility finish mainly used in agriculture for example, and the coating and look will vary! It will also dull over time.
Galvanised Bars on some of our Pull-Ups Bars and Sleds come into us pre-galvanized from the steel mill in large 1 tonne bundles. Some of the parts will have laser marked serial numbers, scratches and marks - this is normal. Remember this is a utility functional finish, it is not designed to look pretty.
The final option ‘Dual Coat’. This is either a galvanised or Zinc Gold Passivated coating that protects the internal and external surfaces, with a Powder Coated finish applied to the external surfaces afterwards.
This offers the most protection, as there are 2 layers of protection on the external surfaces. It also offers the chance to choose various colours for the external finish. For example, you may want a weather-proof Squat Rack, but you don't want it to be a bright silver finish, like a Galvanized Rig. Dual Coat offers the best protection from the elements, which reflects on the price.
Please note - The surface finish of the Powder Coating on a dual coat rig will not always be as aesthetic as a regular Powder Coated Rig. This is because you get ‘gassing’; when the zinc coating can react with the Powder Coat when applied in the hot oven.
TO TAKE AWAY...
We understand that the above information is new to alot of our customers. We have highlighted the pros and cons of each. You as a customer need to understand the benefits and drawbacks of both, and make an informed decision regarding the right finish for you. We cannot tell you that your frame will last 25 years or 5 years, we can only offer a guideline.
We offer no warranty for the lifespan of our coatings, as the conditions, uses and locations of our equipment can be extremely vast. There is also a stainless steel option, but this is extremely expensive and beyond most, but not all budgets.