A novel method is proposed for the preparation of zeolite coatings on substrates, which suppresses the reaction in the bulk and promotes that on the substrate by applying a temperature difference between the reaction mixture and the substrate. The substrate is heated directly, with a soldering resistance in this study, while the reaction mixture is kept at a lower temperature by means of a water bath. The method is tested for the case of zeolite 4A synthesis on stainless steel plates from a clear aluminosilicate solution. As a result of suppressed activity, the composition of the solution remains nearly constant and the solution side of the coating always experiences a lower temperature. As a result, the phase transformations of the metastable zeolites can be delayed for extremely long periods of time, depending on the volume of the reaction mixture. The deposition of crystals from the solution onto the surface of the coating is also avoided. Crystalline coatings of zeolite 4A could be prepared by the appropriate selection of the temperatures of the water bath and the substrate. A final treatment, which involves an increase in the temperature of the water bath, may be applied to the coatings at the end of their preparation, in order to remove the sparse amount of impurities observed at certain synthesis times and to increase the crystallinities when necessary. The mass of the zeolite coated on the substrate is shown to increase significantly with respect to that obtained by conventional synthesis when the proposed method is utilized. The method can thus be useful for some applications where the employment of relatively thicker zeolite coatings of metastable phases may be desired. (C) 1999 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.