In the present work, studies have been carried out on the variations in the microstructure and hardness of P91 base-metal and welded joint. This variations result from the grit blasting and thermal cycle experienced during the thermal spraying process. The microstructural effects have been analyzed in terms of the depth of the deformation zone. Scanning Electron Microscopy and X-ray diffraction were used as characterization techniques. The grit blasting carried out prior to thermal spraying has resulted in the highest change in sub-surface hardness of the heat affected zone (HAZ). However, flame treatment further reduced the subsurface hardness of the heat affected zone. The depth of deformation zone was highest for inter-critical heat affected zone (IC-HAZ). The overall coating process resulted in an increase in subsurface hardness of various regions of HAZ and fusion zone (FZ). The base metal showed a 7% increase in subsurface hardness due to the overall coating process. The IC-HAZ showed maximum variation with 36% increase in subsurface hardness. The coarse grained heat affected zone (CG-HAZ) and FZ did not show any change in subsurface hardness. As a whole, the hardness and microstructure of the welded joint was observed to be more sensitive to the thermal spray coating process as compared to the base metal. © 2018 Polish Academy of Sciences. All Rights Reserved.