How to Paint PVC Pipe

 

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PVC Cutting Guide

Welcome

This guide is designed to be friendly, knowledgable and to provide options for different people from all settings and backgrounds.  Whether you're a first time PVC builder, who has never picked up any type of tool, or a seasoned PVC enthusiast or maker who uses PVC in everyday ideas and activities, this guide should provide a general manual to painting plumbing grade PVC pipe.

First, we’ll cover all the basics, like general safety instructions.  Then we’ll get into the specifics of painting plumbing-grade PVC pipe.  Finally, we’ll talk about some additional steps to finish up the painting process.

If your questions are not addressed here, feel free to contact our support team at info@formufit.com.  We'll be glad to help.

PVC Painting Summary

While it’s not necessary to paint PVC pipe when using FORMUFIT Furniture Grade PVC pipe, many of our users prefer to use readily available, off-the-shelf plumbing grade PVC pipe from their home center or hardware store.

Standard pressurized plumbing-grade PVC is not solid white like our Furniture Grade PVC fittings are, and many users prefer to have their plumbing-grade PVC pipe match our fittings and accessories. Painting plumbing-grade PVC can assist in the color matching process.

We offer these painting tips to allow our users to use this inexpensive, readily available pipe, and to hopefully complete their project with minimal cost. It is the goal of this field manual to show how to bring plumbing-grade PVC pipe into an attractive appearance without sacrificing your pocketbook.

Legal

DISCLAIMER: The information provided within this manual is for informational purposes only. FORMUFIT accepts no responsibility, and is excluded from all liability for damage and/or loss which may be suffered by any other party as a result of using or in connection with such use or loss of use of this information, including but not limited to loss of profit, loss of opportunity, loss of business, indirect damages, incidental damages, special or consequential loss, injury or loss of life.

Safety First.

The procedures outlined in this field manual use chemicals such as spray paints, to color the PVC pipe. As with any manual that involves tools or chemicals, safety needs to be discussed.

Chemicals can be dangerous.

Most methods to paint PVC pipe involves the use of epoxy-based paints. These paints can cause serious harm to an individual if not used properly. Be sure to read, understand, and follow all the safety rules that come with chemical products and their packaging. Failure to do so could cause bodily harm.

Protect your hands

Hands

Always make sure you use some type of hand protection when working with chemicals, such as the ones discussed in this guide. For painting, we recommend the standard latex or nitrile gloves found in most grocery and departments stores.

 
Protect your eyes

Eyes

Wear safety glasses, goggles or other eye protection when working with paints, as the spray paint product may overspray into your eyes. This is critical when dealing with paints.

 
protect your lungs

Mouth & Lungs

Wear a mask or respirator. Some spray paints may cause allergic reactions, respiration issues or other conditions. Work in an open garage, or in a workshop with open windows. Vapors from spray paints may cause you to become dizzy. If this occurs, leave the area immediately and seek fresh air.

 

PVC Pipe Painting Explained

PVC is notoriously difficult to paint with standard off-the-shelf paints, such as latex or acrylics. Ideally, there is only one method to paint PVC, and that is to use specific paints designed for PVC and plastics.

Plastic Specific Paints

Currently on the consumer market there are two brand names which make specific PVC-adhering paints. These paints have a special formulation that allows them to stick to PVC and other plastic products. The two products are:

Both of these paints are available at most home centers or hardware stores within the United States. Both the Krylon paint and Rust-O-Leum products listed above are currently only available in spray can format.

To match the gloss and color of White FORMUFIT Brand PVC products to your PVC-specific paint, use the following color numbers in the table below.  Not all of our colors have been classified, however, you can experiment with other Krylon/Rust-Oleum plastic paints to achieve your desired end result:

Brand Color Name Color Number
Krylov Spray Fusion for Plastic® White Gloss 2320
Rust-Oleum Spray Paint for Plastic® Gloss White 248650

Non-Plastic Specific Paints

While other paints may appear to stick to PVC, it is not recommended that any other latex, acrylic, water-based or epoxy-based paints be used as there are additional formulations within the above listed products that allow it to properly adhere and cure to plastics.

You can certainly attempt to paint PVC with other products, but the outcome will most likely result in peeling, flaking or easily scraped or scratched surfaces.

Painting PVC with Plastics Paints

CAUTION: Be sure to use hand, eye and breathing protection when handling spray paint. While, unlikely, should you feel dizzy for any reason, leave the room and seek fresh air immediately.

PVC Painting Steps

STEP 1

Perform the cuts necessary for the PVC pipe segments. It is easier to work with smaller sizes and cut first, rather than working with large segments.

Measure PVC pipe Cut

STEP 2

Clean the PVC pipe with an ammonia-based cleaner, such as window cleaner to remove any grease, dirt and other surface debris.

Clamp PVC Pipe to Table

STEP 3

Lightly scuff the surface of the PVC pipe, using a fine (200 to 300) grit sandpaper. Wrap the sandpaper in a cylindrical shape around the pipe and move it back and forth.

After sanding, the surface of the PVC should be dull and/or matte, and not have any shine or gloss to it.

Tighten Miter Saw

STEP 4

Wipe off the excess material that may have been left behind on the PVC pipe by the sanding process with a wet cloth.

Optionally, you can use a tack cloth to remove the excess dust.

Create a notch in the PVC Pipe

STEP 5

Place an old cardboard box against a wall in a garage or basement (preferably well-ventilated) and lean the PVC pipe against the cardboard.

This will allow you to rotate the pipe while painting for even distribution.

PVC Pipe Back and Forth Hacksaw

STEP 6

Spray the surface lightly, with as side to side (or up and down) motion.  Apply thin coats over time. Do not apply heavy coats as they will seep and run.

Allow to cure for 5 minutes between layers of paint.

Prevent Blowout Hacksaw PVC

STEP 7

Repeat the coats until the entire surface is painted.



If fittings are to be used on the ends of the pipe, do not concern yourself with the top 1/2” of pipe as it will be hidden inside the fitting.

Prevent Blowout Hacksaw PVC

Wrap Up

Post-Painting Tips

Add A Glossy look the PVC pipe

If you did not use a gloss-finish paint, you can add a sense of ‘glossiness’ to the PVC pipe, after painting has been performed to give it shine and to make it match FORMUFIT brand PVC fittings that you may be using. This can be achieved using an off-the-shelf tire shine spray or liquid that is normally used on vehicle tires to make them shine.

CAUTION: Do not use the tire shine on any PVC pipe that you plan to use as a foothold or a handhold. The tire shine will make the PVC pipe extremely slick and you or another user could be injured.

  1. Apply some Tire Shine to a cloth or paper towel.
  2. Apply the tire shine to the PVC pipe, being sure to evenly distribute the tire shine across the whole pipe.

Total Cure Time

Most paints are dry to handle in about 1 hour, and can be assembled after that time. You should however allow at least seven (7) days for the paint to FULLY cure before putting weight or other force onto the painted areas. This will allow the painted surface to last longer over time.

PVC Painting Avoidances

What not to use:

As discussed earlier, do not use the following paints to paint PVC or plastic products, as they will not adhere:

  • Latex-based paints
  • Water-based paints
  • Acrylic-based paints
  • Non-plastic-specific epoxy-based paints

FORMUFIT Support

If you've read through this guide and still have questions, feel free to contact us. We are constantly revising our documents and website with information provided from users just like you.

If you want to contact us with questions or suggestions, please email them to info@formufit.com

We've got a lot more guides where this one came from, which are available at formufit.com/pages/guides/.