PVC comes in many shapes and sizes: pipes, joints, valves, tanks, sheets, and even fabric. But if you want your PVC to be a specific color, you’re going to need to paint it.
Using a primer on PVC will yield more constant results when painting. A coat of primer will help the paint stick better, and it will also cover up any manufacturer markings. Using fine sandpaper on the pipe’s smooth surface is always recommended so that the paint has a rough surface to adhere to.
Let’s look at why you need a primer to make your paint stick to your PVC.
Though stated above that there are multiple shapes of PVC, this article will be mainly referring to pipes, not because they’re different, but because they’re the form of PVC that people have the most experience with.
Will Paint Stick to PVC
When you buy PVC from the hardware store, you may have noticed that PVC pipe has a very smooth surface. It’s polished and shiny, with the manufacturer’s details and measurements printed on the side. You can even see the thin grain lines running down the length of it.
It makes it look like a quality product to buy, but the paint won’t stick to it in that state. It’s too smooth, and paint doesn’t like sticking to smooth surfaces.
You might be able to get it on there and have it dry alright, but it will end up chipping away because the only thing keeping it in place is the rest of the paint.
That’s why you always want to sand down the PVC with fine sandpaper before trying to put any paint on it. That will give the paint lots of tiny crevices to sink into and ridges to grab onto.
You can tell if you have sanded it well enough when it’s a dull, matte color. There shouldn’t be any shiny spots, as shiny spots indicate places that are still smooth.
You will get even better results if you add primer to the equation. Primer is designed to keep paint in place, no matter what surface you’re painting, including things like cars and canvases.
One other thing you want to make sure to do before painting your PVC is to clean it off.
PVC can be dirty or greasy, whether from handling or just from lying around, and paint won’t stick to the PVC if there’s dirt or oil in the way.
Some primers can help even with this, preparing the pipe for painting or solvents welding by cleaning the surface of dirt, grease, and grime, any of which could be a detriment to the longevity of your paint job.
Check out this YouTube video for extra information on painting PVC.
Can You Paint PVC Without a Primer?
It’s possible, of course, to paint PVC without any primer, but I would not recommend it.
You would have to be really thorough with your sandpaper, and even then, wear and tear might still have the potential to chip away the paint, whether that’s the elements, dirt, or other objects banging or scraping against it.
PVC primer is made specifically to be used on PVC and to bind to its chemical makeup, so if you use a primer before you paint, you can be confident that the paint will stick.
What is PVC Paint
My dad always uses spray paint to paint the PVC he uses, but is that the right kind of paint to use on PVC?
Well, it depends on the base.
Certain paints will work better than others, and the base of the paint has a lot to do with that. This is because the base of the paint makes up the majority of the paint’s mass, and therefore most of its chemical makeup comes from that.
The paints you can use for PVC include acrylic paint, latex paint, water-based paint, and epoxy-based paint. Keep in mind that different paints need different primers.
If you want to use spray paint, take a look at the base of the paint, as spray paints come in two kinds: water-based and oil-based.
While oil-based spray paint may appear to stick to the PVC, it might not stay for long. Stick to the water-based spray paints for PVC, and make sure the primer you use beforehand is compatible with the spray paint.
Acrylic paint will take a long time to apply, as you have to brush it on by hand, but you are more likely to find or be able to create the color you want when using these.
They will need their own kind of primer: an acrylic primer, in order to stick properly to the PVC. You will need to use side-to-side brushes, and then wait a few minutes after each coat of paint before adding the next.
Epoxy-based paints make sense that they work for PVC because epoxy is essentially glue for plastic. If you’re painting your PVC pipe in order to weld it solvently to a joint, this is probably the type of paint to go for.
Of course, an epoxy-based paint will likely require an epoxy-based primer to make absolutely sure it sticks, but this sort of joint will hold even when the pipe breaks.
Does cPVC Need Primer (Before Painting)
Like any other surface, it’s a good idea to use a primer before painting cPVC. It’s still smooth and needs to be roughened up, and paint will stick to it better if there’s primer helping it to do so.
However, since cPVC has a slightly different chemical makeup to PVC, you will need to make sure that the primer you use will work specifically for cPVC.
Some primers work for both, but when you’re dealing with cPVC and not PVC, it’s important to check the label and make sure that cPVC is one of the surfaces the primer is made for.
How do you Use PVC Primer? (Spray? Brush?)
Primer is applied with a brush in a coat before the coats of actual paint can be applied.
If you’re using spray paints, there are spray paint primers to use that come in spray cans.So, spraying or brushing to apply primer depends on the paint that you’re using.