Painting on PVC: which paint? How to proceed ?

Furniture, garden chairs, trinkets, gates… you can embellish many objects with paint. All of your PVC items can be customized, upgraded, refurbished or saved from the trash with a fresh coat of paint. Change them color! Read below what to consider when painting plastic and see which paint you can use to get the best result. Don’t forget to keep in mind the general safety instructions.

Not all plastics are the same. Some are also not plastic (deformable). What all plastics have in common is that they are polymers. In simple terms, this means that plastic is a single, huge molecule made up of individual blocks, which are the monomers. There are many different types of plastics, and if you’re not a chemist, engineer, or whatever, you’ll only be able to tell them apart by labeling. However, when painting plastic, it is important to know what type of plastic it is. This is the only way to be sure to choose the right paint and to avoid unpleasant surprises when painting. So be sure to make sure that the part you are about to paint is PVC. This not only facilitates the choice of paint, but also helps to identify or avoid possible hazardous substances and the health risks that may result. So how do you transform any PVC object attractively with a fresh coat of paint and without overspending?

Safety first

Chemicals can be dangerous. And most methods of painting PVC objects involve the use of paints which can be dangerous. These paints can cause you serious problems if you do not use them correctly. Be sure to read, understand and follow all safety rules that come with chemicals and their packaging. Failure to follow these instructions could cause you bodily harm.

Always use hand protection when working with chemicals. For painting, opt for standard latex gloves found in most hardware stores and department stores. Then protect your eyes. Wear safety glasses or other eye protection when working, as spray paint can splash into your eyes. Finally protect your lungs. Wear a mask. Some spray paints can cause allergic reactions, breathing problems or other problems. Work outdoors, in an open garage or in a workshop with large open windows. Vapors from spray paints can cause dizziness. If this happens, leave the area immediately and seek fresh air.

What paint to paint on PVC?

PVC is notoriously difficult to paint with standard commercial paints, such as acrylic for example. Ideally, there is only one method for painting PVC, and that is to use specific paints designed for PVC and plastics. These paints have a special formula that allows them to stick to PVC and other plastic products. They are most of the time offered in an aerosol can. You can certainly try painting the PVC with other products, but the result will most likely be surfaces that chip or scratch easily.

How do I paint on PVC?

Plastic furniture, door and window frames, trash cans, vases, the PVC parts which are hard and stable plastic parts whose surface is not too smooth, can be painted very well, if you take the right precautions. However, the plastic must be properly prepared before painting, i.e. cleaned, sanded if necessary and/or given a special primer. Damage and unevenness can be leveled. Since you know what material you are covering, you can specifically buy the right plastic primer and the optimal paint. The best thing to do is to choose a paint manufacturer and then buy all the products for the paint system in its line. So you can be sure that all the products you use are compatible with each other. There are many special paint colors for PVC.

Of course, it is not always necessary to buy the whole range of products. Many PVC surfaces can be painted with paint without necessarily priming. Also, not all surfaces have to be perfectly smooth or shiny, and not all PVC coatings have to be weather, scratch, impact, etc. resistant. And a multi-coat application isn’t always necessary or desirable – it’s often enough to clean the part to be painted with soapy water, sand it, then paint it in the desired color with the spray can. Choose the color you want from the wide range offered and, if necessary, ask the specialist staff in store for advice.

In short, what you absolutely need to remember: as mentioned above, do not use the following paints to paint PVC products, as they will not adhere:

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

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