Can You Paint PVC Piping? (How-To Guide)

Polyvinyl Chloride Piping (PVC) is tough and durable, yet you can easily cut it. Initially made for plumbing, PVC has become popular with DIY projects in recent years.

The pipe comes in various bright colors, and you can create projects such as wine racks, wall-mounted organizers, and even flower planters. 

Still, you may want to learn how to paint PVC pipes if you have a more elaborate palette in mind.

The only problem you might experience is that it prevents the paint from sticking due to the molecular makeup of the pipes.

Luckily, spray paints are available in the market that chemically bond on the PVC, making it possible to paint the pipes. 

Let’s see how you can paint your PVC pipes at home.

Can You Paint PVC Piping?

Type of paint for painting PVC pipe

Yes, you can paint a PVC pipe, but this can only be done when you’ve prepared the pipe adequately. PVC proves to be stubborn when painting with standard paints. 

That is why it’s advisable to use paints explicitly formulated for PVC. Also, after sanding the pipe, experts advise using a primer coating to help the paint stick better. 

Safety First

The paints may be harmful if not used correctly. Therefore, read and understand the product manual and follow all safety rules to avoid harming yourself. 

Hands

Wear hand protection before you begin handling the chemicals. Rubber gloves do the job effectively. 

Eyes

Put on safety glasses because spray paint reaching the eyes is common when working with paints. 

Mouth and Lungs

Wearing a respirator or a mask is mandatory. Some paints are known to cause respiratory problems and allergic reactions. 

How to Paint a PVC Pipe

Prepare Your Working Space

It’s best to plan to paint the PVC pipes on a day when the humidity levels are low. Select a wind-free, well-ventilated area such as a garage with good airflow. 

Remember that acetone is highly flammable, and you should use it away from open flames. Also, clean up well once done using it.

Sanding the Pipe

Sand the PVC pipe lightly with 220-grit sandpaper. Don’t use an electric sander because the tool may wear down the pipe too much. 

Additionally, ensure you sand from all directions to avoid straight lines, which create an undesirable surface. Be gentle to avoid weakening the pipe, but thorough enough to have an even outcome. 

Also, have enough sandpaper with you to do a thorough job. 

Wipe the Pipe

Wear rubber gloves, add acetone to a clean cloth, and clean the PVC surface. Give the pipe 20 to 30 minutes to dry. 

The acetone cleans all the sanding dust while swelling the PVC surface making it more porous for paint adherence. 

Protect the Environment From Paint Splatter

Cover all the areas subject to overspray or paint splatter, then lay the pipes for spraying. If you’re spray painting long PVC pipes, you need to protect the ladder or chair and the wall against the spray. 

Or you may choose to stand the long PVC pipes on a dowel, and then you’ll access all sides faster. 

Spray Paint the Pipes

Now, shake the spray paint for 15-20 seconds. On a sideways sweeping motion, spray-paint the PVC pipes, starting from the top as you go downwards. 

Paint the pipes using thin, consistent layers while overlapping the paint as you move downwards. That painting method helps you avoid paint drips. 

Paint a Second Coat

Allow the paint 20 to 30 minutes to dry before applying the second coat. If you laid the pipe down, allow one side to dry before turning it over and painting the other side. 

Desist from overlapping paint on previously painted areas. It helps you achieve a nice, even coat. As expected with all painting works, you’ll need to paint several coatings until you’ve achieved the “true color.”

Allow the Pipe 24 Hours to Dry

Allow the pipe at least 24 hours to cure and dry before using it for the intended project. For the projects that risk scraping the fresh paint, give the pipe at least one week to dry completely. 

If you’re not sure the amount of drying time you should give the pipe, check the paint manufacturer-recommended drying timelines. 

Additional PVC Painting Tips

How to paint PVC pipes

Adding a Glossy Look

You can add some “glossiness” to the painted PVC pipe by using a tire shine spray used on car tires to make them shine. 

Caution: Don’t use the tire spray if you intend to use the pipe as a handhold or foothold. The spray makes the pipe slippery, and the user could get injured. 

Paints Not to Use

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

FAQs

Will Paint Stay on PVC Pipe?

Paint sticks better on a rough PVC pipe than it would on a smooth PVC pipe. After sanding the pipe, experts advise using a primer coating to help the paint stick better. 

Can You Paint Over PVC Pipe?

You can paint a PVC pipe, but this can only be done when you’ve prepared the pipe adequately. Also, you should only use paints explicitly formulated for PVC. 

Can You Paint or Stain PVC Pipe?

PVC doesn’t take paint that well, but you can still paint it. The paint is prone to screwing up dimensional tolerances and flaking, but with proper preparation, the paint sticks.

With staining, you need paint that doesn’t add thickness or flake. You can then stain the fittings and pipes with different colors before assembly.

What Paint Works Best on PVC Pipe?

Krylon Fusion is a widely accepted consumer-rated spray that’s readily available.

All you need is to shake it thoroughly for 15-20 seconds. Then, in a sideways sweeping motion, spray the pipe, starting from the top downwards.

Can You Paint Plumbing Pipes?

Use a brush and paint roller if you intend only to paint the pipes and not the ceiling or wall.

Use a ladder to stand over the pipes and paint them entirely. It may seem time-consuming, but it’s the only way to paint the pipes. 

Final Thoughts

Painting PVC may seem confusing at times. However, if you follow the steps above perfectly, you’ll get the best results.