People often ask us how to paint their furniture grade PVC pipe and what paint they can use. The answer is you can use any kind of paint, like spray paints from automotive retailers or DIY retailers, but you need to make sure you give the pipe the right treatment or the paint will not be durable.
Posted by Bob Bawden on 9/10/2018
The first thing you need to do is prepare the surface of the pipe. When you get the pipe, the surface of it will be nice and shiny, but that means it will repel any paint that you try to put on it, or if the paint does stick, it will peel off very easily. To prevent that, you need to key the surface of the pipe using either an acetone-type cleaner and wiping the pipe up and down, or using something like white spirits. This will take the surface off of the pipe and make it look a little dull, but you'll fix that when you apply the paint. When you are wiping the surface of the pipe, make sure you are using a cloth that won't leave little fibres on the pipe because they might get embedded in the plastic which will give you a rough finish at the end. Wipe it from top to bottom so that you're cleaning the entire length of pipe, and be careful before you put it down anywhere because the pipe will still be wet and might pick up dirt from the surface you are working over - it might be a good idea to put down some clean paper under where you're working and put your pipe down on that.
Now that the pipe has been keyed, it is ready to be painted. To get the best possible finish on your pipe, we recommend using a plastic primer which is specifically designed for PVC. Take the primer and spray the pipe from a distance of about twelve inches. The key to doing this is to be patient and not to rush the process. If you rush the primer, you risk making visible marks on the pipe from the primer running around it. Spray the pipe two or three times with the primer, and then leave it to dry completely - if the pipe is still a little wet and you move to the next stage, you risk making drip marks again. This process requires time and patience in order to achieve the lovely finish you want for your pipe.
All that's left to do now is apply the paint, whether you brush it on or spray it on! No matter what method you use to apply your paint, because you have treated the pipe correctly according to our advice, the final product will be a lovely, smooth, sleek finish.