How To Paint PVC Pipe (Easy DIY Guide With Pictures)

You see a DIY cabana made out of PVC pipe, yet it looks like metal, wood, bamboo, anything but PVC pipe. How can you get paint to stick to PVC pipe? 

Will any paint bond to PVC pipe? 

Read on to discover how the pros paint PVC pipes. 

PVC pipes can be used in all kinds of home and garden projects, from furniture to playhouses to poolside equipment organizers; there is no limit to the possible uses of PVC pipes. 

Although it can be found in black or a handful of other colors, the most common color PVC piping comes in is white. And, well, white is not always the best choice of color for all projects.

If any of the piping is exposed in the design, the whole project’s aesthetics can be thrown off or look cheap if left white. However, many homeowners have discovered that PVC piping can be painted effectively and quickly. It can even be made to look like various wood or metal textures.  

PVC Water Pipe
  • Can You Paint PVC Pipe To Protect It From The Sun? 
    Although the strength of PVC pipe is not affected by the sun, the surface can become discolored and chalky with prolonged exposure. Painting or wrapping the outer surface will protect it from the sun’s damaging UV rays. 
  • Is It Good To Paint PVC Pipe Surfaces? 
    The surface of any PVC pipe that is not covered in some way should be protected. Painting it light or reflective color protects better than darker colors. 
  • Do Certain Paints Adhere Better To PVC Pipe? 
    Although plastic is difficult to paint, you can still use spray paint for it. However, paints formulated specifically for plastics are available. Rustoleum for Plastic and Krylon Fusion All-in-One have enamel spray paints that adhere very well to PVC pipes. 
  • While some latex and acrylic paints can be used on plastic, most of those just straight-off-the shelves may flake or peel off easily. Water-based paints will just beat up and drip off. Oil-based paints will not stick to PVC pipes. Epoxy-based paints will stick with proper priming, but it is challenging and can be dangerous to work with without training. 
  • Can You Paint Over PVC Pipe Wrap? 
    The surface of PVC pipe wrap is smooth and may make it difficult for paint to stick. Use an ammonia-based cleaner to get the dirt and debris off the surface first. Using a primer for plastics will ensure the paint adheres to the wrap. 
  • Can You Paint An Orange PVC Sprinkler Pipe? 
    As a matter of safety, it is not recommended that you paint over an orange PVC sprinkler pipe because you will clog the sprinkler. This will void any warranty and could cause massive damage if a fire were to occur. 
  • Can You Spray Paint PVC Pipe On A Pool? 
    Yes, you can spray paint PVC pipe on a pool with care. A marine paint for plastics is recommended, but Rustoleum and Krylon spray paints for plastics work just fine. You will want to prepare the surface first. If water is in the pool, you will want to take some precautions to keep the paint out of the water. 
  • Can You Spray Paint PVC Pipe For An Aquarium? 
    Aquarium PVC pipe can be spray painted safely with marine safe paint. Make sure it is cleaned well first. Once the paint is completely dried, it will not be toxic for marine animals. 
  • Can You Apply Semi-Gloss Paint Over PVC Pipe? 
    If the semi-gloss paint is formulated for use on plastics or is enamel, you can apply it to PVC pipes.  
  • Can You Apply Stain To PVC Pipe? 
    Yes, you can apply stain to PVC pipe with either a brush or a clean rug like you would wood surfaces.   
  • Can Paint Harm PVC Pipe?
    Not many paints will harm PVC pipes, but paint thinners will. If you plan to have water flowing through them, paint can cause clogs. 

How To Paint PVC Pipe (Step By Step DIY Guide) 

What type of paint is used on PVC pipes?

Although epoxy-based paint adheres the best to raw PVC pipes, it can be extremely harmful to individuals if it is not applied correctly.

Easier, safer choices are an enamel spraypaint, good quality exterior latex paint, or acrylic paints formulated especially for plastics. Some prep work will be required to make the paints stick to PVC better. 

Mixing White Paint for PVC Pipe

Tools, Supplies, And Materials Needed

  • Dropcloth or plastic to protect surfaces 
  • Rubber gloves 
  • Safety goggles 
  • Mask 
  • 220-grit sandpaper 
  • Acetone, denatured alcohol, or an ammonia-based cleaner 
  • Clean rag 
  • Paint  

Here Are The Steps To Follow

  • 1
    Prepare your workspace in a well-ventilated area out of the wind on a day that is 50-85 with low humidity. Layout your drop cloth and don your protective gear.
  • 2
    Gently sand the pipe with the sandpaper. Move the sandpaper in all directions to avoid creating straight lines and uneven surfaces.
  • 3
    Clean the surface with a rag dampened with the cleaner of your choice. Acetone will cause the pipe to swell, making it more porous, which can help the paint to stick better.
  • 4
    Let the pipe dry for 20-30 minutes.
  • 5
    Shake the spray paint for about 30 seconds and start spraying. Start at the top and sweep side to side as you work down the pipe. Apply the paint in thin, overlapping layers to avoid drips.
  • 6
    Take a 20-30 break.
  • 7
    Add a second coat of paint.
  • 8
    Allow 24 hours to dry. 

How Can You Paint A PVC Pipe To Look Like Metal?

To make PVC pipe look like metal, use metallic or flat black paint.

Priming it will help it to look smoother and hold the paint better.

Gold, silver, and chrome spray paints look fantastic. 

White Painted Water Pipe

How Can You Paint A PVC Pipe To Look Like Wood?

Use a wood file to cut shallow, random marks on the surface and open ends.

Use a heat gun to gently warm and shape the pipe. 

Rub on a wood stain with a clean rag.

The scratches and marks will take on more of the stain color to make it look like wood grain. 

How Can You Paint A PVC Pipe To Look Like Bamboo?

For a bamboo look, apply a ring of caulk every several inches.

Use a toothpick to make indentations along the ring of caulk.

Allow the pipe to dry upright, then brush on shellac.

Let the shellac dry completely before assembling the structure. 

Safety Tips & Tricks When Painting PVC Pipes

What Are The Safety Precautions To Take? 

  • Be sure to work in a well-ventilated area. Unless it has great airflow, painting PVC pipe in the basement is not a good idea. 
  • A mask, rubber gloves, and goggles will help with any fumes or possible splatters.  
  • Do not work near a heater, flame, or smoke while working with the acetone or paints. 

How Can You Make The Paint Last On A PVC Pipe Surface?  

Adding a polyurethane or waterproofer will help the paint stay on the pipe surface longer. 

Will Paint Stay On PVC Pipes? 

If sealed properly, the paint could last about 10 years. 

How Do You Paint The Inside Of PVC Pipe? 

To paint the inside of a PVC pipe, you will need to follow the same steps as best you can to clean it and remove as much dirt and dust as possible. Use the long nozzle straw that comes with most spray paint cans to get the paint deeply inside. Slowly draw the straw out as you work in a circular motion. 

How Do You Paint PVC Pipe Furniture? 

It is best to paint PVC pipe furniture while it is disassembled, but you can paint it if it is already put together. Remove or protect any surfaces you do not want to paint. Clean the exposed pipe before applying primer or paint. 

Grey Painted PVC Pipes

Common Questions About Painting PVC Pipe 

How long does it take for paint to dry on A PVC pipe? 

A good rule of thumb is to allow at least 24 hours for the paint to dry and cure on a PVC pipe before assembling the pieces for the project. This will guarantee no smearing will happen to the painted surface, and any adhesive will stick properly to joints. 

What are the benefits of painting PVC pipes? 

Painting PVC pipes that are exposed to the sun will protect the pipes from becoming chalky or possibly cracking or warping due to heat. Painting PVC pipes will also make the project look more finished and beautiful. 

How can you make the paint stick on A PVC pipe? 

A good quality exterior paint primer or a spray primer for plastics will make the paint adhere better to PVC pipe. 

Which is better for PVC pipes, spray paint, or painting with brush or rollers? 

Depending on the look you are after, any of these application methods will work well for PVC pipes. If you are using a brush, roller, or even a rag, cleaning the surface and using a primer is a must. 


PVC pipes can be painted with specially formulated acrylic, latex exterior paint, or enamel spray paints. With just a few supplies and a little prep work, this incredible product can be transformed into expensive-looking materials to create amazing home and garden projects. Painting PVC pipes unlock possibilities for your next home improvement project.