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Can I Paint My Drain Pipe?

Ugly, rusty drain pipes are one of the biggest turnoffs in a home.

But before you replace them with new plastic ones, have you considered painting them?

Drain pipes can be painted and look just as nice as all-new plastics and are often even more economical than brand new pipe. Best of all, they’re very easy to make your own!

Older homes may already have drain pipes that are made from steel, which is a material you can easily paint.

Steel pipe painting isn’t as pretty or easy as the more modern plastic pipes, but it can be done.

We’ll go over things to consider including paints to use in a minute, but you’ll be happy to learn that plastics are easier.

Different types of drain pipes

The first thing you need to figure out is what kind of drain pipes you have.

They’re either steel or plastic like pvc.

Steel pipe is easy to spot because it looks either like copper, tin can, or it’s just plain rusty.

Copper’s outside will be a dull grey and it’ll have an orange-ish sheen to it.

They also may have a copper coating, which will be more shiny and silver than dull grey or orange.

Steel piping is dull grey and has a gentle sheen on the outside.

PVC pipes are either white or black plastic.

Pipes are a lot easier to clean if they’re white, but you can still use black pipe and get the job done.

Can I paint my drain pipe?

Ew, gross!

There’s nothing worse than seeing rust stains, and other filthy stuff on the surface of your drain pipes.

So the question is can I paint my drain pipe?

A lot of people believe that painting a pipe is the best way to make it last. 

And there’s so much long lasting paint in stores today.

But is this the best idea?

The bottom line is that yes, you can paint your drain pipes. 

However, you have to do it the right way to ensure that you don’t create bigger problems down the road.

So let’s get into it!

Things to consider

1. The material used to make the pipe

This is important because some pipes are made out of plastic or copper, which may not be compatible with paint.

2. The type of paint

Each type of paint is made with different chemicals, and some may not be able to withstand the high temperature inside your pipes.

Some paints may be too thick or have bits of chips that will cause it to peel off when used on the exterior of your pipes.

3. Gaps in the pipe

If you’re dealing with joints between pipes, or residue left by plastic tapes, make sure to clean them until there is no more residue on the surface of the pipe. 

If this is not done, these gaps may cause the paint to break apart which makes it less effective.

4. Holes

Holes in your drain pipe may also allow the chemicals in the paint to leak inside your pipes – which defeats the purpose of painting it. 

After all, you want the chemicals to stay outside.

5. Pests or mold

If there’s an infestation inside your drain pipes, chances are the paint will do nothing to stop it.

6. It takes time to dry

If you don’t let the paint cure before using your drain pipes, there’s a chance that it can break apart – leaving your drain pipes vulnerable to leaks, rust and pest attacks.

Paints to you use on drain pipes

Paint is a versatile tool that you can use to give your home a new look, but there are limits on its uses.

If you’re planning on painting your drain pipe, the best thing to do is choose a paint designed for this purpose.

There are many paints that can be used on drain pipes, but there are also certain precautions to take.

The best paints to use on your pipes are ones that can withstand extreme temperatures, and are resistant to chemical attacks.

A lot of paints in the market today have lead content – which can poison your drain pipes.

There are three types of paints that you can use on your drain pipes.

1. Epoxy paint

This is the most popular choice because it works well in extreme temperatures, and can withstand chemicals. 

It can be used on new and old pipes. It also adheres well to any surface, and can be used even on pipes that have been damaged by rust or chemicals.

2. Latex paint

While it does not have the same resistance to chemicals as epoxy, this type of paint is extremely durable and can withstand heat. 

It also works well on pipes made of copper, and for plastic pipes. Again, it should be used in a more controlled environment to prevent permeating moisture.

3. Enamel paint

This type is usually used in industrial plants, and can withstand both chemicals and heat. It will also protect your pipes from rust. It however, shouldn’t be used for plastic pipes.

Drain pipe painting is something that should never be rushed through, because the results may be disastrous.

However, if you prepare well by choosing the best paint for your pipes, and apply it correctly – then you can get long term results that will protect your pipes from the elements, pests, and corrosion.

Can you spray paint a galvanized pipe?

Ceramic tile, concrete, even rubber – you can paint anything with spray paint.

Heck some people have even resorted to painting items such as chairs and walls with no previous paint job.

PVC pipe is even a viable option.

Odds are you know someone who has painted their PVC pipe.

These days it’s as common as painting a chair or fence.

So is it possible to spray paint a galvanized pipe? The answer is not as straightforward as you would like.

There are some restrictions involved that make this a little bit more tricky than simply unearthing the old paint can and spray away.

Galvanization and how it affects painting

Galvanization refers to the process of coating a metal with zinc. 

Originally intended for industrial uses, the process of galvanization has been adapted to residential use.

Because galvanized coatings are very thin and flimsy, they are most often applied to other materials.

For example, if you have a metal door or roofing, they are more than likely galvanized.

Most modern metals are coated with zinc at some point during their manufacturing process.

The metal coating on galvanized steel pipes makes it difficult for paint to adhere.

Painting a galvanized pipe is possible, but you have to make adjustments to your regular painting process.

Here are 4 steps to do that:

  1. Prepare the pipe by cleaning dust and dirt from the surface before painting it.
  1. Wipe white vinegar along the pipe’s surface to ensure that any film is gone for the paint to adhere.
  1. Prime the galvanized surface with a primer to create a stronger bond between the galvanized coatings and paint.
  1. Finally, paint the galvanized surface with rust-resistant paint.

There you have it!

You can definitely paint your drain pipe.

It might be messy though, as you should really clean it first before painting.

In fact, painting the drain pipe is an effective way of making it last longer.

However, you should not use any paint that contains any lead, as this can be very toxic to your body.

Fume-free paints are recommended for safety reasons.

Now that you know the answer to the question, you can get started on your project.

Remember to clean and dry the pipe first before painting it or any part of your house for that matter.