Best Primer for ABS Plastic

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Forum topic by wilschroter posted 09-26-2018 12:48 PM 4578 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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164 posts in 1612 days

09-26-2018 12:48 PM

I need to paint some Schedule 40 Pipe (ABS Plastic) and can’t seem to find a primer that doens’t scratch right off. Has anyone found a primer that can adhere well to ABS? Ideally a flat black.

7 replies so far

View lumbering_on's profile


578 posts in 1577 days

#1 posted 09-26-2018 12:58 PM

You may want to try an auto parts store as they should have something to paint motorcycle parts. I had a friend back in HS that does art work on ABS and it took a lot of prep to get it to come out right, so you may want to ask the store what you need to prep it properly.

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

6993 posts in 3581 days

#2 posted 09-26-2018 01:02 PM

I think this stuff might work, seems to me like I tried it once and it held up.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View Bill Berklich's profile

Bill Berklich

1179 posts in 1476 days

#3 posted 09-26-2018 01:22 PM

Most US based Sched 40 is white PVC. Sand it with 300 and wipe it with Acetone wait 2 hours (yes, you have wait, Acetone swells the pipe surface) Paint it with solvent based paint. (waterborne paint won’t stick for very long)

If it actually is Sched 40 ABS sand it with 300 and wipe it with a tack cloth. Use a solvent based paint like Krylon Fusion or Rustoleum for Plastic. Both have higher solvent content.

-- Bill - Rochester MI

View John Smith's profile

John Smith

2927 posts in 1250 days

#4 posted 09-26-2018 02:32 PM

I agree with the Krylon Fusion. . . . I made several fishing rod holders out of 2” PVC
for the beach and painted them yellow with a red top so the TOURISTS wouldn’t trip over them.
I have some that are 10 years old and have seen a lot of abuse as well as massive amounts
of UV rays and the paint holds up well. . . . even the part that is pounded into the sand.

I guess this would qualify as a Climatic and Environmental Exposure Test ??



-- there is no educational alternative to having a front row seat in the School of Hard Knocks. --

View GR8HUNTER's profile


8428 posts in 1800 days

#5 posted 09-26-2018 03:40 PM

Krylon Fusion +3 :<))

-- Tony---- Reinholds,Pa.------ REMEMBER TO ALWAYS HAVE FUN :<))

View Bill Berklich's profile

Bill Berklich

1179 posts in 1476 days

#6 posted 09-26-2018 05:18 PM

I agree with the Krylon Fusion. . . . I

I guess this would qualify as a Climatic and Environmental Exposure Test ??



- John Smith

THAT is def environmental testing

-- Bill - Rochester MI

View CaptainKlutz's profile


4458 posts in 2582 days

#7 posted 09-26-2018 08:31 PM

As long as the ABS/PVC surface is clean and not polished smooth, most any paint will stick to it. Cars have used paint on ABS plastic for decades. Have used painted PVC pipe for many outdoor projects. Problem with paint on plastic is when part bends and had paint cracks, which allows water to creep underneath and reduce adhesion. The new Krylon Fusion or Rustoleum plastic paints stick to flexible plastics extremely well.

When painting plastic pipe, I do something similar to Bluenote38, except I avoid solvent with ketones that will dissolve the plastic. If you use a solvent the melts the surface, you can lose the mechanically roughened surface created for good bond.
My process is simple: sand with 150/220, wipe with denatured alcohol, let dry fully, and then paint with generic spray enamel.
If I am typing to make something ‘pretty’, will roughen with 150 grit, clean with alcohol, spray appropriate color primer, sand fuzz off with 220 + 400 grit, then spray top coat.

Additional FWIW: any competent pool installer in desert southwest knows they must paint PVC outdoor pool plumbing to stop UV damage. My pool repair guy swore easiest solution was to wipe the pipe with standard PVC pipe cleaning solvent (MEK), which melts the surface slightly; then spray on cheapest gray spray enamel he could find (~dollar a can from BORG). The pipe will last longer than rest of pool equipment sitting in sun all day.

Solvent welding adhesives for PVC are mostly MEK, while adhesives for ABS are mixture of acetone and MEK. If you desire to soften the ABS surface prior to painting for better adhesion of your special chosen paint, use acetone as suggested previously. Note that if plastic surface is still wet or ‘soft’ before you paint it, will need extra day(s) for paint to dry.


-- If it wasn't for bad luck, I wouldn't have no luck at all, Doom, despair, agony on me… - Albert King - Born Under a Bad Sign released 1967

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