What paint for PVC?

unclebun

Active Member
I have a job I was going to use Gemini acrylic letters on but my installer is trying to convince me to use routed 3/4" PVC letters. However I would then have to paint them (red for some, blue for others). I've never had much success painting expanded PVC. He recommends Behr Ultra house paint. Does anyone do this successfully? What kind of longevity do you get?
 

rjssigns

Active Member
Gemini = Lifetime. Paint = you're on the hook when it goes bad. Not sure where the savings are if you have to paint and hope it turns out.
 

unclebun

Active Member
I know the value of Gemini. I've used their letters and have benefited from their lifetime warranty for decades. But I am exploring other possibilities. Fact is, many of the businesses I do signs for don't last for a lifetime.
 

Gino

Premium Subscriber
Believe it or not, but according to the size of these things, Krylon isn't bad and will last at least 5 years outside, but I don't know about red.

Anyway, why not just buy the PVC in the color you need ??
 

MikePro

Member
have you tried simply looking up the literature from your PVC manufacturer? (for example, Sintra)
there are also hundred of youtube videos of people explaining how to prepare/paint expanded foam pvc board using various methods.
 

unclebun

Active Member
I can certainly look at methods suggested by manufacturers, and sure there's youtube videos out there, but can I believe what I see in a Youtube video?

As to the Sintra document you linked, there's nothing there I haven't seen before, and if I use any of the paints that are suggested in their table, it will end up costing more than buying Gemini letters. But my question did not involve the 2-part paint systems or lacquers they give good results for. It was suggested to me that an exterior latex house paint was good for this application, and I am asking if anyone has experience which would corroborate this claim.
 

Gino

Premium Subscriber
From old time experience, you need a paint that will bite into the PVC. I'd at least use a lacquer based based paint. I know the latex paints have come a long way, but I haven't found any that resist peeling off of any plastics.
 

unclebun

Active Member
That has been my experience as well. This guy that is pushing it says he's been doing it all over the Des Moines area. I wanted to see if anyone else has been doing it. After all, they apparently can't even count and use their phones right up there in Iowa.
 

rjssigns

Active Member
I know the value of Gemini. I've used their letters and have benefited from their lifetime warranty for decades. But I am exploring other possibilities. Fact is, many of the businesses I do signs for don't last for a lifetime.

True. Local group figured they would try their hand at the restaurant biz. Building rehab took about 6 months. I don't think they lasted 3 weeks before they closed.
 

JBurton

Signtologist
If it comes down to ordering the letters and handing them to the installer, or cutting, prepping, painting the letters, making a pattern, boxing it up, and not forgetting the mounting hardware, I think I'd take the first option. As far as paint on the foam, I'd go for Gino's colored faces suggestion before I'd use house paint, but ya won't know until you try. How are the letters mounting?
 

unclebun

Active Member
They would be stud mount whether they come from Gemini or the routed PVC. Right now, I'm leaning towards doing the Gemini letters because I'm not seeing that the price to the customer will be all that much less by the time I have to paint all the letters. I'm guessing the only way the PVC letters come out cheaper is if I apply the lowball thinking like the ACM sign price thread going on now. I'm not averse to doing things like painting and finishing, but I will charge for the shop time and materials if I do so.
 

Texas_Signmaker

Very Active Signmaker
I'm guessing the only way the PVC letters come out cheaper is if I apply the lowball thinking like the ACM sign price thread going on now. I'm not averse to doing things like painting and finishing, but I will charge for the shop time and materials if I do so.

Exactly. Get paid to sub that out, be done with it an move on to the next project. You can make more $$ for time invested doing it this way... AND get a lifetime warranty.
 

TimToad

Active Member
For jobs just like you've described where the client's budget or longevity expectation doesn't fit with the cost of Gemini letters, we've had really good luck with Benjamin Moore Super Spec, industrial enamel. We prime the PVC with Insl-x brand STIX primer, then spray on the Super Spec. It flows out nicely, bonds well, dries hard and comes in several finishes.
 

visual800

Member
Yes I have painted 3/4 PVC with latex BEHR paint with much success. I always prime with 2 part auto epoxy and spray the BEHR, beautiful satin finish. NEVER let anyone rush you into doing anything and if you have no experience spraying I wouldnt "learn" on this job
 
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I like to use acrylic enamel on PVC. Buy it at an automotive paint store, use reducer per the instructions. You can get it in 1 part or 2 part depending on brand and product line. Sprays super easy and lays down nice. Drys to touch in minutes and ready to handle in about 30 min.
 

GB2

Member
The PVC you are questioning is the same material commonly used in the housing industry today as a brand name Azek,, Versatex, Kleer or others. These materials are being painted everywhere with typical housing paints, which carry warranties in the range of 20-25 years, with great success. There is no reason you can't do the same with any quality acrylic latex paint, properly applied in accordance with each manufacturers instructions. We regularly use Benjamin Moore and Sherwin Williams paints on PVC with no issues. As with any painting process, proper preparation is the key.
 

LarryB

New Member
I just did a job with painted blue 3/4" thick PVC letters which were stud mounted. We used a one part ink from Sherwin Williams made specifically for plastic. Took a couple coats but everything turned out nice.
 
I have a job I was going to use Gemini acrylic letters on but my installer is trying to convince me to use routed 3/4" PVC letters. However I would then have to paint them (red for some, blue for others). I've never had much success painting expanded PVC. He recommends Behr Ultra house paint. Does anyone do this successfully? What kind of longevity do you get?
Matthews paint- brush returns first let dry , sand edges, then spray. if you don't do edges first, they come out like crap.
 
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