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topic 10814

How can I paint polyethylene?


Q. How can I paint polyethylene?

Carlos Lara
- Mexico

Working with Polyethylene


A. Carlos,

To answer your question ... and all you asked was 'how do I paint Polyethylene' ... the reply is easy. Go ahead and paint!

Maybe what you meant but didn't say is HOW does one get a bond. Ah. The answer is simple. You don't.

Had you given more data, maybe I could have helped you. For instance, had you a round PE tank, then use a latex paint all over (latex being somewhat flexible) so that entire tank is painted and the paint will, so-to-speak, bond to itself, but not (very well) to the PE.

If it's a flat surface the paint would eventually come off.

freeman newton portrait
Freeman Newton
White Rock, British Columbia, Canada

(It is our sad duty to
advise that Freeman passed away
April 21, 2012. R.I.P. old friend).


A. I find the response to our Mexican friend's query about painting polyethylene to be rather "smart Alec-y". The helpful response, I believe, would be to advise him to use house exterior acrylic, which is more flexible, and will expand and contract without cracking.

For a technical bulletin on this subject, go to

Thanks,however for providing us with this forum on refinishing topics.


Steve Currie
- Anchorage, Alaska, USA



Hi Steve. Freeman is not a smart alec, but a kind spirit who has helped countless inquirers on hundreds of different threads here. But we all have our individual styles which don't always come across perfectly from viewing a single posting. Thanks for the info and the link.


Ted Mooney,
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey

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