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What type of paint to use on posts made of recycled plastic


Hi, has anyone painted posts made of recyled plastics? This is the plastics that would normally be recyled: milk jugs, plastic bags, etc. This is a new product on the market, which I am trying because I am tired of replacing fence post approx. every 10 years due to rot. I have tried cedar, creosoted stakes and posts and pressure treated posts.
I have been given various and conflicting information on how to paint them. example:
1) tremclad paint because it will stick to anything.
2) use latex paint because it will breath, therefor not crack in the winter
3) use generic alkyd enamal because that is what the spray can plastic paints are.
4) use the plastic paint, but this would be cost prohibitive, because I can only get them in the small spray cans, and I need to paint 200 5"x5"x4' posts.
5) do not paint the posts because they will peel and look ugly
The posts are a greyish colour and I would like to paint them white, to match my rails -- purely asthetic reasons.
Any information would be appreciated, because I'm at a stand still in my fencing, until I get this painting issue resolved. thanks

Yasemin Dunn
backroad farm breeder of childrens riding ponies - Hazelbrook, Prince Edward Island, Canada


Wotcher Yasemin !

Recycled plastics? Hmmm. They would be a mixture of Pe, PP, ABS, styrene .... and to get a good bond, no, I don't think that you'd ever succeed (it can be done but at a hellish expense). There is no (successful) glue, cement or paint for Polyethylene.

I'd use an ordinary outdoor latex. The paint may not necessarily 'stick' too well but it will STICK TO ITSELF and hence should be OK unlike on a flat surface.

Also, all paints shrink somewhat ... with the expensive lacquer type paints shrinking considerably.

But peeling? Dunno. Give it a try with latex but clean the posts first of all.

freeman newton portrait
Freeman Newton [deceased]
(It is our sad duty to advise that Freeman passed away
April 21, 2012. R.I.P. old friend).

If you are trying to paint polypropylene, you'll find that most paints out there won't stick too well. You could still get some cans of cheap white spray paint at the hardware store and do the job, but you'll probably be painting multiple times in a year.

Jake Koch
G. J. Nikolas &Co.,Inc.
supporting advertiser
Bellwood, Illinois
nikolas banner ad

To add my two cents to what has already been said, I would use a latex primer applied in two thin coats after first lightly sanding the plastic surface. Then I would apply the final finish with an exterior latex, again in two thin coats. I think that the primer over the sanded plastic will give you mechanical bonding to form a base for the painted final finish.

Gene Packman
process supplier - Great Neck, New York

I don't have an answer yet for you, but am very interested in where you purshased the posts. We are a sign shop looking for ways to lessen our impact. If we purchase some of the posts, we will also want to paint them and I will send you the results of our testing. At the moment, whem we want to paint PVC plastic we use Sherwin Williams Alkalyd DTM (Direct-to Metal)paint.

Kim Miller-Tallman
- Bonner Springs, KS, USA
June 11, 2008

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