The outside doors of my 13-year-old house have off-white plastic grilles that give the appearance of divided lites. I need to paint them, but the paints I have tested, both water base and oil base, don’t seem to adhere properly. The paint department at my local home center wasn’t much help. Is there a product that can be applied to plastic that allows paint to bond properly?
Les Stamper, Zirconia, NC
Brian J. Doherty, a painting contractor in Richmond, Virginia, replies: Paint and primers have evolved so much in recent years that I’m pretty sure that I could paint air if I had the right primer. The answer to painting plastic is the same: Use the right primer.
I recommend that you visit your local paint-supply store. Home centers are great for a lot of things, but in most cases, a local paint store can give you a better-informed answer. Tell them what you intend to paint, or better yet, bring one of the grilles into the store if they detach easily.
A 100% acrylic primer would almost certainly fill the bill for your window grilles. I’ve had outstanding results on all types of surfaces with Benjamin Moore’s Fresh Start (www.benjaminmoore.com; 888-236-6667). It dries quickly, but it takes days to cure and bond. A finish coat then can be applied the same day, after the primer dries. The primer then continues to cure underneath the top coat.
I’d start by cleaning the plastic thoroughly with a good, strong household spray cleaner to remove any dirt, mold or mildew. Rinse the grilles well, and let them dry completely. Then apply the acrylic primer. For best results, I’d avoid painting the plastic in direct sunlight.