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8/1/2001 | 1 MINUTE READ

Painting Resin Chairs

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Question: This is probably not the right forum for this question, since it is a household item and not a product that I am manufacturing.

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Question:

This is probably not the right forum for this question, since it is a household item and not a product that I am manufacturing. However, this is a perplexing problem and I thought that I would ask. I have some resin chairs that are very dirty looking but in good shape. I have tried everything to clean them without any luck. Is there some kind of paint that I can use to spruce them up so that they look presentable? M.K.

Answer:

You came to the right place, M.K. When I was working, we called this type of problem a "government job." We could solve all types of problems. We once made a cast polyurethane replacement wheel for a $15 child's grocery cart. It probably cost the company $1,500.

Your resin chair (they call it resin because plastic sounds cheap) is made of a polyolefin resin. Polyolefins are notoriously hard to paint because their surface affords poor adhesion to organic coatings. However, they can be painted if the surface is pretreated. Polyethylene and polypropylene lawn ornaments and children's toy are painted successfully.

The easiest surface pretreatment for polyolefins is flame treating. If you are faint-hearted, don't try this at home. Otherwise, on a nice day go outside onto your concrete patio (but not your wooden deck) or your concrete driveway (but not asphalt) and impinge the flame from a propane torch on the entire surface of the object to be painted. Keep the flame moving so that you do not burn or melt the plastic. After treating the entire surface, paint the resin chair with the solvent-borne paint of your choice.

 

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