Should I paint my PVC pipes or not for outdoor plants?

Should I paint my PVC pipes or not for outdoor plants?

While working for your outdoor hydroponics system, the PVC pipes are exposed to direct sunlight and so they can invite algae growth. Over a period, these algae can clog the irrigation system and also lead to some unwanted consequences. The next concern is heat buildup on the liquid conducted by the PVC pipes.  This is certainly a big menace in outdoor hydroponic systems. The good news is both these maladies can be avoided by painting the PVC pipes. Here are the advantages of painting them and how to do it the easy way to give the best results and last for long.


The questions

The three questions in front of a hydroponics grower are will the paint leach into the nutrient solution, and what color and paint to use for painting PVC pipes. Read on to know how to approach this topic from the experience of several growers.


Advice on painting PVC pipes

The exteriors of the PVC pipes can be painted with latex paint. It is noted that painting the pipes results in preventing the light reaching the algae and also maintaining the root system fresh. The ultimate choice of color for hydroponics PVC pipes is black and this is without a second since black works best in blocking the light. At the same time, since black absorbs all light it is exposed to, it is most likely that the interiors are heated up significantly affecting the temperature of the nutrient solution. The viable way to address this issue is to top the coating with another light color layer of paint. A light color paint alone cannot block light.


Points to consider

 There are other options as well like foiling the pipe. This is not the ideal alternative since it can create hot spots and nearly burn the roots of plants. Though absolute darkness is the goal we must achieve, it is not a strict necessity although. The fact is that the darker the paint coating gets, the slower algae can grow. While choosing the right kind of paint, ensure the paint can stand up to direct sunlight and heat and will stick to the pipes. Krylon is a popular brand that most growers find suitable for PVC pipes.


User experiences

Especially with regard to outdoor gardening, growers faced several menaces in the PVC pipes like algae and mosquito larvae breeding. In most cases, painting did not harm the plants. Mold and mosquitoes did not breed after painting. Though the painting does stink for some time, even this was gone after sometime.


How to paint the PVC pipes

Clean the pipes thoroughly for removing the manufacturer’s markings, dust, dirt and other contaminants. It is always good to apply a coat of primer or sealer preferably with brands like white Kilz™ and Zinsser 1-2-3.  With regard to paint, Krylon™ Fusion brand is specially made for plastics and PVC. For adding a creative touch, go for coatings made for plastics and fiberglass available in different luster. Work under good ventilation, low humidity and temperatures between 50 and 80 degrees. Spray the paint in both up and down and back and forth sweeping motion. Avoid drips and runs and apply multiple coats in thin layers. Dry the coats enough before installing the pipes back. 


Final word

Though there are several methods adopted to prevent algae growth like administering hydrogen peroxide in the nutrient solution, they do not go without side effects to plants. Therefore, painting is the best way out to address the algae as well as heat buildup issue.


Recommended products:

  1. Ebb & Flow Extension Tub Outlet Fitting Kit For Plant Germination Click here to see tub outlet fitting
  2. Garden Hydroponic Planter Flower Cup (Hydro Tower Growing System) Click here to see flower cup

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  • Paul Barry
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