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Old 07-24-2012, 05:26 PM   #1
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Copper Primer

What primer will bond to copper?


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Old 07-24-2012, 06:52 PM   #2
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I'm sure there is something out there that works, but, the bigger question is why you would want to paint copper. I ask this question because the process of CLEANING the copper so it is ready for paint is a daunting task. I've never painted copper in my 33 years of being a painter. Sherwin-Williams would be the place to go for answers. I know they carry galvite which is a primer for galvanized metal so I'm sure they have a product for copper.


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Old 07-24-2012, 07:06 PM   #3
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sherwin-williams sells a self-crosslinking latex primer called pro-cryl, it will bond to the copper. then topcoat with a product called bond-plex. another self-cross linking polymer with extremely aggressive adhesion. prep the copper with a denatured alcohol wipe-down.
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Old 07-24-2012, 07:13 PM   #4
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I was only asked to paint copper a time or two in all the years. Once it made sense I guess as the client wanted copper radiator pipes finished. The other time was for chimney flashing and gutters and I scratched my head as to why anyone would pay for copper flashing and gutters and then want them painted? Client is always right though!

As Gymschu suggests, cleaning and etching the copper to take a primer was the hardest part and I was warned to skimp would end in disaster with adhesion being blocked and the copper oxidizing through every thing on up through the finish coats. I am a obsessed and compulsive when it comes to prep so this did not bother me so much but I remember the fumes given off. Make sure you have adequate ventilation and even I wore gloves for this part of things.

Once cleaned, I applied a self-etching metal primer as commonly used in the autobody industry. Rattle cans worked great for the radiator pipes but liquid was needed for the gutters. I do not remember if this was the brand or not but the packaging was industrial looking.

I used rattle cans for the radiator finish coats too---heat resistant engine enamel as I remember. I honestly do not remember what I used for the flashing and gutters but it was probably an oil-based product as this was some time ago. I should think any modern bonding acrylic product would adhere to the primer? Best to check though.

I guess the projects worked out as I was never called back to fix anything.

Obviously if you are painting copper pipes, you may have heat or condensation issues to consider in picking your finish coat. Again, ask at a real paint store.

Last edited by user1007; 07-24-2012 at 07:18 PM. Reason: Added Picture
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Old 09-20-2015, 05:44 PM   #5
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Painting copper

I"m an artist and planning to ad paint to my sculptures, in small parts.
I got concerns that aggressive primer will eat trough thin sheet copper.
But because most of my works are exterior i"m afraid to use the latex based.
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Old 09-20-2015, 07:16 PM   #6
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I don't see why an ordinary alkyd primer wouldn't stick well to copper.


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