Black pipe, also known as black iron or cast-iron pipe, is a durable and flexible material that may be used for natural gas lines to water heaters, furnaces, and other large appliances. It’s commonly confused with galvanized iron pipes often used for other household supply lines.
When it comes to painting black plumbing pipes, these can easily be cleaned and painted in dark colors to blend in with the surroundings. If you’re considering repainting them in your home, I have discussed a few things to keep in mind here in this article. So, go through them before you get started…
Cleaning Black Pipe
Like with any other surface, cleaning and preparing the black pipes before painting is key to getting your paint project right.
You should clean black iron the same way you clean other types of iron, but since it’s frequently used for gas, you must avoid using flammable chemicals.
Here are the exact cleaning steps you should follow…
- First, pour some warm water over your black iron pipes.
- Then use a plastic scrub brush to clean the surface of the pipes and remove the accumulated dirt that may have built up.
- Finally, pat the area dry with a paper towel.
If a simple clean-up does not remove the gunk, use steel wool or wet/dry sandpaper to clean the pipes.
- Wet the pipe’s surface with water and scrub it with steel wool or sandpaper.
- Keep scrubbing until you have removed all the stains, debris, and gunk.
- Rinse the area with water and dry it completely using a dry towel or paper towel.
If the black pipes are heavily rusted, use some elbow grease and a good rust-converter product before painting. Otherwise, the paint will not adhere properly to the surface.
To deal with rust, you may also need to unscrew the black iron pipes from one another, which should be done carefully. I won’t be going into those details over here. If you want, you can check here to find detailed steps on how to do that.
A word of caution: Do not clean black iron pipes that are already being utilized as a gas line with steel wool. Metal rubbing against metal might create a spark, resulting in a fire even in case of a minor gas leak.
Spray Painting Black Pipes
Painting the black pipe surface is pretty straightforward since all you need is to use a quality paint sprayer to apply an even coating. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the sprayer along with the steps I mentioned below…
Step 1- Prepare the area
Before beginning, take the necessary safety precautions by ventilating the area and opening windows and doors if the pipes are located somewhere inside.
In addition, place drop cloths or plastic sheeting over anything you don’t want the paint to get on. Also, use painter’s tape for delicate areas or edges of the black pipe.
Step 2- Spray paint the black pipe
For spray painting the black pipe, I recommend using Stove Paint that’s available with brands like Krayon and Rust-Oleum. These are the specialized high-heat paints perfect for pipes that carry water from your dishwasher or oven.
Start by giving the paint can a good shake, then spray from a distance of 12-16 inches from the surface.
Use even and consistent strokes while keeping the can at a perpendicular angle to the pipe. Continue moving along the length of the black pipe until you have covered the entire surface. Since black pipes are already dark and often black, you may need to use enough paint to cover the black color.
Step 3- Apply an additional paint coat to the pipes
Allow the first paint coating to dry completely for at least 24 hours then apply a second coat evenly to help the pipes withstand wear and tear better. You can apply a third coat of paint if you feel the need to do so.
After applying the final coat of paint, let the external gas pipes dry for 24 hours before you remove the taping and drop cloths.
What Color Should Gas Pipes be Painted?
Black gas or water pipes can be painted with a color that matches the surroundings or your home décor.
Also, when deciding on the color to paint electrical utility boxes, gas meters, and pipes, remember that some locales will require them to paint a certain color.
So, it’s good to check with the concerned authorities before you pick any specific shade other than black.
Based on sources, if you are in the United States or Canada, you can follow these guidelines:
|electric power lines, cables, conduit, and lighting cables
|telecommunication, alarm or signal lines, cables, or conduit
|natural gas, oil, steam, petroleum, or other gaseous or flammable material
|sewers and drain lines
|reclaimed water, irrigation, and slurry lines
|temporary survey markings, unknown/unidentified facilities
|proposed excavation limits or route
How Do You Keep a Black Iron Pipe from Rusting?
The primary distinction between black iron and steel pipes lies in their construction.
Black iron pipes are seam-welded, which allows the user to connect them quickly and easily to other pieces of pipe using connector valves. Steel pipe, however, is more often used in industrial applications and must be welded together.
Even though there isn’t much you can do about the natural elements of erosion and wear, rusting is a problem you may keep in check.
Rust generally develops at locations where the paint is peeling. If this situation is dealt with early on, it will save you a lot of time and money in the long run. This means touching up the damaged paint on a regular basis is an excellent method by which you can easily prevent rust.
Keep in mind that black iron pipes do not come with a passivator, but they do have an oily surface coating to prevent rust formation. This can prevent the paint from adhering and must be removed before painting by rubbing down the pipe with mineral spirits or acetone.
That said, do not use too much solvent for cleaning as it can erode or cut down the metal and can decrease the shelf life of the pipe.
The bottom line
While it’s easy to clean the black pipes and get them painted, make sure to do your research and use the proper products for the job.
In addition, be patient and let the paint dry completely before using the pipes again. With a little bit of elbow grease during the maintenance process, you can have your black pipes looking brand new in no time.
Jack Luis is a semi-retired painter who loved painting his clients’ ideas on their walls.
He had worked as a painter for over a decade serving customers in areas such as Charleston, Mount Pleasant, Beaufort, and Georgetown, SC (South Carolina). Today in his free time, he likes to read and write about the newer techniques implemented in his profession. You may read more about him here or get in touch with him here.