9 Tips For Painting Copper Pipes!

More and more people have started to customise their copper pipes in their homes as a part of their home decor projects. Due to a number of photographs on social media going viral showing copper piped painting to meet the look of the room, painting copper pipes has become surprisingly popular in a very short period of time. Each month we have noticed more and more people reaching out and asking for advice on how they should be going about painting their copper pipes.

As so many people are reaching out every single month and asking for advice, tips, and tricks on how they should be going about painting copper pipes, we have decided to publish this article. Our hope is that we will be able to help our users successfully paint the copper pipes in their home to get the best end result possible while also avoiding a number of the more common mistakes that we see beginners making time and time again.

Depending on exactly what you are trying to do with your copper pipes, you may only need a single tip or trick from this article so we have added our table of contents below. This allows you to quickly and easily navigate to the section of the article that applied to your specific needs to help you get the results that you want when painting your copper pipes with minimal effort.

Painting Copper Pipes

The main problem that we see time and time again from people, especially beginners who are looking to paint their copper pipes is that they will use an unsuitable paint for the job. This ends up delivering poor results and then leads to the belief that you are not able to paint copper pipes but this is not correct at all.

In addition to this, many people who do paint copper pipes themselves are beginners to home decoration and will not have the required experience to do the job correctly for the most part. Another issue that leads to so many people thinking that you cant paint copper pipes is that most people only share the bad stories on social media rather than the good.

As we touched on back at the start of the article, if you look at Instagram accounts based around home decor then there are plenty examples of how you are able to paint copper pipes without issue and get great results. Some of these posts from Instagram going viral is the main reason that we see so many questions being asked about how you should go about painting your copper pipes right now too.

Can Copper Pipes Be Painted?

Copper pipes can be painted and provided you use the correct paint, you can get excellent results and complete the look of your room by getting your copper pipes to blend in with the rest of the painted surfaces. Keep in mind that copper pipes, especially heated copper pipes do require a specialist paint rather than the normal paint that you have used on your walls, doors and trim.

So many people presume that they are able to use a paint that has been designed for use on walls, doors, trim or other surfaces in your home on their copper pipes and this is not true. Surfaces such as metal and glass often require a specialist paint to work well and in many situations, other paint types simply won’t work. If your copper pipes have hot water running through them for your radiator system then this whole process becomes even more complicated as the paint you use needs to offer heat tolerance too.

Thankfully, over the last decade or so, more and more paint brands have started to use offer products that not only work well with metal surfaces like your copper pipes but also metal surfaces that are warm or even hot. This has made the job of painting your copper pipes considerably easier than it once was and drastically reduces the chances of your painted copper pipes flaking, peeling, or having their paint fade quickly.

What Paint Should You Use On Copper Pipes?

A paint that has been designed for use with radiators is often the best option for painting copper pipes in most cases. Not only are these paint formulas available in a huge range of colors these days but they are also able to bond to metal with minimal issues while also performing well on a warm or hot surface too.

This makes the various radiator paint formulas on the market great options for painting your copper pipes but as you may expect, some paint formulas perform much better than others. In our opinion, the best paint formula on the market for use on your copper pipes is Rust-Oleum Heat Protective Paint with it performing particularly well when used on copper pipes while also being available in one of the wides ranges of colors too.

The ease of use, low price tag, and excellent performance of the paint has managed to earn it an excellent reputation since its release and its reputation just keeps on getting stronger and stronger. We doubt that this will change any time soon and only expect the paint to become more popular in the future due to so many people looking to paint their copper piping these days.

What Is The Best Primer For Copper Pipes?

Although it is not essential to use a paint primer on your copper pipes if you are using a suitable paint, there are some primers on the market that are often able to drastically improve the performance of the paint. Not only do these primers ensure that certain paint formulas will bond to the actual metal of your copper pipes better but they also prevent the strong copper color from showing with pale colored paints.

You have to be sure that you are using a suitable primer like the Rust-Oleum Metal Primer though as regular paint primers tend not to perform well on metal, especially if the surface is hot as many copper pipes will be. If you don’t use the copper pipes in your home as a part of your central heating system due to upgrading your home then some other primers can work well but for the most part, you really should be trying to go with a specialist primer.

As we touched on back at the start of this section of the article though, a primer is not essential in some situations when painting your copper pipes. Provided you are using a paint like Rust-Oleum Heat Protective Paint as it will bond with the copper without issue in most cases. This remains true if the copper pipe is used to heat your home but ideally, the pipe should be room temperature when the paint is applied to it as well as for the drying period of the paint.

Should You Use A Spray Paint For Copper Pipe Painting?

Depending on how experienced you are with painting, spray paint can be a quick, easy, and cheap way to paint your copper pipes with ease. Modern spray paint formulas that are suitable for use on metal offer a wide color range too ensuring that you are able to color match your copper pipes with the other painted surfaces in your home.

Although there are a number of suitable spray paint formulas that work well with copper pipes, we feel that the Rust-Oleum High Heat Spray Paint is the best option. Not only has the paint formula been optimised for use with metal and heat but it also looks very good once dry offering a great end result. For the best possible performance though you should try to keep the copper pipes as close to room temperature as possible until the spray paint has dried.

Although some people have used spray paints designed for use on cars on their copper pipes, this only tends to work if the copper pipes will never get hot from your central heating system. Depending on your situation, you may never actually use your central heating system anyway so there is a good chance that you will be able to use a car-based spray paint but if you do use your copper pipes for your central heating, a specialise paint like the Rust-Oleum formula mentioned above is definitely the better option.

Painting Copper Pipes With Emulsion!

Although emulsion paint is often used on copper pipes, it is usually a poor choice as it can start to peel and crack within months of being applied to your pipes, especially if the pipes are used for your central heating system and get hot. We would not recommend that you use emulsion to paint your copper pipes as it can have trouble bonding with copper and other metals too.

Unfortunately, emulsion paint is probably one of the most common paint formulas used to paint copper pipes by people who fail to research the subject prior to painting their pipes. This is why there are so many photographs online of a low-quality paint job on copper pipes in someone’s house with the paint all cracked and peeling off.

This is why we recommend Rust-Oleum Heat Protective Paint so highly as it tends not to have any of the common issues and problems that other paint formulas end up suffering from when used on copper pipes. With the recent trend of using eggshell or satin paint for home decor, there has also been a spike in the people using those on their copper pipes with poor results so always try to use a specialist paint when possible.

Is Silver Paint For Copper Pipes Worth It?

Most new build homes with visible copper piping have it painted silver by default not with this sparking a trend for other people to choose to paint their copper pipes silver during their home decor projects. The silver paint on the copper pipes is purely aesthetic and offers no practical benefit at all to the performance of the copper pipes in your home.

We have noticed a number post on social media about using silver paint on your copper pipes to help keep the heat in when pumping hot water around your home as part of the heating system and this is not correct at all. Due to people seeing these posts and believing them without fact checking the claims, more and more people have begun to believe that silver paint on your copper pipes offers a practical benefit but it is only for the looks.

Although unconfirmed, there have been reports that some building companies paint the copper pipes in homes silver to hide the low quality copper that they use when building the home. Low quality copper tends to be more prone to having issues and the green tine on the pipes often gives it away to a potential buyer so painting the copper pipes silver hides this obvious give away.

Using Chrome Paint For Copper Pipes!

Chrome bathrooms are very popular right now causing more and more people to paint the copper pipes and radiators in their bathrooms chrome to fit the look and feel of the rest of the room. There are a number of suitable chrome paints that you are able to use on your copper pipes with most of them just being standard radiator paint formulas with a chrome coloring.

Due to these paint formulas being a popular option, they are easy to find and your local home decor store will often stock them. Unlike some of the other paints on this list, some chome paint formulas will have a premium added to them due to the ingredients required in the paint for a chrome effect to hold on a metal surface such as copper pipes.

We would highly recommend that you research a potential chome paint formula that you are thinking of using on your copper pipes prior to actually using it though as there are some low quality formulas on the market. These low quality formulas tend to dry normally and then feel off leaving a dark coat behind once the chrome top coat of the paint peels off.

Should You Use Lacquer For Copper Pipes?

Applying a copper lacquer spray to your copper pipes can be a quick and easy way to protect them from potential damage as well as offer a number of other benefits to your pipes too. These copper lacquer spray formulas tend to be cheap so shouldn’t cause any problems with your budget if you choose to use them on your own copper pipes too.

Although there are a number of different products on the market that you are able to use instead of these lacquer sprays, the other options tend to offer very similar performance while often being double or in some cases triple the cost of the lacquer. Thankfully, people are wising up to this and switching back to using the lacquer sprays for their copper pipes and saving money while doing so.

Depending on the specific lacquer formula you choose to use, you may have to apply it to your copper pipes in different ways. Some need to be applied via a brush where as others use a spray applicator similar to spray paint. It is usually obvious but if the lacquer is in a box prior to purchase, double check the box to make sure it is the correct type of lacquer that you want.

Do You Need To Use Everbrite Copper Sealer?

Everbrite copper sealer and most other copper sealers are not essential for painting copper pipes and are almost always designed for use on copper that is outdoors to prevent it from tarnishing. Although it is a sealer, it is not necessarily a paint sealer and it will usually do little to nothing to change the effects of your paint on copper pipes.

Due to many paint formulas on various different surfaces needing to be sealed, this is a very common mistake that we have noticed people making time and time again due to the name of these copper sealers. If you are using a paint that has been designed for use with radiators or copper pipes then there is usually some form of suitable sealer included in the paint formula.

This helps to make your life as easy as possible as heat tolerant sealers can be a paint to find and will often be expensive too. You usually only need a very small amount so this is why most reputable paint brands include it in their paint formula as standard and add a small increase to the price of their product for doing so but it is much easier than adding your own sealer.


That brings our article going over painting copper pipes to an end and we hope that we have been able to help you better understand how you should be going about painting your copper pipes in your home. The various tips and tricks that we have shared above should easily be able to get you the best possible results when painting your copper pipes yourself without you having to pay a professional painter to do it for you too.

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