Painting Plastic

 All plastic rain barrels are made of polyethylene plastic. It does not make any difference who molded it or whether it is high or low density. It is relatively inexpensive, highly impact resistant, and easy to mold.

All polyethylene plastic has what is known as a high expansion/contraction ratio compared to other materials such as wood or metal. What this means to the end user is that the winter-to-summer change in physical dimensions of any plastic rain barrel can be easily measured with a common tape measure. This is a huge problem for common paint.

The bottom-line issue is that most of the paints found at the typical hardware store cannot accept this radical fluctuation in size, so they will crack and very soon start the process of falling completely off of the rain barrel. Recently, several paint manufacturers have introduced paint that they claim to be acceptable for use on some plastics. Obviously, sooner or later, paint manufacturers will solve the expansion/contraction problem, but for now, be cautious of any paint that claims to be acceptable on polyethylene.

We do not paint our barrels. All Tijeras Rain Barrels are molded using thoroughly colored resins, and our rain barrels are available in 36 colors and finishes.


"Now there's three things that can happen in a ballgame: you can win, you can lose, or it can rain." Casey Stengel