If the acrylic sealant in your bathroom or kitchen looks a little tired or you are painting the walls and want to match the sealant in with the color scheme, it means your acrylic sealant requires painting. Opting for the correct paint in this instance is imperative because the acrylic sealant is not the easiest surface to paint over. Some acrylic sealants are not classed as paintable because they are a shiny, elastic material with a rubbery texture.
Step 1 - Pick the Correct Paint
Choose the correct paint for the job, otherwise the conditions in your room can shorten the life of the paint and cause it to crack or peel prematurely. For rooms where the conditions are damp, such as bathrooms, the best solution is to use latex paint as it has similar flexible properties to acrylic. Alternatively, you can simply use acrylic paint. If the sealant is newly added it must be completely set dry before you can paint over it. Make sure that the sealant you purchase is actually paintable. Many old sealants are not and that takes extra preparation.
Step 2 - Prepare
You have two possible choices to work with in preparation for painting over the acrylic sealant. The first method is to use a small amount of paint thinner or mineral spirit to wipe down the acrylic sealant prior to painting. This will not only clean the surface of residue oils and dirt, but it will also prepare the surface to accept paint. The second method is to use rubbing alcohol on the acrylic sealant and then apply a thin coat of shellac prior to painting.
Step 3 - Use Primer
Do not use an average water-based primer. You will need to apply two coats of primer. Don’t paint the primer on too thick. You want to coat it thinly so that each coat of primer can dry quickly and leave a good bonding surface for the top coat. Allow the first coat of primer to dry thoroughly before applying the next coat.
Step 4 - Apply the Paint
Once the two coats of primer have dried you can apply the first coat of your preferred paint. Be aware, however, that some sealants are impossible to paint over. No amount of preparation will allow the paint to stick and adhere to the surface. All you will get is a thin layer of paint that will either dry or peel off straight away. You may also experience bubbling and separation. In this instance, the walls must be sanded down thoroughly to produce an etched surface that topcoats can adhere to.
Step 5 - Add the Second Coat
If you are satisfied that the first coat has adhered correctly and is totally dry, you can apply the top coat of paint to your acrylic sealant. Keep the brush strokes even and give it a solid coating but not too thick. Let it dry thoroughly.
If you are going apply the acrylic sealant yourself, check the instructions prior to purchase to make sure that the sealant can withstand paint. If the sealant was there when you moved into your home, follow the tips above but consider removing the old sealant first and replacing it with a new acrylic sealant that can be painted over. Keep the paint coats thin so that they add maximum adhesion to the coat going over the top of them.