Advice from members that have PVC enclosures

PSLIMO

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Hi All,

I'm building a new enclosure using PVC board that I'm not familiar with. The boards were easy to work with and I now have a 4' x 12' bright white bathtub for my tortoise.

Have any of you painted these boards?

A google search turns up lots of suggestions. However, none suggest how painting these boards will hold up in a damp tortoise trashing/scratching environment.

Thanks in advance
 

Yvonne G

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@Markw84 builds this type of enclosure. Maybe he can help you with your paint question.
 

Markw84

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Hi All,

I'm building a new enclosure using PVC board that I'm not familiar with. The boards were easy to work with and I now have a 4' x 12' bright white bathtub for my tortoise.

Have any of you painted these boards?

A google search turns up lots of suggestions. However, none suggest how painting these boards will hold up in a damp tortoise trashing/scratching environment.

Thanks in advance
PVC board is most commonly used for making signs. It accepts paint extremely well. I would use a good quality latex enamel. For the inside, especially the bottom where damp substrate will sit on top, I would use Rustoleum Countertop Paint. It is made for refinishing countertops and is completely food safe and waterproof and extremely durable. It does need to off-gas a few day once applied. It can be tinted a dozen or so colors by the paint store. I get it at Lowes.
 

TeamZissou

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PVC board is most commonly used for making signs. It accepts paint extremely well. I would use a good quality latex enamel. For the inside, especially the bottom where damp substrate will sit on top, I would use Rustoleum Countertop Paint. It is made for refinishing countertops and is completely food safe and waterproof and extremely durable. It does need to off-gas a few day once applied. It can be tinted a dozen or so colors by the paint store. I get it at Lowes.
Mark, did I read correctly in another thread that you actually screw the panels together rather than using PVC glue as was suggested in Dan's thread? I liked the idea of the PVC enclosure, but was deterred since I didn't have all of the huge clamps that Dan recommended. Screwing together would be way simpler and quicker. I'd imagine that you could easily countersink the material so that the heads are flush as well, like what is done with wood.
 

turtlesteve

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Mark, did I read correctly in another thread that you actually screw the panels together rather than using PVC glue as was suggested in Dan's thread? I liked the idea of the PVC enclosure, but was deterred since I didn't have all of the huge clamps that Dan recommended. Screwing together would be way simpler and quicker. I'd imagine that you could easily countersink the material so that the heads are flush as well, like what is done with wood.
They don’t have to be exclusive. Screws will hold the joints in place while the glue sets, avoiding the need for clamps.

With a little planning, ratchet straps can sometimes be used in place of huge clamps.

Disclaimer: Advice based on woodworking as I have not built in PVC.
 

PSLIMO

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Thanks Mark,

If that paint can adhere to a waterproof counter-top and take counter-top abuse it'll work for the PVC board. I'm assuming this is the paint you're referring to:

paint.jpg
I don't think this large of a table would have held together without a 2"x 4" frame and screws. I did a combination of titebond to glue the PVC boards to the frame and PVC cement for PVC board to board and then screwed them into the frame. I also caulked all the seams making a very rigid waterproof enclosure.

Here's a picture of it, looks like I have 12 colors to choose from.

tt1.jpg

Thanks again for the needed advise.
 

Tom

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Mark, did I read correctly in another thread that you actually screw the panels together rather than using PVC glue as was suggested in Dan's thread? I liked the idea of the PVC enclosure, but was deterred since I didn't have all of the huge clamps that Dan recommended. Screwing together would be way simpler and quicker. I'd imagine that you could easily countersink the material so that the heads are flush as well, like what is done with wood.
Mark's enclosures actually snap fit together. No glue or screws. Its truly ingenious.

AP enclosures go together with precision machined slots and countersunk screws and they include a tube of sealant prevent any leaks. I use the sealant every time.
 

G-stars

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I’d recommend some course decks screws, and no need to countersink them as the material is soft enough that they will countersink on their own.
 

Markw84

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Mark, did I read correctly in another thread that you actually screw the panels together rather than using PVC glue as was suggested in Dan's thread? I liked the idea of the PVC enclosure, but was deterred since I didn't have all of the huge clamps that Dan recommended. Screwing together would be way simpler and quicker. I'd imagine that you could easily countersink the material so that the heads are flush as well, like what is done with wood.
I do not use screws at all. I only use PVC cement to secure the boards together. I have used screws in the past and since PVC is fairly soft, it is very easy to overtighten and strip the holes you are trying to screw into. They also can pull out fairly easily. The cement is very easy to work with. I don't clamp. I hold the pieces in place. About 30 seconds it won't move. 5 minutes and you'll break the PVC before getting it apart again. You do need to keep in very stead in place while it sets and have a good flush joint with the two surfaces being joined.
 

Markw84

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Thanks Mark,

If that paint can adhere to a waterproof counter-top and take counter-top abuse it'll work for the PVC board. I'm assuming this is the paint you're referring to:

View attachment 316105
I don't think this large of a table would have held together without a 2"x 4" frame and screws. I did a combination of titebond to glue the PVC boards to the frame and PVC cement for PVC board to board and then screwed them into the frame. I also caulked all the seams making a very rigid waterproof enclosure.

Here's a picture of it, looks like I have 12 colors to choose from.

View attachment 316108

Thanks again for the needed advise.

Yes. That's the stuff. I've used it in wood enclosure for a few years not before I started building with PVC. The Countertop paint is great and really holds up well. Recently cleaned out an older wood enclosure with countertop paint after 3 years of being under very damp substrate. Looked brand new!

The PVC is much more pliable than wood. A longer span needs support and you found. I like to only use PVC as it is impervious to rot and totally waterproof. With a long span like you have along the tops I would put a top cap of 2"-3" wide PVC strip along the top and probably run a brace across the top in the middle. I built a Turtle tank out of PVC and basically did that with it.
 

PSLIMO

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Thanks again Mark,

I was scratching my head thinking 10+ feet of 1/2" PVC needs some type of base to be structurally sound. Here's what mine's sitting on, those long 18" tall sides didn't have much structurally integrity and a 2"x 4" frame was an easy solution for me.

frame.jpg

I used PVC for exactly what you stated:

PVC as it is impervious to rot and totally waterproof.

I'll post a pic when it's finished and as always any additional advise is welcome as there is no substitute for members who have experience in this space.
 

Mrs.Jennifer

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I do not use screws at all. I only use PVC cement to secure the boards together. I have used screws in the past and since PVC is fairly soft, it is very easy to overtighten and strip the holes you are trying to screw into. They also can pull out fairly easily. The cement is very easy to work with. I don't clamp. I hold the pieces in place. About 30 seconds it won't move. 5 minutes and you'll break the PVC before getting it apart again. You do need to keep in very stead in place while it sets and have a good flush joint with the two surfaces being joined.
I, too, used PVC cement exclusively. It was perfect!
 

PSLIMO

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I, too, used PVC cement exclusively. It was perfect!

You must be referring to building a smaller enclosure and I agree PVC cement is all you would need. However, with a 10' span it would flex and twist too much to be structurally sound.

With a long span like you have along the tops I would put a top cap of 2"-3" wide PVC strip along the top

Your a mind reader Mark, that's why the 2"x 4"s on the sides extend a few inches above the top of the PVC board. I'm going to frame it with 1"x 4" wood to make the table even more rigid and give it a finished look. The taller 2"x 4"s at the corners will frame the heating/lighting.
 

pagandoc

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Would it be feasible to use l brackets on the outside with screws as well? I am making a 6 ft x 8 ft enclosure. I will still glue but since the floor is removable worry about the flex of the walls without a bracket.
 

PSLIMO

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Hi Pagandoc,

This is my first time working with PVC board but I have building skills. That said my walls are 18" tall and there's no way even 6' long sides wouldn't flex or twist without support and in my case a 2"x 4" frame solved that problem. It's also my opinion that brackets don't have enough surface area and the screws would simply pull through.

I'm not sure how you'll waterproof the bottom if it's removable but I'm curious with what you came up with for a solution.
 

PSLIMO

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I'd like to add one more comment as I don't want to sound negative on a product that solves so many issues with moisture and durability.

When I added the hide space to my table, the smaller 2'x 2' build was rock solid without any support.

hide.jpg
 

pagandoc

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Well the base is a hydroponics tray. They are big enough to let her roam and easy to clean since can take them out back and wash them. She roams a lot daily so easy. The cool thing was that the hydroponics tray has pre-made tables to support it.
 

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jsheffield

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I built a 3'X4' table, with 16" walls, using one 4X8 board... I used just the pvc glue and it's very solid.

I'm planning on building a 4X8 table this summer.

I love that you don't need to paint or waterproof the table, and that it should last a decade or more without degrading.

Jamie
 

PSLIMO

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Hi Pagandoc,

Neat idea.

I'm sure if you buy an 8 foot sheet and cut an 8' x 16" tall piece you'll see right away that it'll need some type of support.

Maybe if you put a 2-inch wide or so strip around the top and put a few cross members in, that might work but without any support an 8 foot span won't have enough structural for stand-alone sides IMO.
 
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