Today I decided I had a little extra time so I started looking for something to do to improve the front yard. Near my front door I have an Outside Bench that is made of heavy plastic. It is still in decent shape since it doesn’t see much use other than to be a place for the mailman to drop a package or once in a while I will go out and enjoy the weather.
When Plastic Benches and tables begin to degrade from the sun and weather they get a powdery oxidation on the surface. It is really just the top layer of the plastic breaking down and there is no way to really wash it off and make it look new.
For the past couple years as it got a little worse I would put car cleaners and plastic conditioners on it that made it look shiny for a couple weeks. I figured eventually I would throw it away but before I did I wanted to give something else a try.
I purchased a Heat Gun at this Tool Place for about $15 about a year ago to use for a special project but I haven’t used it for anything else since. I was wondering if I melted the surface of the plastic if it would restore the plastic.
It seems that this works pretty well but in all honesty I don’t expect this to last as long as it originally did.
To prepare the surface I gave it a light sanding with some fine sandpaper. This went pretty quick but it is pretty dusty and if there is anything you don’t want to inhale its plastic dust particles. I mean its probably not the worst stuff but it can’t be good.
I washed it off and let it dry for a while and then tested the heat gun on a back leg. The results are pretty decent but it takes quite a while to heat the surface enough that it gets shiny and melts.
I would not say this is perfect but it is probably better than painting or applying plastic conditioners. The surface is solid plastic of the original material and it looks the same color. There are imperfections but this is to be expected.
If you have an outdoor item or maybe a children’s toy then you can probably restore it pretty well without paints or oily plastic conditioners. Don’t be afraid to melt the plastic but make sure that you aren’t heating an area too large that could end up causing it to deform. I don’t think deforming is a problem with plastic furniture but it might be for a childrens toy.
This would probably work well with car parts that are oxidized but it would depend on the plastic.