Krylon vs Rustoleum Plastic Paint: What’s the difference?


Last updated: June 8, 2023

Plastic can be very tricky to paint. Most spray paints …

Krylon vs rustoleum. What's the difference.

Plastic can be very tricky to paint. Most spray paints don’t adhere well to it and tend to quickly peel or chip once dried. This is why picking the right spray paint for your plastic projects is crucial. 

The Rust-Oleum Specialty Spray and Krylon Fusion are excellent examples of spray paint that truly bond to Plastic. But when you’re faced with choosing between them, it can be difficult to decide which one is better.  

Like most products, each brand has its pros and cons, which you’ll need to consider in deciding the right pick for you.

In today’s write-up, we will compare Krylon vs RustOleum for Plastic. 

What is Krylon Fusion?

Krylon Fusion is a no-prep all-Surface spray paint designed to create a super strong bond with different materials, including Plastic. It’s fast-drying (takes only 15 minutes) and cures within an hour, leaving a modern, sleek finish with a nice shine. 

Being a combination spray, it doesn’t require a separate coat of primer and can be applied without sanding. Besides bonding to difficult surfaces like Plastic, it also has anti-rust properties, making it ideal for outdoor metal pieces. 

In addition to its built-in primer, it also comes with sealant, which provides an extra layer of protection from the elements. 

Like most Krylon spray cans, it has a large tip for easy application and sprays in any direction. 

Since the paint is oil-based, it produces a lot of fumes, so you want to use it outside or where you have a lot of ventilation. You will also need lacquer thinner to take care of overspray and cleanup.  

The spray can is the standard size (12 oz.) and covers up to 25 square feet. Besides Plastic, the paint can be used on metal, wood, PVC, tile, and more. It is suitable for indoor and outdoor use and available in various colors and finishes. 

Krylon Best Features

Built-in primer: Like the Rust-Oleum Specialty Spray, Krylon Fusion contains primer and sealant. So it doesn’t require a separate coat of either primer or sealant. You can also skip sanding depending on the texture of the material. 

Quick-drying: The paint dries to touch in just 15 minutes but dries completely in one hour. It might take longer, depending on the weather conditions. Check out our post on how you can speed up the spray paint drying time.

Rust protection: When applied to metal, Krylon Fusion also provides rust protection. It provides a protective shield that protects the metal from corrosion and other chemical reactions caused by the environment. 

Wide color selection: Krylon spray paint also offers a wide collection, so you’re not limited to one color or black and white. It is also available in different finishes, from gloss to satin to flat. 

Multiple uses: Besides Plastic, the paint can be used on a variety of materials. It is also suitable for indoor and outdoor use. 

Pros of Krylon

Here are some of the advantages of using Krylon Fusion for plastic surfaces:

  • It doesn’t require special preparation (all you need is a clean, dry surface).
  • It provides a smooth, flat finish.
  • Dries very quickly (only takes 15 minutes)
  • It comes with a big button spray tip to reduce finger fatigue.
  • There is no need to sand or prime the surface before spraying.
  • It can be used on interior and exterior surfaces.
  • It provides very strong adhesion.
  • Offers a wide selection of colors.
  • It doesn’t drip or run.

Cons of Krylon

The main cons of using Krylon Fusion include the following:

  • It’s not as durable as Rustoleum.
  • It is a little too pricey compared to most standard sprays.
  • It has a strong smell.

What is Rustoleum plastic paint?

Like the Krylon Fusion, the Rust-Oleum Specialty Spray for Plastic doesn’t require a separate coat of primer. It’s a single-step spray, which means it can be applied directly on Plastic.

It is designed to work on various surfaces, including resin, polystyrene, polypropylene, vinyl, PVC, and fiberglass. 

The paint is particularly useful when you need to restore old plastic items, especially furniture. It provides superior durability and leaves a soft, beautiful shine. 

It comes off very easily and doesn’t create a lot of mess like most regular spray paint. You can choose from the many color selection to suit the color of your Plastic.

Although the product says no primer is required, it’s recommended to wipe down the object with paint thinner to help with adhesion.

According to the manufacturer, it dries to touch in 20 minutes, but we found it takes longer. It typically hardens after at least 24 hours, but we recommend waiting 36 hours before handling the item. 

Coverage per aerosol can is 10 square feet.

The paint is oil-based, so it’s meant to be used outdoors. Spray at 8-12 inches from the workpiece to avoid drips. Once dry, the paint leaves a nice, soft gloss and maintains its color over time.  

Rustoleum Best Features

No primer: With the specialty spray, you don’t need a separate coat of primer. You can apply it directly on the plastic item without any preparation. Of course, the surface needs to be clean and dry. 

Oil-based: The paint is oil-based, which makes it highly durable and ideal for outdoor use. You can also use it for interior surfaces. 

Color retention: Like other Rust-Oleum products, the Specialty Spray provides excellent color retention and a finish that is soft and glossy. 

UV-resistant: Once dried, the paint creates a protective layer on the surface and keeps UV rays, snow, and moisture out. 

Fast-drying: The paint dries to the touch in 20 minutes but can take longer, depending on the weather condition.

In most cases, it won’t reach full curing until after a few days. Under normal circumstances, it will dry completely in 24 hours; after then, you can apply a new coat. 

Designed for Plastic: The paint is meant to be used on indoor and outdoor plastics. These include but are not limited to resin, PVC, and fiberglass. It’s also available in various colors.

Easy to use: The paint is also easy to use and doesn’t require any special applicator. 

Pros of Rustoleum

Here are the main benefits of using the Rust-Oleum Specialty Spray for your plastic projects:

  • Doesn’t require a separate coat of primer (applies directly to plastics).
  • Works with different types of plastics.
  • Oil-based formula (highly durable finish)
  • It provides excellent color retention.
  • Available in multiple colors and gloss levels.
  • It can be used for both interior and exterior applications.
  • It provides UV protection as well as rain and snow.
  • It dries fast but not as fast as Krylon fusion.

Cons of Rustoleum

Here are the cons of using Rust-Oleum plastic:

  • Coverage is good but not as great as Krylon.
  • Releases toxic fumes.

Rustoleum Plastic Paint vs. Krylon Fusion; Side by Side

The Krylon Fusion and Rust-Oleum Specialty Spray have very similar properties as well as a few differences. Let’s see how they stack up against each other:

1. Solvent 

Both spray paints are oil-based, which doesn’t come as a surprise since Rust-Oleum products are predominantly oil-based. Also, oil-based paint is ideal for Plastic as it creates a hard, non-breathable surface resistant to cracks, stains, and rust.

However, being solvent-based also means the paints release a lot of fumes.

So, it’s important to protect yourself while working with either product. You want to use them outdoors or somewhere with a lot of ventilation. 

2. Drying time

In terms of drying time, Krylon is generally better. This is because even though it’s considered oil-based, many Krylon formulations use aromatic or aliphatic solvents, which makes them lacquer or acrylic enamel. 

Because these are fast-evaporating solvents, they become dry to touch rather quickly. This is why the Krylon Fusion dries to touch in under 15 minutes and cures in an hour. 

Likewise, the Rust-Oleum Specialty Spray might dry to touch within 20 minutes if the conditions are good, but it usually takes 24 hours or even a few days to harden.

When you consider the fact that you need to apply several coats, the project can drag on for days. 

3. Durability

When it comes to durability, both brands are durable and provide long-lasting protection to plastic surfaces. However, the Rust-Oleum Specialty Spray performs slightly better as it creates a harder protective layer that tends to last longer.

4. Coverage

You will get more coverage using the Krylon Fusion than the Rust-Oleum Specialty Spray. Even though both products come in a 12 oz aerosol can (which is the standard size), the Krylon Fusion covers up to 25 square feet while Rust-Oleum covers up to 10 square feet per can. 

This means that you can cover more areas with the same amount of paint using the Krylon Fusion. However, factors such as the thickness of each coating and painting technique will determine how much paint is used up. 

5. Colors

Both Rust-Oleum and Krylon Fusion offer a wide selection of colors and finishes, so it’s very easy to find a perfect match for your project. 

However, the color palette offered by each brand is slightly different, so you will need to look up the products to find the one you like. 

In terms of the sheen level, you will find popular options like gloss, semi-gloss, matte, satin, flat, and even metallic finishes. Each of these offers varying degrees of shine.

Gloss paint is the smoothest and offers the highest shine, which makes them perfect for Plastic. 

6. Application

In terms of application, the Krylon Fusion is an All-Surface paint, so it can be used in different materials, not just plastic. These include but are not limited to wood, metal, and tile.

The Rust-Oleum Specialty Spray, on the other hand, is a “specialty” paint designed for plastic surfaces. Both products are suitable for indoor and outdoor use. 

What Surfaces Can Rustoleum Cover?

The Rust-Oleum Specialty Spray is specifically designed for different types of Plastic. These include:

  • PVC.
  • Vinyl.
  • Fiberglass.
  • Polypropylene.
  • Polystyrene.

It can also work on metal, plaster, and wood, but we don’t recommend using it on any other material besides Plastic. 

What Surfaces Can Krylon Cover?

The Krylon Fusion can be used on a variety of surfaces, including:

  • Plastic.
  • Metal.
  • Fiberglass.
  • Wood.
  • PVC.
  • Tile, among others.

Always test spray on scrap material before using it on the paint job. 

How to Choose the Best Paint for Plastic?

Plastic is a tricky material to paint, so not all spray paint will work well on it. In order to choose the right paint for Plastic, there are a few things you need to consider.

First, you need to be sure the paint you’re using is suitable for the plastic material. Otherwise, there is no guarantee it will stick.

Most spray paints that are not plastic-specific tend to drip and blotch once applied to Plastic, and after drying, they quickly peel off. 

It’s best to go for a plastic-specific paint like the Rust-Oleum Specialty Spray or a multi-purpose paint that works on Plastic, such as the Krylon Fusion. You can always check the product label for more information. 

You should also consider the prep work required for each spray type. Some products require you to sand the surface and apply a separate coat of primer, while some don’t.

Thankfully, the Krylon Fusion and Rust-Oleum Specialty Spray both contain built-in primer and sealant. So, you can skip the primer step. Of course, this saves you time and money. 

If you’re using the paint for Plastic that will be used outdoors, then it needs to have UV protection and should be less prone to chipping. Thankfully, you get all these with Rust-Oleum and Krylon paints, as they are oil-based and offer superior durability.

You should also consider the drying time of the paint. Spray paints are generally quick-drying, but some products still dry faster than others.

Some may dry within a few minutes or hours, while some can take several days to fully cure.

If you’re in a hurry to use the item, then it’s important you choose a fast-drying formula but don’t use the item until it’s fully dried. 

Can You Paint Krylon Over Rustoleum?

Yes, you paint Krylon over Rust-Oleum paints as long as the paint is completely dried. I’m not talking about the paint being just dry to touch; rather, it must reach full curing before you layer on the Krylon paint.

You might want to sand gently with 100-grit sandpaper to give the paint something to grab onto.

Another to consider is the type of paint. If both paints are water-based, then there shouldn’t be any compatibility issues.

However, if you’re using oil-based paint over acrylic or vice versa, a little sanding will be required before applying the new paint to avoid peeling. 

Can You Paint Rustoleum Over Krylon?

Just like applying Krylon over Rust-Oleum, you can also paint Rust-Oleum over Krylon without any problem.

Even though both products do not have the same formulations, they are both oil-based and can be used as topcoats on each other to provide additional durability. 

As earlier indicated, if you’re applying Rust-Oleum over Krylon, you must ensure the Krylon coat is completely dried and doesn’t have flakes, wrinkles, or bubbles.

Ideally, you want to see where it’s written on the Rust-Oleum label that you can use it on Krylon or other paints. 

In general, most Rust-Oleum paint will work on other paints, and the Specialty Spray is no exception. 

For the best results, you might want to apply a degreaser on the Krylon coat first, followed by gentle sanding (use fine-grit sandpaper) before you apply the Rust-Oleum paint. 

Remember to use thin coats and allow full drying time between each layer of paint. 

FAQSKrylon Vs Rustoleum.

Is Krylon or Rustoleum better for Plastic?

Either paint will work well for Plastic; it all boils down to your needs. Rust-Oleum is slightly more durable, while Krylon dries much faster. Since both paints are oil-based, you will need mineral spirits or paint thinner for cleanup. 

What is the best paint to use on Plastic?

Any standard exterior gloss paint is great for Plastic, especially if it’s oil-based. It’s best to use it with a primer and clear coat (if you’re using it outdoors), except it contains a built-in primer. In general, if the paint is oil- or alkyd-based, has the right color, and says it’s suitable for Plastic on the label, YOU CAN USE IT. 

Is Krylon paint good for Plastic?

Yes, it is. The Krylon Fusion is ideal for Plastic and reduces the amount of prep work you need since it contains a primer. It forms a super strong bond on different types of Plastic even without sanding.   

Can I use Rustoleum on Plastic?

Yes, you can. Rust-Oleum provides a durable protective coating on Plastic with a high-quality finish. Besides the specialty spray, you can consider other options like the Universal Spray and Painter’s Touch. These products can be used on a variety of surfaces and don’t require a separate coat of primer. 

Does Rust-Oleum paint stop rust?

Yes, as long as you use the right Rust-Oleum product. While the Rust-Oleum Specialty Spray Paint is perfect for Plastic, it might not be the best option to stop rust. If you want a Rust-Oleum rust-resistant paint, consider the Rust-Oleum Stops Rust. It provides excellent resistance to rust, abrasion, and fading. 

Does Krylon paint stop rust?

Yes, it does. You can use the Krylon Fusion or a specialty anti-rust paint from the same company to address and prevent rust on metal surfaces. For optimum rust protection, remove old rust layers with a wire brush or sandpaper and apply a primer before spray painting. 

Final Verdict: Rust-Oleum vs Krylon? 

To crown it all, both Rust-Oleum Specialty Spray and Krylon Fusion are excellent options for Plastic. They both adhere well to Plastic and offer a wide selection of colors and finishes. The best spray paint for you will depend on your personal preference and project needs. 

Having said that, the Krylon Fusion provides more coverage and dries faster than the Rust-Oleum paint. It’s multi-purpose, which means you are not limited to painting Plastic with it. But when it comes to durability, Rust-Oleum is the winner as it creates a harder finish. 

In general, you can’t go wrong with either paint! They are some of the best in the market. 

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