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3165 posts

Uber Geek

#257283 24-Sep-2019 10:50
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Because geekzone folks are so multi talented I figured this is worth an ask, so here goes....


We are about to commence a redecoration project at home. Whole inside of the house needs a repaint.


The electrical fittings are all Clipsal branded fittings (around 18 years old) and the plastic faceplates (removable) have all yellowed -as some plastic is inclined to do. I gather adding bromide to plastic as a fire retardent is  factor in some plastics going brown.


Anyway - I had a fiddle with some peroxide solution and sunlight and had 'some' success - but they will just discolour again.


A quick tot up shows around 50-60 plastic cover plates. The switches/plug points under the face plates are all still bright white.


Not keen on replacing every power point and light switch in the house so was thinking about options - maybe someone else has worked through this.


Should I lightly sand them down and spray paint them?


What sort of paint - Maybe plasti dip (that looked interesting or would it just peal off too easily).


Because they have quite square edges/corners they would be difficult to cover in vinyl (imagine the shape of half a pack of playing cards if you get my drift).


Just on the off chance someone else has done something like this - any ideas?



Nothing is impossible for the man who doesn't have to do it himself - A. H. Weiler

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749 posts

Ultimate Geek

  #2323787 24-Sep-2019 11:07
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Look up retrobrite / retr0brite on youtube. DIY concoction to restore yellowed plastic.


3165 posts

Uber Geek

  #2323822 24-Sep-2019 11:44
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Look up retrobrite / retr0brite on youtube. DIY concoction to restore yellowed plastic.

That is the hydrogen peroxide solution I referred to. It worked to a degree, but it's not permanent.

Nothing is impossible for the man who doesn't have to do it himself - A. H. Weiler


1479 posts

Uber Geek


  #2323835 24-Sep-2019 12:03
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Are the cover plates available by themselves?


From memory PDL plates are worth $1-2, don't know about your brand though.


In an ideal world you would rehabilitate them and save the planet from the plastic waste but many would ask what your time is worth.

4607 posts

Uber Geek


  #2323848 24-Sep-2019 12:17
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Yea just go and buy new faceplates. Paint will look horrible.

Clipsal is now Schneider, any good electrical wholesaler stocks them.

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Uber Geek

  #2323871 24-Sep-2019 12:33
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Given the quantity, I'd buy new plates or replace the switches. Any slight imperfection in the sanding will show through and make the paint job look cheap and nasty. Without sanding you probably won't get the paint to bond very well.


I have powder coated plates before and they come out looking great, but that's not an option for plastic ones.


Vacuum formed plastic wrap could possibly work.

23667 posts

Uber Geek


  #2323900 24-Sep-2019 12:48
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I tried painting some once with silver paint because the metal plates cost money. It went horribly wrong. Even when primed over sanded plastic it would come off, just putting the plate on where the switches and sockets came thru would flick parts off around the hole.


If you think clipsal plates go bad, you really should see the brown HPM ones I have now.


352 posts

Ultimate Geek


  #2323930 24-Sep-2019 13:26
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We just replaced all the light switches with PDL (half the house was already PDL) with metal covers, its pretty cheap maybe $4 a cover? and the power switches with cheaper Goldair


It is amazing how much of a difference it makes



3165 posts

Uber Geek

  #2324016 24-Sep-2019 14:26
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Found an online supplier in NZ that quotes around $4.70 each for cover plates.

I see they mention "silver available" - had been thinking that might look good against a white(grey tint) wall.
Also being metal they shouldn't go yellow.
Assuming the silver (aluminium) is that price +/- then it's around $320 which is probably ok I guess.
Easier than mucking around with spray cans I suppose.
Would have been better if they could have used a stable plastic in the first place though.

Nothing is impossible for the man who doesn't have to do it himself - A. H. Weiler

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