Can I paint my gas or electric meter box?

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Can I paint my gas or electric meter box?

Posted 19.01.2022

Is your meter box functioning perfectly but the colour no longer matches the exterior of your home? Or is its colour beginning to fade and age? Rather than replacing a meter box that is otherwise working completely, adding a new paint job is a great way to provide a fresh new look for your meter box. Whether it’s a gas, water or even electric meter, here are our top tips for doing it quickly and achieving a smooth finish.

Is it okay to paint my meter box?

First off, there is no legal reason why you can’t paint your meter box, after all maintaining your meter box is completely up to you.

There’s no practical reason you can’t paint it either,  as long as you take care not to glue the door shut with the paint (see our advice below on how to avoid that.)

If your meter box is fading, starting to turn yellow or has some other minor cosmetic damage then painting is a great option for bringing your box back to life without spending too much.

It can also be a great way to personalise new meter boxes or help them sit more stylishly on your exterior wall. If you use the right paint and tools, your painted meter box will last just as long as the original surface did.

The only time we’d advise against painting your electric or gas meter box is if the strength or structural integrity of your box is starting to fade. A new coat of paint is not enough to protect the meter but may mask more significant damage as it develops.

Tin of green exterior paint and a paint brush

What should I not do when painting my meter box?

While it’s fine to paint your external gas or electric meter box, there are some things you should bear in mind while you do it.

Firstly, take care when painting around the hinges and latches. Dried paint can stiffen or damage the moving parts of your meter box and shorten their life span. Take the time to minimise build-up by doing a careful and thorough job.

Secondly, make sure the paint doesn’t stick your door in place. This means leaving the door open while the paint dries – and it also helps if you paint the box and door on different days. Coats of half-dry sticky paint are much harder to separate if they catch on another equally fresh coat, and will likely damage your new coat too.

Finally, make sure not to block any vents in the surface of the box – particularly if you are painting a gas meter box. These vents are there to protect you, your home and your meter so avoid obstructing them.

What paint can I use on my meter box?

The right paint for your meter box will depend on its age, condition and what it’s made of. An oil-based gloss suitable for outdoor use is often a good choice, but you should check the exact specifications of any paint before you purchase.

If you have a plastic meter box, we also suggest applying a coat of high-quality primer first. Find one specifically for use on plastic kept outdoors to get the best (and longest-lasting) finish possible.

How do I prepare my meter box for painting?

Before you even pick up a paintbrush, you need to make sure the meter box is actually ready to be painted.

  • Start by checking the surface for any damages or scratches – if you spot any small ones, we recommend repairing these first. If there are any large areas of damage, then it might be time to look at replacing the meter box instead.
  • Also, check the hinges and latch are working properly. Replacing these is a quick simple job but it can damage additional coats of paint, so get them out of the way first.
  • Next, make sure the box is completely clean. Using soapy water and a rough sponge makes it easier to clean, and will also rough up the surface of the meter box a little. In turn, this will make it easier for the paint to stick to the surface. Alternatively, you can give the surface a gentle scrub over with high-grade sandpaper to roughen the surface of a plastic box.
  • After initial cleaning, wipe down the box with white spirit on a clean cloth to get any last traces of grime or grease away. Then leave the box to dry completely before applying any paint or primer.

Paint brush coated with clear primer for a plastic meter box

When should I paint my outdoor meter box?

Although painting your meter box isn’t a long job, it’s important to time it properly.

As with all external paint jobs, late spring or early summer is the best seasonal choice. Warmer weather and longer days will help it dry out properly – and obviously avoid damp days too.

However, cracking on at midday during a heatwave is a bad idea, particularly on a south-facing wall. If your meter box is exposed to direct sunlight, don’t get started until the sun has passed over a little. Otherwise, the intense heat of the sun’s rays will dry the paint as you work, making it difficult to get a smooth even coat.

Too Much Effort?

Although painting your meter box to match your house can really perfect the exterior of your home, it can seem like a lot of effort. If you would rather cover your peeling meter box with a brand-new plastic or metal overbox, take a look at our long-lasting and easy-to-fit range of meter boxes today.

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