While insulation performance reminds one of the key factors in choosing insulation, we can’t deny that having one that’s aesthetically pleasing influences our decision. Spray foam alone seems bland and might contrast with your home’s design and color. But what if we tell you that you can easily find a way around this by just painting over the expanding spray foam?

Yes. You can paint over spray foam insulation in your home to improve its aesthetic effect. But this involves some knowledge of the type of paint and material to use. We highly advise that you take the appropriate approach and follow the listed procedures and guidelines.

So when and how can you paint over an expanding spray foam? Are there any DIY alternatives? And is it possible to respray one?

We made this article to answer every question you might have about spray foam painting and the technicalities involved.

Can You Paint Over Spray Foam?

Spray foam is a practical material used in hardware applications to insulate cracks and other open spaces. They are made with materials that do not match the typical color of most homeowners’ choices. Thus, painting your expanding foam might help conceal repairs you don’t want to call attention to.

Surely, you can paint over both open-cell and closed-cell spray foam. Open cell foam, however, is the most challenging due to its openness and coarse texture than closed cell foam, which is significantly smoother.

The insulating R-values of spray foam are among the highest currently available, which can increase efficiency. Spray polyurethane foam (SPF) is a multipurpose sealer and insulation that may create a continuous air barrier over a range of surfaces in homes and structures, including slabs of concrete, walls, and ceilings. 

Note that you can only start painting after waiting at least 24 hours to get the desired result without affecting the spray foam’s R-value. Getting professional help may be important, as the painting process sometimes can be technical and a bit complex for DIYers.

What Paint Can You Use Over Spray Foam Insulation?

Adopting the proper strategy before starting your spray foam painting project is important. This includes choosing the appropriate paint. 

For instance, some paints, like oil- or solvent-based paints, can harm the insulation and further dissolve the spray foam, affecting its efficiency. We advise using paints that are specifically made for covering spray foam insulation and following the advice of insulation experts when buying and applying paint.

In addition, using only water-based acrylic or latex paint on foam insulation is important. Compared to alternatives like oil-based paint, acrylic paints maintain their color longer. Another important trick is to use flat or semi-gloss paint as they work the best. These paints are preferred by professionals because it does a better job of concealing any irregularities in the foam, unlike a high-gloss finish that highlights the bumps.

How to Properly Paint Over Spray Foam

It is important to check whether local building codes require any form of fire barrier to safeguard nearby residential areas before painting over spray foam. 

Most frequently, drywall that completely encloses the insulated chamber and is prepared for painting is allowed for painting. There are various paints and coatings made expressly for spray foam insulation, but again, hiring a professional with the knowledge and skills to complete the work correctly is the best course of action.

Scenario 1: Using Spray Paint

Large surfaces can be sprayed by a paint spraying machine, saving you from using a lot of spray paint; it is the ideal paint to use to cover small foam surfaces. 

Although other surface paints are workable, using a brush or roller can result in dents from trying to fit the instrument into the foam’s numerous ridges and divots. Spray paint will not only spare your wrist from painting on an unlevel surface, but it will also be much more time-effective.

Spray paint won’t dry as quickly or safely in confined spaces. When utilizing the spray paint method, it is advised to do so in a room with good ventilation and to keep the ventilation open until the paint has dried completely.

Step 1. Purchase the required items

Ask a salesperson at your neighborhood home improvement store for advice if you’re not sure what kind of paint to buy. Based on your project’s components and intended use, they will recommend primers and other paint types. Although the color selection for spray paint is not always fantastic, you can usually find something that will work.

Step 2. Work in a space with good ventilation

To avoid dirt and other debris from blowing onto the wet paint, try to work in the shade and wait for a day that isn’t too windy. If you have to do it inside, open the windows and doors and cover any surface that may be seen.

Step 3. Cover any exposed portions with a shield

Block whatever you don’t want spray paint on with newspaper or drop cloths. How far spray paint can go will amaze you. If you’re not cautious, everything nearby will have a tiny layer of paint.

Step 4. Shake vigorously before using.

Before applying and throughout the painting, it is crucial to shake the container thoroughly.

Step 5. Avoid spraying too closely or heavily.

Test the nozzle first on a drop cloth or a discrete region of your surface. Nozzles occasionally splutter a little and require a few sprays to start going. Spray a thin, even coat while holding the can in a sweeping motion from side to side, 6 to 8 inches away from your surface. One thick coat won’t look as well as several thin coats, and drips will be less likely.

Scenario 2: Hand Brushing

Hand brushing works best for little, intricate paint jobs and inaccessible spots; nevertheless, it is not advised for large areas. Achieve an even and smooth surface becomes exceedingly challenging to achieve with a hand brush, 

Scenario 3: Roller Painting 

If you don’t want to use an aerosol, paint rolling is a fantastic option for larger areas that need to be painted. The drawback of paint rolling is that it reveals material irregularities. The surface must be extremely smooth to paint foam insulation using a roller successfully.

Thus, the best method for painting the visible portions of your spray foam insulation is typically spray painting. Smooth, seal, and prime your foam before painting it for a cleaner result. As aforementioned, open-celled foams must be sealed before painting since they are porous and softer than other foam forms. 

Can You Re-Paint Spray Foam?

You can repaint a painted spray foam insulation for a better look. It is basically the same process as doing the first painting.

How to Clean Painted Spray Foam

No matter how careful you are, there’s still a high possibility of staining spray forms easily. But there are a few methods you can use to remove the stain, and cleaning with a rag or sandpapering it out seems to be the most effective.

Never use acetone to remove any inadvertent sticky messes you may have made while painting, as a little acetone will rapidly dissolve spray foam. 


Justin's been in construction for over 20 years in both new build and renovation. With experience in both commercial and residential construction, he specializes in healthier and more energy-efficient homes.

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