Spray foam insulation is very easy to work with and provides excellent insulating properties. The chemicals in this material mix together and turn into foam and react to create a hard insulation. For this reason, spray foam insulation can be painted with almost any type of paint as long as you wait for it to dry completely first.
You can paint spray foam insulation by using water-based or latex paint on it. Regardless of your purpose, covering this material is fine. Just make sure to wait at least 24 hours after the insulation is installed for it to properly cure.
In this article, I’ll share some quick, useful tricks that’ll have you painting over spray foam insulation with the right materials in no time.
The Basics About Painting Over Spray Foam
Painting over spray foam insulation is easy but isn’t necessary unless you’re using the material for crafts or painting over an unfinished surface. Because this insulation comes with its own adhesive, it’s necessary that you first scrape off any excess adhesive. When you’ve done this, apply a primer before painting.
To paint over spray foam insulation, you should only use water-based paints on spray foam insulation. Oil-based paint will react negatively with the spray foam and may even cause it to expand or blister.
The recommended wait time is 24 hours for both acrylic and latex paints before painting over spray foam insulation. During the curing phase, there may still be some fumes produced by the insulation. When using acrylic paint, it’s suggested that you wait three days before applying an exterior topcoat. This will allow enough time for both the first and second coats to completely dry.
Prepare Spray Foam Insulation for Painting
You must let the spray foam dry for at least 24 hours before painting it. If possible, wait 48 hours or longer to ensure that all chemical reactions have stopped and the spray foam has had ample time to cure properly. Spray foam takes about three days to fully cure, so do not paint it until it is ready.
Before painting, you can use sandpaper to create texture on the insulation’s surface that will mimic real house siding or other exterior materials. This step gives your paint something to hold onto and also ensures that the finished product looks realistic.
To prep your surface for painting, wash using mild detergent and water, then let dry completely. If the spray foam is caked with dirt and debris, clean it as best as possible with a high-pressure hose before proceeding.
Clean the surface with an all-purpose cleaner. Use a non-flammable solvent on hard surfaces and warm water on unfinished walls. Wipe it down with a damp cloth or sponge after cleaning to remove any residual dirt or grime for best results. Here are some additional steps to follow when painting over spray foam insulation:
Use a Primer
If your primer is oil-based, use a latex alternative instead when preparing to paint over spray foam insulation. The chemical reaction between the two can cause bubbling or cracking in your final coat of paint.
A primer will ensure a better bond between the spray foam insulation and your paint. If you’re applying a latex-based paint, choose a primer specifically designed to work with it.
In addition to using a primer over lightly textured surfaces, for walls that have been pressure sprayed with foam insulation, professionals may need to remove loose particles from their surfaces first. This is necessary because the overspray can settle into crevices or other minute details of your home’s interior that could not be reached when
Use Foam Rollers for Smooth Coating
One of the best ways to apply paint on top of this type of insulation is by using a high-quality foam roller. These are great because they don’t leave any brush marks in their wake, unlike traditional rollers or brushes can. They also work great on non-textured surfaces because they don’t leave any bubbles or brush strokes behind.
See also: How to Paint With a Roller Without Streaks
After you’re done prepping the surface, it’s time to start painting – but there are a few things that you will need to take into consideration before getting started.
For instance, you should make sure that you use quality paint that can be applied to both warm and cold surfaces. This is especially important for those who live in colder climates and find themselves scraping off the snow all winter long!
Stick With Glossy Coatings
The main advantage of using this type of insulation is that you will have a better chance of applying a glossy coat over its surface. This is due to the fact that spray foam insulation usually has a smoother surface than other types of insulation, such as fiberglass batts.
While it’s true that you can still use matte or satin coatings with spray foam, they won’t have as smooth a final look like those who use a glossy coating instead.
Clean Up Your Workspace
Once you’ve finished painting your new coat on top of the insulation, it’s important to leave it alone for at least 24 hours so that it can properly cure before doing anything else to it. If you try removing any tape or putting too much strain on the area right away before then, there’s a good chance that you will damage your paint job – possibly beyond repair.
If you need to remove any tools, just be sure that they’re dry before picking them up so that you don’t leave behind paint stains on your floor or anything else in the area. It is also good if you cover your work area with newspapers or anything disposable.
Does Spray Foam Insulation Need to Be Painted?
Spray foam insulation is intended to create a seamless barrier that traps heat in the home to cut heating and cooling costs. The closed walls it creates are not meant to be painted over, which is why there are different kinds of paint designed specifically for this type of insulation.
Spray foam insulation doesn’t need to be painted because it’s already covered with a protective coating. However, you can paint it if you really want to, but doing so doesn’t help insulate your home any better.
If you decide to paint spray foam insulation, be aware that the chemicals used in this type of product are hazardous and volatile and must be handled carefully. Paint is an extra step in the process that could add time to your project and cost to your budget because specialized primer and top coats will also need to be purchased.
The Pros and Cons of Painting Spray Foam Insulation
Though painting spray foam insulation isn’t typical, it might be a viable option for your home. If you find that spray foam insulation is not the right fit for your project, painting the material may make it more aesthetically appealing while still providing an effective insulator.
While spray foam insulation is a great option in its natural state, paint does add another layer of protection from moisture or dust intrusion into your home’s walls or roof.
Paint also prevents the surface from deteriorating over time due to weather elements and provides a barrier between humans and the chemicals within the insulation, so if there are ever any adverse reactions with this type of product, a coat of paint can reduce direct contact.
The alternative is installing drywall over the top of the spray foam insulation, but if you’re simply using spray foam for a craft or project, painting the foam is perfectly acceptable. Here are some of the pros and cons of painting over spray foam insulation in either situation.
The pros of painting over spray foam insulation include:
- Prevents excess moisture from deteriorating the surface beneath.
- The white color of the foam is a neutral base for any layer of paint or varnish.
Here are some cons to painting over spray foam insulation:
- Short-term protection only. Needs to be re-sealed and painted regularly.
- Painted spray foam insulation is thicker than unpainted foam. As a result, it can potentially insulate your home better.
- Painting spray foam insulation requires more time for surface preparation and additional steps in the installation process. Both will add time and money to the project.
- Painted spray foam insulation doesn’t offer any additional energy efficiency benefits. The paint won’t insulate any better than the original product.
- The spray foam blocks moisture from condensing on the inside of exterior walls. But painted-on insulation can still trap water vapor within your walls.
If you do choose to apply paint or varnish to sprayed insulation, be sure to remove any debris before doing so. You’ll need a mask while working with products and waterproof gloves while applying latex paints.
Painting over spray foam insulation is possible but not completely necessary in homes. If you’re using this material for crafts, you can use paint or glue on the material without too much effect.
When painting this material, make sure to remove any debris and clean the surface before application. When painting over spray foam, be sure to use waterproof gloves and a mask for protection against latex paints.
Related: How to Get Spray Foam Off Your Hands