Can You Paint Foam Insulation? (How To Guide For Beginners)

Foam insulation is crucial for temperature and moisture control in garages, basements, and attics.

We don’t think about insulation, because it tends to be behind our walls, but have you ever had any in a visible area?  

You may need a clever way of covering this eyesore, and plywood is just not an option.

Here, we’ll be discussing if painting spray foam insulation is practical, how to do spray foam insulation, and the types of paint you can use. 

Firstly, we have to know what we’re working with. This insulation is a low-density form of insulation that provides a thermal barrier in spaces that separate interior walls in cold or hot weather. 

It has gained popularity over traditional paint rolling insulation. You can paint insulation, but different types might require different approaches. 

Spray Painting Foam Insulation

Types Of Foam Insulation 

We’re going to quickly go over the two types of foaming insulation that might be visible in your home. 

  • 1
    Foam Board Or Rigid Foam  
    This type of foaming insulation consists of polystyrene, polyurethane, phenolic, and polyisocyanurate. Its purpose is to fill gaps in open walls, floors, ceilings, and unvented low-slope roofs. 

    Foam board or rigid foam provides twice the thermal resistance of other insulation with the same paint thickness. It acts as a sheathing barrier in interior and exterior walls and creates a seal to prevent heat loss through wood and metal studs.  
  • 2
    Spray Foam Or Foam-In-Place  
    Also containing polyurethane, this insulation comes in closed-cell and open-cell. Closed-cell foam-in-place insulation consists of gas that expands the foam to fill in the spaces around it. This type of paint foam resists moisture and noise. Open-cell insulation uses pressurized air to occupy empty spaces, leaving the spray foam spongy and vulnerable to moisture. It provides a tight sound barrier. Moisture will dry the paint at a much slower rate or result in uneven texture.

    Spray foam or foam-in-place is ideal for smaller openings, such as cracks, crevices, and gaps around door frames. Fill cracks in your home quickly with Great Stuff Insulating Foam Sealant. Contractors spray, inject, or pour spray foam insulation into enclosed existing walls, new wall cavities, and uncompleted attic floors. Spray foam is perfect for odd-shaped areas and around obstructions. 

Can You Spray Paint Foam Insulation?  

Brand new spray foam insulation is a pale yellow to white and turns more yellow on the surface as UV light hits it.

You can spray foam insulation, including Great Stuff spray foam and pink foam, after it completely dries.  

Many homeowners decide to spray foam insulation to make it more attractive.  

Now, can you paint rigid foaming insulation? Yes, you can! But it has to be water-based acrylic or latex. The acrylic adheres to foam better than other paints. Since it is porous, it requires multiple coats.  

And XPS foam board requires a thick coat of primer for the acrylic and latex paints to stick.  For larger areas, consider investing in a spray gun (especially if you'll be working on multiple projects)

Paint You Can Use On Spray Foam Insulation

To prevent damage to your spray foam insulation, use only water-based acrylic and latex paint. Paint for your spray foam insulation should not consist of oil based paint or solvents.  

Avoid spray paint because the enamel eats the spray foam. Spray paint is also extremely flammable and is dangerous to inhale.  

Fire retardant paint protects foam insulations from rising flames and prevents them from spreading from walls or the ceiling. 

Use flexible acrylic enamel or fabric paints when painting polyurethane foaming insulation.  

The best protective coating to protect your foam is to paint in thin layers.  

Which Paints Adhere Better To Foam Insulation?

Acrylic paints stick to foaming insulation. They’re really easy to apply and are thick enough to prevent penetration into the foam.

Make sure you apply multiple layers, so it gets into the pores. Water-based paints adhere without dissolving the foam.  

Benefits Of Painting Foam Insulation

Homeowners may choose to spray foam insulation to improve the appearance of their garage or basement walls, especially if there is no drywall in place.  

  • Painting with different colors can complement a room’s decor.  
  • Painting polyurethane foam insulation prevents fading from light exposure. 
  • Painting foam insulations helps provide a better seal.  
  • Painting spray foam insulation improves the appearance of a room.  

How To Prepare Foam For Painting

Preparing foam is imperative for successful painting process. Provide good ventilation by opening windows for air to circulate and prevent you from inhaling harmful fumes that stay in your body for awhile.  

Cover floors and surfaces with newspaper, plastic, or damp cloth to protect against stains and damage. Remove excess adhesive and sand the rough edges. Add your primer and allow it to dry. Now it is time to paint your insulation.  

Roll of Foam Insulator

How To Paint Foam Insulation (Easy DIY Steps)

If the insulation appears rough, you can sand it before priming. It is okay to paint spray foam insulation in different colors.  

Here are steps of how to paint spray foam insulation:  

  • 1
    Get your supplies ready. You will need a paint tray, roller, and paint sponge. Cover flooring if necessary. Lightly cover the paint roller with gesso paint (primer).
  • 2
    Prime the flat side of the foam with the gesso paint. It will probably take a couple of thin coats to cover every area. The primer prevents the paint from absorbing into the foam.
  • 3
    Let the primer thoroughly dry completely after each coat. You can sand the dry marks if necessary. 
  • 4
    Using foam brushes or rollers, apply a water-based latex paint of any color. Add as many coats as you need. If you’re using water-based acrylic paint, use a stiff paintbrush instead.
  • 5
    Let the paint dry.
  • 6
    If you want to apply a sealant, use something like Modge Podge or a wax sealant. 

How To Paint Expanding Foam

Before painting, allow the foam to dry. Decide what paint to use on spray foam insulation and your application method, then gather your supplies.  

Trim the expanding foam that you do not need and sand it. If there is any dirt or dust, remove it from the surface. It may take several coat of paint, but let the spray foam insulation dry between layers.  

White Paint for Expanding Foam

Tips When Painting Foam Insulation

Before painting foam spray insulation, learn what paints are safe to use. Some paints will damage the foam, rendering it less effective.  

It is best to prime the foaming insulation with a mixture of wood glue and water to help the paint adhere to the foam surface. Test a small area before you go too far. 

Safety Precautions To Take

Safety is paramount. Before painting open-cell foam, ensure there is a fire barrier to protect surrounding areas in the home.  

Ask yourself the important questions before diving in. What are the building codes for insulation? You may need a gypsum board. As an expert, if you do not know where to start.  

SPF, spray polyurethane foam, is flammable. Using fire-retardant paint for spray foam insulation is a clever way to prevent combustion during a fire. A variety of colors are available, including white, ice gray, dark gray, and black. 

If you need to sand your foam insulation, wear goggles to protect your eyes from dust particles.  

Painting Foam Insulation FAQs 

Can you use spray paint on foam insulation? 

Spray paint on foam insulation can be challenging as it contains enamel, which corrodes the inner layer of the foam and eats it. Brands like Rustoleum or Krylon may contain water or latex and be an acceptable option.  

How long does it take for paint to dry on foam insulation?  

Acrylic and latex paint only take about 20-30 minutes to dry on foam insulation.

Can you spray paint over expandable foam? 

Yes, you can paint over expanding foam with colors that match the environment. Ensure the foam is completely dry and hard before painting. Use paints with acrylic or latex to avoid damaging the foam.  


You can definitely paint foam insulation as long as you're using water-based acrylic or latex paints! Painting spray foam insulation camouflages unsightly foam. Colorful and textured colors on the foam can add personality to a room if you plan it out right. 

So go ahead and get painting!