How to Paint Foam Insulation

Lead Image
  • 6-10 hours
  • Beginner
  • 40-80
What You'll Need
Small paint roller
Paint trays
Latex paint
Foam brushes
Water-based paint
Face mask

Foam insulation offers warmth to any space, especially the basement, where it can often feel cold and unwelcoming. If your basement or other space has foam insulation that has not been covered by wallboard, you can paint it for a finished look. Not only does this offer a better atmosphere, but it seals the foam. Foam insulation takes paint well as evidenced by its many uses in decor, costuming, and crafts. It is an inexpensive material and could be purchased in larger sheets. When painting the foam insulation, remember to initially prime the surface to cover up the foam. Here are some additional pointers for painting foam insulation.

Step 1 - Sand

power orbital sander and goggles

Using sandpaper, sand the ends of the foam to make a smooth finish. It is advisable to wear a face mask while doing the sanding to protect from inhaling small particles. The sanding of the foam insulation is only essential when doing craft work or decors. When foam insulation is installed on walls, sanding is not necessary.

Step 2 - Choose Supplies and Prep

Put your gesso or latex paint into a paint tray. Then the paint roller should be coated evenly with the paint. The gesso acts as the primer. Do not put excessive paint onto the paint roller or you may cause drips. White latex paint that is water based can be used as an option to gesso when working on large areas.

Step 3 - Prime

Using a paint roller, apply coatings of gesso paint on the flat surface of the foam insulation. For those areas that are hard to reach like the corners, it is useful to use foam brushes instead of the roller. With the gesso paint, the foam surface will get primed keeping the paint from being absorbed and eventually from being melted by the insulation. After priming is done, let it stand to dry completely.

Step 4 - Apply Additional Coats

paints and applicators

Apply several layers of gesso coating, applying in thin layers. Do one coat at a time. Let it stand for some time to dry completely. When the surface is dry, the second coating can be applied. Keep doing the same procedure until the desired number of coatings is reached. To get a smoother and cleaner look, it would be good to sand the dried gesso marks.

Step 5 - Water-Based Paint Application

After applying the last gesso coating on the foam insulation and drying it, apply a water-based latex paint of the preferred color onto the foam. Foam brushes or paint rollers may be used for his application. Determine how many coats are needed for the coverage of the entire area.