I have been asked many times whether painting spray foam insulation is viable especially when it is visible. Most applications of foam insulation is hidden, underfloor, in roof spaces, in walls. There are circumstances though, when it can be visible such as covering various parts of metal structures. inside or out.
Painting spray foam insulation can be painted over and you can get a painter to do this or if you want to save a few dollars do it yourself. The only time this would be done would be if the foam is exposed say a shed wall or a exposed ceiling and you want to make the foam blend in. Often if you look up in shopping centres or commercial spaces you will notice the services and anything above the lighting is painted black, they do this to take all those services out of your peripheral vision.
A lot of factories and business areas tend to be constructed of metal as well as a lot of home workshops, external garages etc. I guess we have all suffered by the extreme heat that is transmitted through the metal medium which is an ideal transmitter of heat. Spray foam (especially closed cell) Is an ideal medium for providing insulation from the heat transfer. Unfortunately it can at times not look very attractive and in areas where it can be touched is likely to become grubby. To protect from this, painting spray foam insulation is a very viable option but there are certain things you need to be aware of when considering doing this.
One reason you could be painting spray foam insulation is if the foam is outside in the UV light, Foam is not UV stable and requires a coverage of paint to make it so,
So what sort of paint should be used?
For all applications only water-based acrylic or latex paint should be used. Do not use solvent based or oil based paints as these can damage the foam. If not sure get a expert opinion when looking for paint and in any case try a sample and paint an area before completely covering the area.
Nowadays a lot of people are using shipping containers either for storage or for building tiny homes. In most cases closed cell foam insulation is used and a lot of times this is sprayed on the outside especially onto the roof. The roof definitely needs a coating over the foam as in some cases water can pool on the foam. Over time this can damage the closed cell foam. This and the fact that the foam needs UV protection is important.Once again you should get expert advice on what type of paint to use for external roofs. If the roof is insulated inside then the normal water based paints can be used.
How to go about painting spray foam insulation.
Painting spray foam insulation can be applied by brush, roller or with a paint sprayer. Using a paint sprayer is the best as using a brush or a roller it is more difficult because of the nature of spray foam. Open cell foam is the most difficult because of its openness and is coarser than closed cell which is a lot smoother. You should also wait for the foam insulation to completely cure before starting any painting. Best to wait at least 24 hours before application.
So there you are. There is no problems in painting spray foam insulation. Just take care and if not sure ask an expert.