How to Paint Foil Faced Insulation

Choose a polyester paintbrush to promote a smooth finish.
Choose a polyester paintbrush to promote a smooth finish. (Image: Jupiterimages/ Images)

If you want to paint foil-faced insulation, you must first employ the proper preparation techniques. The foil facing on insulation is nonporous, making it ill-suited for adhesion. Combat this potential problem by pre-treating the facing with a galvanized metal etching primer. Once the foil face is properly prepared, it will accept a new finish. Apply the paint in a particular way, or you may end up with subtle flaws in the finish coat.

Things You'll Need

  • Respirator
  • Coarse plastic brush
  • Tack cloths
  • Professional painter's tape
  • Dropcloths
  • Water-based metal self-etching primer
  • Roller
  • 2 shed-free roller covers
  • 3- to 4-inch polyester paintbrush
  • Satin or semi-gloss latex paint

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Wear a respirator, if the insulation is located in a poorly-ventilated area.

Dust the foil face, using a coarse plastic brush. Wipe unseen dust from the facing with sticky tack cloths.

Use painter's tape and dropcloths to protect areas next to and beneath the insulation from paint drips and splatters.

Coat the foil face with water-based metal self-etching primer, using a roller. Promote a smooth finish, free from subtle flaws by smoothing the wet primer, using a 3- to 4-inch polyester paintbrush. Brush vertically, applying light pressure. Wait four hours for the self-etching primer to dry.

Wash the brush and roller with water.

Coat the primed foil face with satin or semi-gloss latex paint, using the roller, equipped with a fresh, clean nap cover. Apply the finish coat just as you did the self-etching primer. Wait two hours for the finish to dry.

Tips & Warnings

  • Do not paint unprimed foil-faced insulation or the paint will peel.
  • Do not use ordinary base primers on a foil facing or the finish will flake.
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