How to Paint Foil Faced Insulation

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

Choose a polyester paintbrush to promote a smooth finish.

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.

Step 1

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

Step 2

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

Step 3

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

Step 4

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.

Step 5

Wash the brush and roller with water.

Step 6

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.


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.