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Can You Paint Foam Boards? (All You Need to Know)

Foam boards can be used for plenty of work. You can decorate it or even use it in the home. It is a cheap source for providing insulation to the home.

Moreover, you can create miniatures with the foam board. Moreover, miniatures would only look good when you differentiate them with color.

Following the below tips and information regarding the foam board and if you can paint it or not would help you to proceed with the work.

Painting foam board

You can definitely paint the foam board. Yet, you need to go with particular paints. No oil-based paint is allowed to paint the foam. Instead, use acrylic paint or spray paint. Or latex paint would also go with foam board. Only make a thin layer of paint on top of the surface.

Foam boards can be a great help to many. Especially in the case of providing insulation to the home, the foam board would serve as a great insulator.

Even while constructing buildings, some put foams in between for better insulation. Well, those foams are usually rigid.

Even in the room, you can place foam boards. You can also give the foam board shape and make miniatures.

Moreover, coloring the foam board is also supported. Moreover, the styrofoam board and the poster boards can also be painted though they are quite different from foam boards.

Acrylic paint:

Acrylic paint is actually one of the best paints to apply over a foam board.

Even the chemicals of the acrylic paint would do less harm to the foam. As a result, the foam material would not get damaged and the quality would not drop.

Spray paint:

Spray paint is mainly used for painting over the foam board. Well, it comes with many benefits. Your foam board would need a thin layer of paint.

No matter what paint you use, the chemicals would slightly affect the boards. But spray paint would do it less with ensuring proper coverage.

Chalkboard paint:

Well, many prefer using chalkboard paint on the foam board.

But for rigid boards or the boards which are going to be used for insulation, you must have to prime the surface. Without priming the paint would not stay.

Latex paint:

You can also use latex paint on the foam board. Yet, it is not a popular way as mostly acrylic paint can do the work.

As latex paint is water-based, the harm would be less to the foam board and the board would not shrink if soft.

Can you paint foam board insulation?

You can also paint foam board insulation. Well, painting is not actually bad for the foam board insulation. Rather it is good.

There is also a problem that the paint might do harm and deform the foam board to some extent. Moreover, the degree of damage entirely depends on the paint you are using.

Pros of painting foam board insulation:


Painting the foam board would definitely beautify the appearance. Of course, you are using paint to decorate it or either making it eye-catching.

Even when you are using it for decoration or miniatures, putting colors would certainly catch the attention of the people. The purpose would be served.


The paint would also become a barrier to insects and make it last longer. Though the foam board itself is durable and good enough yet the paint would become a strong surface for the board.


The foam board is likely to get exposed to the sun and insects. So apparently you would need to protect it.

Now you can cover it. Neither you can put plastic over it. Coloring is still the best solution. The color would be a barrier so that the sun can not get direct exposure.

Well, the color might get deteriorated yet choose the one which can endure it. As long as the color is absorbed on the foam, there is a low chance that the outer appearance would be affected by the surrounding.

Cons of painting foam board insulation:

Damaged foam:

Mainly coloring the foam board insulation is not considered as good for the foam board. The board can get damaged if the preparation steps and application steps of paint are not right.

The foam can lose some parts if the chemicals of the paint are harmful. As a result, the foam would form damaged parts on the surface.

Improper application:

The improper application of paint can create plenty of problems. The paint might get absorbed too quickly as the surface is foam.

If you apply thick coats, the surface would only look bad. Even the paint can penetrate the foam. This would harm the foam and it would make you doubt the longevity of the foam board.

Difficulty to set up:

The improper absorption of the paint can dampen the foam a bit. Well, it does not happen often.

Yet, it can not be ignored if the foam gets harmed. If you want proper insulation, the paint would seem like a wall to it. Even the foam might not fit into places anymore as before.

Tips for preparing foam board before painting:

The Foam board requires extra care to apply the paint. You cannot be careless as a little ignorance can cause damage to the foam board.

You should be careful while applying the paint. You can follow the tips below to obtain a perfect foam board without damaging it.

The right paint:

Though you can apply plenty of paints on the foam board yet you have to choose the correct one. If the foam board is for decoration or creating miniature, you can spray paint.

Meanwhile, for insulation, it is better if you can apply acrylic. Well, it is even better if you do not paint the foam insulation.

The main purpose of insulation foam is to insulate the construction. The painting would be of no use to that.

Right tool:

After choosing the right paint, you need to ensure that you are using the right amount of paint on it.

Usually, acrylic paint or latex paint is thick. If you use a roller instead of a brush, there is a high chance that the paint would spread in a large portion. Better to use a brush as the brush would spread the paint in a thin portion.

If you are applying spray paint, it is even better. As already the applied paint would be thinner.

How to paint foam board?

Painting the foam board can be easier and tough at the same time. You should not be ignorant while applying the paint and neither should you be too aggressive.

The foam boards are delicate, and you need to handle them with caution as well. You can use the following to paint the foam board.

Painting with any paint:

You can put acrylic paint, chalk paint, or latex paint on the foam board. All these paints are thicker in consistency.

You cannot even use a sprayer to help you out. You have no choice but to paint the foam board with a brush then. Well, you need to prime the surface first.

Mainly gesso is used as a primer. After priming, you can paint your desired paint. Now, you need to take a brush and dip it into the paint. Remember to use only light strokes. Do not be too rough on the foam board.

Only use a thin layer of paint and dry it. Some would love to seal the paint and you can as well if needed.

Painting with spray paint:

Using spray paint on the foam board is totally different from using the other paints. You do not necessarily need to prepare the surface.

Only clean the surface so that dirt does not accumulate. You can also sand the surface if there are bumps all over it.

After that, take the spray paint and spray the paint over the foam board. Well, the bottle should be at least 1.5 feet away from the surface. After covering the whole board, let the paint dry.

Well, as spray paint would spread all over, try to cover the other area so that the paint does not affect them.

Final Thoughts

Overall, painting foam boards can be difficult and bothersome if you do not apply the paint in the right way. You can only use acrylic paint, latex paint, chalk paints, and spray paints. Moreover, you need to ensure that you apply thin coats of paint. Otherwise, the foam would be deformed.