I am painting the room in our basement that contains the electrical panel. I think it would look a lot better to paint the panel the same color as the wall, instead of the plain grey-green metal. I've heard that it's against code (USA) to paint the electrical panels, but I wasn't sure why. It's my own house and we don't rent it out, so I'm not too worried about the code violation.

Is there any reason why I shouldn't paint the electrical panel, and are there any problems I should watch for when painting it? The panel is brand new with no rust, so I will likely need to roughen the surface with sandpaper first.

  • 2
    Not worrying about code violations "because you own it" is a very bad plan. You WILL get caught, you WILL have to fix it, and it'll happen at sale time, when you are rushing to close a sale, which means you won't have the leisure to DIY and will probably have to hire it done. Commented Feb 16, 2020 at 18:03
  • This panel is flushmounted into the wall, correct? Commented Feb 16, 2020 at 18:33
  • @Harper-ReinstateMonica I guess I just meant that if I understood the code (if there were one) and what hazards it was trying to prevent, then I could possibly try to follow the spirit if not the letter of the rule, or knowledgeably accept the given risk for myself. But, I take your point.
    – David K
    Commented Feb 16, 2020 at 18:59
  • @ThreePhaseEel Yes, it's flushmounted, and I believe the linked question is the same as mine. However, Harper's answer there has a few too many acronyms for me to understand.
    – David K
    Commented Feb 16, 2020 at 19:02
  • 1
    @DavidK Typically there are multiple reasons for a rule. One must be careful not to grab the first (or most convenient) one, rationalize it away, and then be unaware of the other reasons or the knock-on effects then created when other rules were expecting this one to be followed. Neutrals and grounds being at the top of the hitlist. Commented Feb 17, 2020 at 15:15

1 Answer 1


What you "heard" is incorrect, but Harper's advice is wise just the same.

You can paint the outer cover of the panel as long as you don't obscure any critical labels. Use a good primer and several thin topcoats to prevent runs and avoid filling stamped text. I'd probably remove the plastic latch, mask the opening from behind, and reinstall it later for a more professional appearance (or simply mask it in place).

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