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My basement currently has exposed studs, and between the concrete block walls and studs is black plastic vapor barrier. I would like to finish the basement in the future, but for right now, I would like to improve its look. Ideally, I would like to paint both the studs and the plastic vapor barrier white. I’ve read that painting studs is fine, but what about painting the actual plastic vapor barrier? I was thinking about using exterior semi-gloss paint, but I want to make sure this will not do any harm, like cause mold growth, if later it’s covered with foam insulation and drywall or paneling.
 

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I have seen rustoleum spray paint that claims to stick to plastic. Probably wouldnt want to paint the whole wall, but it could be effective for just the VB.
 

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Sounds like a horrible idea on every level to me. Polyethylene is almost impossible to paint. And in that situation where it is flexible and there is no way to scuff sand it or anything... I think it is going to come off in huge sheets. Now, paint technology keeps getting better, so maybe there is something out there somewhere that would work. But I'd be extremely skeptical. Definitely do a small test before you do something really stupid.

I don't think mold growth is a concern as you already have a vapor barrier there. It's not like a layer of paint is going to block more vapors. Sometimes changing the color of something can affect temperature and weird things happen, but this is going to be in the dark, inside a wall. If anything, the antimicrobial stuff in an exterior paint might prevent mold from growing.

But the paint isn't gonna stick.

And I think it's just a bad idea aesthetically. I don't think it's going to look good. Definitely not good enough to justify the effort if you are just going to cover over it anyway.
 
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