Why is it important to replace sprinkler heads that have been painted over?

January 10, 2023

by Nils Deacon, Manager, Inspections and Rating Services

Sprinkler heads should only be painted by the sprinkler manufacturer. This would be in the fabrication process of the sprinklers. However, it is not uncommon to have sprinkler heads painted over during remodeling or during a repainting operation.

If another entity paints the heads accidentally, the heads should be replaced. The paint will effectively disable the sprinklers. They should be replaced with new heads with the original ratings.

In cases where daily operations could accidentally overspray the heads, such as spray rooms, thin cellophane bags are permitted to cover the sprinklers as long as they are 0.08 mm thick or less.

DISCLAIMER: This information reflects the interpretation of MSO, Inc. with regard to NFPA Standards and Codes. It does not represent NFPA’s official position on the items discussed.

Painted sprinkler head.