How to paint speaker grilles

How to paint speaker grilles

, by Tom Thackwray, 4 min reading time

In-ceiling and in-wall speaker grilles are predominantly white, but it is possible to spray paint them to match your décor as required. You can even colour match an existing finish by getting spray paint mixed by a specialist paint supplier (

To ensure a high quality even paint finish it’s important to follow a few basic rules during preparation and application. DO NOT paint speaker grilles with a brush or roller! This will block up the holes in the grille which will drastically affect sound quality. Grilles should be sprayed with a number of light coats to avoid this. Taking your time to build up thin paint layers one after the other will pay dividends when it comes to the quality of the finish.

Ensure the paint you select is suitable for metal surfaces and always follow the manufacturer’s instructions. The satin finish of most speaker grilles is suitable for direct application, so a primer is not usually required.


  1. Remove the speaker grille - most grilles are magnetic and can be removed by carefully prying the edge with a screwdriver or flat blade. A filling knife works well and helps minimise any damage to the speaker or ceiling/wall.

  2. Most grilles feature a thin cosmetic scrim membrane which is stuck to the inside of the grille. This acoustically transparent material is designed to mask the dark inside of the speaker so the grille appears more white externally. This must be removed before painting. In most cases the scrim will not need to be replaced as the new colour will often be darker, and therefore the scrim has little effect. Some manufacturers do provide spare scrims in the box for replacement if required.

  3. Make sure the grille surface is as clean as possible to ensure good adhesion of the paint. Ideally clean the surface with white spirit or methylated spirit to remove any grease from handling. Once clean don’t touch the surface to be painted.

    If you are restoring an old grille which has some corrosion, use fine sandpaper or wire wool to prepare the surface. In this case an initial primer coat is recommended.


Always use spray paint in a well ventilated area and wear a mask to avoid breathing in any fumes.

It is recommended to spray outside on a dry calm day. Overspray is inevitable and will coat nearby objects with a fine mist of paint, so don’t do it in the living room or kitchen!

If you have to spray in an enclosed area like a garage or workshop then you can use a large cardboard box on its side as a spray booth. This will help to contain the overspray, but it won’t eliminate it entirely. Always ensure the area is well ventilated and wear a mask.

  1. If the grille has any parts that shouldn’t be painted like a manufacturer's logo, make sure that these areas are removed or carefully masked off with masking tape.

  2. Place the speaker grille on a flat piece of cardboard or scrap wood sheet. Be sure to place additional cardboard or dust sheets all around the working area to protect from overspray.

  3. Shake the paint very well for at least a minute to ensure the paint is fully mixed inside the can. You should be able to clearly hear the ball bearing rattling inside. You should always shake the can well before every application.

  4. PUT ON YOUR MASK and gloves if required.

  5. Test the spray paint on a piece of paper or cardboard to get the flow going and remove any air or blockages.

  6. Hold the can about 30 cm from the surface of the grille and spray the surface with a LIGHT coat of paint in a back and forth motion. You can change the angle at which you spray to better coat the entire surface and get paint around the inside of the holes. However, do not apply too much otherwise the paint will get thick, sag, and fill the holes, which is the last thing you want!

    The key to a good finish is multiple light coats. You won’t get an even finish on the first coat. It may look patchy and speckled with paint initially but that’s absolutely fine and perfectly normal. Don’t be tempted to get the job done more quickly by applying more paint in one go. That’s certain to give poor results.

  7. Allow around 30 minutes between coats (or as stated by the manufacturer) and keep building up thin layers, spraying from different directions each time.

    Move the grille slightly between coats to ensure that it doesn’t get stuck to the surface you’re working on.

    The grille may require 4 or 5 light coats to get an even finish, but if you build up the layers slowly you will be rewarded with a professional finish.

  8. Leave the grille for 24 hours to allow the paint to fully cure, then refit.

Spray painting does require a little bit of knowhow to achieve a professional finish, but by following these steps, anyone can successfully change the colour of their speaker grilles. However if you do make a mistake, we can supply replacement grilles for all current models.

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