Thank you for your excellent question regarding paint on lightning protection systems.
NFPA 780-08 K.5.3 states: “Painting. Bonding connections and conductor splices should not be painted. Paint on lightning protection conductors should not exceed a level at which the conductor’s physical continuity can be confirmed”.
The European Lightning Protection (LP) standard BS EN 62305-2006 does permit the use of an aesthetic covering of PVC or protective paint over the external LP conductors. (See clause 4.2 of BS EN 50164-2(A1)).
Painting of the lightning protections system is generally discouraged as many scientists and engineers consider paint to have a negative impact the overall performance of the system. Certainly the aerial’s should NOT be painted as they are the primary strike point and any coating could change the resistance of the strike point causing lightning to strike elsewhere. Also, it is strictly forbidden to paint the buried grounding electrodes in multiple sections of the code.
So, to answer your question, yes, it is within code to paint lightning protection systems, as long as you do NOT paint: Aerials, bonding connections, conductor splices, or buried grounding electrodes. That said however, if you are working on an existing UL Master Label Certified lightning protection system, it would be best to contact UL and confirm that paint will be allowed, prior to doing your work, as it is possible that they have new rules and/or regulations that we are not aware of.
We hope you found this information useful. If you should have any further questions, please do not hesitate to call.
The Engineering Team at E&S Grounding Solutions