Does Painting A Football Helmet Void Warranty?

For avid football players, their helmet is a part of them and they love to customize it so it stands out. One of the ways people commonly decorate their helmets is with paint. Paint is an easy way to add personal flair to a helmet. As a result, you can see all kinds of different paint jobs online. However, does the use of paint void the helmet's warranty?

While painting your helmet doesn't always void your warranty, it usually does. This is because some types of paint, like spray paint, contain chemicals and solvents that can wear away the protective layer of your helmet, as well as the styrofoam inside the helmet. As a result, paint can damage the durability and lower the helmet's overall strength. For this reason, painting the helmet usually makes the manufacturer no longer liable if you get a head injury.

Since using some types of paint can lower the integrity of the helmet, it probably voids your warranty. However, there are other ways you can personalize your helmet that won't void your warranty. In this post, we will talk more about what kinds of things can void your warranty, as well as things you can do to personalize your helmet harmlessly.

A football helmet on top of a bar table, Does Painting A Football Helmet Void Warranty?

What Voids A Helmet Warranty?

The biggest question that this article is here to answer is how to avoid voiding your helmet's warranty. So, first off, we are going to discuss the basic things that may make your warranty unusable. While different manufacturers have slightly different rules, these are some of the most common ones. Be sure to always check your specific manufacturer's specific conditions.

A white football helmet on a white background

Failure To Have Helmet Reconditioned

Most warranties last 1-3 years. However, some manufacturers allow you to extend this warranty if you have your helmet reconditioned every two years by a National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment, or NOCSAE, licensed reconditioner. Failing to meet this requirement will cause your warranty to expire. We will talk more about reconditioning later in this article.


If you drill into your helmet excessively, your warranty will be void.

Use Of Incompatible Parts

If you use old parts instead of new parts to replace a liner, it may void your warranty. Attaching a guard, face mask, or another part from another manufacturer can make the helmet less safe and make it so a manufacturer won't consider your warranty valid.

Damaging The Shell With A Chemical Reaction

This is where paint comes in. Most manufacturers have instructions on how to properly paint the helmet without ruining the warranty. If this isn't followed, the helmet may become damaged. If you use cleaners or waxes from another manufacturer or fail to use the proper care and cleaning instructions, you may void the warranty.

Removal Of The Warranty Label, Date Code, Or Warning Labels

These are essential to the warranty. As a result, if they have been removed, your helmet no longer has a valid warranty.

Abusive Treatment

If your helmet is excessively damaged from more than just football, the manufacturer will most likely not consider the warranty valid.


In addition to paint, sanding your helmet can break down the shell and cause the helmet to malfunction. For this reason, you should avoid sanding your helmet.

Can You Paint Your Own Football Helmet?

A United State themed football helmet on a white background

Painting your helmet can sometimes void your warranty and is generally not recommended by manufacturers. However, there is a way you can paint it that won't damage the helmet. Before applying any kind of decoration to your helmet, you must understand your manufacturer's policy as well as the policy of the league you play in. This won't matter as much for more casual players unless you are injured and decide to file a claim with the helmet's manufacturer.

What Kind Of Paint Do You Use On A Football Helmet?

After checking to make sure that painting your helmet is okay with your league and your manufacturer, you can use water-based acrylic paints to add a design. This kind of paint won't damage your helmet. It is important to let each layer dry before applying the next one so that the paint can bond properly to your helmet.

Another way to ensure you don't void your warranty is to use primer, paint, and polishes made by or approved through your manufacturer. These products will for sure be safe on your helmet.

If you want to make sure you don't void your warranty, a lot of manufacturers allow you to send your helmet to them, and they will repaint it in a way that absolutely won't hurt your warranty. A lot of them have custom paint jobs you can order when you get your helmet.

How To Paint Your Helmet

While it is best to have the manufacturer paint your helmet if you do decide to do it yourself, keep in mind it may void the warranty. Painting your face mask always voids the warranty. In case you're interested, we have included this video to show you how to do it yourself:

Do You Have To Prime A Football Helmet?

The purpose of primer is to seal the surface and make the surface better for painting. The primer should be used to fill cracks and imperfections in the surface to give the paint a better surface to hold onto. It is up to you whether you want to prime it or not. However, the primer will make your finish last longer.

If you are painting over similar colors, you should wet-sand the surface first, but probably don't need a primer. However, if your undersurface is red or yellow, you probably will want to use a primer to help prevent the red and yellow from showing through your new paint.

Enamel Or Lacquer Primer

Enamel and lacquer primers are both really commonly used. Enamel is cheaper and more commonly used. As a result, they are easier to find. However, they take a week to completely harden, so you need to wait a while to paint them once they are primed.

Lacquer primer is more expensive but doesn't take as long to dry. They also go on thinner than enamel. However, they can be difficult to find.

How Can I Personalize My Football Helmet?

As always, before applying anything to your helmet, check with your manufacturer and league to be sure you understand what is allowed. You can apply decals and stickers to your helmet, provided they are made with approved adhesives.

According to Sports Decals, decals are the best option because they are easy to apply and remove. They won't damage your helmet like paint might, and they aren't as difficult to remove as stickers are.

Does Reconditioning A Helmet Include Paint?

Regular reconditioning is important because it ensures the safety of the helmet. When you get your helmet reconditioned, you should only send it to a NOCSAE licensed provider. It can cost between $40 to $100 to have your helmet reconditioned.

There are four steps to reconditioning: disassembly, cleaning and sanding, inspection, and refinishing and redecorating. They start by disassembling the helmet and inspecting the hardware, pads, and face mask. Then, they remove any decorations or labels and sand out scratches and paint. Next, they clean and sanitize the helmet.

After cleaning, they inspect to see if the helmet is damaged or has any defects and test the internal parts. Once it passes inspection, they repaint and redecorate the helmet. Then they reattach all the parts and perform a final inspection before putting a recertification seal on it.

As you can see, it is important to have your helmet recertified. You don't need to paint your helmet when it gets scratched up because they will do that when it is recertified.

How Much Does It Cost To Repaint A Riddell Helmet?

A blue with a red stripe football helmet

If you are looking to just get your helmet repainted, it will cost between $40-$50. However, if you are looking to get your whole helmet reconditioned, Riddell charges $60-$100, depending on the wear on the helmet.

Are NFL Helmets Painted Every Game?

A black colored football helmet for display

It is a common misconception that NFL helmets are replaced or repainted after every game. This is not true. Helmets are reconditioned once a year and replaced as needed. At this once-a-year reconditioning, the helmets are repainted.

However, the helmets are checked regularly and sent out once a week to be x-rayed to ensure they maintain their integrity. They polish and touch up the paint on the helmets as it is needed.

The reason a lot of people think the helmets are replaced or painted so often is that they use to be. However, rules were changed, and now every player only has one helmet per season, unless it becomes damaged.

Closing Thoughts

When you paint your helmet, you risk voiding your warranty. While there are ways to get around that, it is usually best to either leave your helmet as is or have your manufacturing company paint it for you.

If you enjoyed this article, click the links below to explore more football-related topics:

6 Best Football Helmets For A Linebacker

How Fast Can A Football Player Run?

3 Types Of Football Cleats You Should Know

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