How to Use a Paint Sprayer

Read time: 3.5 minutes

TL;DR

  • Not every job is suitable for a paint sprayer, plus it takes a little practice to achieve an even finish.
  • Paint sprayers are suitable for large spaces such as big interior walls or rooms, exterior siding and fences.
  • Spray painting produces a mist, so you have to be sure that everything except for the painting surface is covered.
  • Make sure you know how to fill your model of sprayer, how to adjust the nozzle and thin the paint to the proper consistency.
  • Try out your technique first on a piece of wood or cardboard by moving the spray gun in long, straight strokes. Always maintain the same distance from the gun to the surface for best results.
  • Spray in even passes, moving your entire body with the gun and overlapping each pass, moving before pulling the trigger to ensure even coverage.
  • After each usage flushes the entire system, including the hose, the nozzle tip and the trigger guard.

 

Using a paint sprayer can make your large painting project go much more quickly, not to mention make the painted surface look smoother. Despite the advantages that paint sprayers provide, you simply can’t fill the container with paint and start working. Not every job is suitable for a paint sprayer, plus it takes a little practice to achieve an even finish. Here’s what our experts suggest you know if you plan to use a paint sprayer for the first time.

What Jobs are Good for Paint Sprayers?

Paint sprayers are suitable for:
– Large spaces such as big interior walls or rooms, exterior siding and fences
– Empty rooms
– Walls, ceiling and trim
– Furniture with hard-to-reach crevices

Avoid a paint sprayer when:
– Painting small surfaces
– You’re worried about using too much product (sprayers use about 20 percent more paint than a brush or roller!)
– You don’t care for prep work
– You dislike cleanup

Before beginning, make sure that the air temperature is between 45 degrees and 75 degrees Fahrenheit as this is the optimal temperature range for using paint sprayers.

Preparation


Readying the area to be painted, along with prepping your supplies, is of utmost importance when using this machine. First, remove any hazards that you might trip on or that may cause the supply line to snag. Secondly, carefully mask floors and woodwork – basically anything you don’t want to be painted. Cover the floor with dropcloths.

Spray painting produces a mist, so you have to be doubly sure that everything except for the painting surface is covered. Tape drop cloths to the floor, making sure that no unpainted area remains exposed. Cover ceiling fans and light fixtures with plastic bags and make sure that doors and windows are covered with plastic and sealed accordingly.

Don’t forget to protect yourself. Cover your hair with a hat or another type of covering and get a pair of safety goggles for your eyes. Wearing a face mask that covers your nose and mouth is also a good idea as it helps prevent paint mist from entering your respiratory system. Before beginning painting, open a window away from the immediate area to bring air into your workspace and help dissipate the paint mist and fumes.

Types of Paint Sprayers


Know how to use the type of paint sprayer you have – each works slightly differently. Using the right type of sprayer makes the job easier. The most common types are:

– Cup sprayers for small projects
– Air sprayers for larger projects that create a smooth, even finish
– Airless sprayers for making quick work of large jobs
– High-volume, low-pressure sprayers that produce the least amount of overspray

Thoroughly read the instructions that come with your sprayer before beginning. Take special care with airless sprayers, as they work under high pressure. Make sure you know how to fill it, adjust the nozzle and thin paint for the proper consistency.

Using the Sprayer


Try out your technique first on a piece of wood or cardboard by moving the spray gun in long, straight strokes. Always maintain the same distance from the gun to the surface for best results. When you like what you see, you’re ready to move onto your painting surface.

Spray in even passes, moving your entire body with the gun and overlapping each pass. Begin each pass by moving yourself and the sprayer before you pull the trigger and releasing it before you stop, so you don’t overload the area at either end with too much paint. Go over light or missed sections with a brush or a roller to provide an even finish. Brush out drips as soon as you see them and lightly spray over the area.

Cleanup


Paint sprayers must be thoroughly cleaned after each usage. Flush the entire system, including the hose, the nozzle tip and the trigger guard. Use at least five gallons of water or solvent when cleaning the sprayer for the best results.

For help with anything and everything home improvement, come see us at your local Doug Ashy store.

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