If your paintbrush and roller are slowing you down, consider using a powered paint sprayer. From small finishing jobs to large surfaces, sprayers are extremely handy. They allow you to quickly and efficiently complete repetitive painting tasks, and many models are versatile enough to handle a variety of objects and materials, including wood, masonry, brick and metal.
Spray painting is highly desirable due to the solid coverage and uniform finish it produces. With sprayer solutions for everything from large exterior surfaces, such as a deck or garage, to more detailed interior objects, such as a louvered door or ornate piece of furniture, you are sure to find one that meets your needs.
Consider the following questions as you explore your options:
What types of projects will you tackle with your sprayer?
- What is the material of the surface you will be painting?
- How large are the surface areas you typically paint?
- How thick is the paint or stain you intend to use?
How frequently will these projects be performed?
There are a number of sprayers available on the market today, including air sprayers, airless sprayers and high-volume, low-pressure (HVLP) sprayers. Each type is designed to help you accomplish specific painting tasks quickly, efficiently and with beautiful results.
Your selection will be largely determined by your intended application, so it is important to know what surfaces you will be painting, what types of paint and/or stain you will need to apply and if the coverage area will be large or small. Click on the links below to learn more about some of the most common types of paint sprayers.
Whichever model you choose, you’ll want to master a few general spraying techniques to maximize your investment and improve the quality of your painting. When using your sprayer, keep in mind that holding the gun closer applies more paint to the surface and has a narrower spray pattern, while holding the gun farther away results in a thinner coat and a wider spray pattern.
Most spraying techniques depend upon the type of sprayer you choose, so consult your user’s manual for more specific rules and proper use of your equipment. Here are some general tips that apply to most paint sprayers.
• Test the sprayer on a large piece of cardboard or other scrap material, adjusting the sprayer and your technique as needed to acheive a uniform spray pattern
• To prevent paint buildup, start your stroke before you pull the trigger and then continue the stroke after releasing the trigger. Overlap each spray stroke by about 50% by pointing the tip at the edge of the previous pattern
• To acheive a smooth, even coat keep the spray gun a consistent distance from the surface and overlap each spray stroke by about 50%, then spray a succession of overlapping strips
• Move the sprayer in a smooth motion and at a consistent pace—usually about 3 inches per second
• Spray straight at the surface, and avoid swinging your arm back and forth. Move your arm, not your wrist, keeping the gun straight and at right angles to prevent arcing, which causes an uneven coating
• Try framing a rectangle on the surface and filling it in or spraying a grid with perpendicular lines, then fill the area with horizontal or vertical paint strokes
• Once you have begun to work, do not leave the sprayer idle for more than 20 minutes or the paint will begin to harden
• When you have finished painting for the day or are taking a break of significant length, be sure to clean the paint from the unit, carefully following the manufacturer’s instructions
Sprayers are particularly useful for painting deeply textured, hard-to-reach, or multi-piece surfaces with many nooks and crannies such as eaves, lattices, or even rough stucco. These surfaces will require you to carefully mask the area and put down plenty of drop cloths. Never use a sprayer on windy or even breezy days.
To avoid mishaps or injury, always wear protective clothing and gloves, as well as goggles. Never point the sprayer head at your body. The powerful jet of paint from a sprayer can force paint through your skin. If that happens, get immediate medical attention.
Before you clean a power sprayer, turn off and unplug the unit. Then pull the spray-gun trigger to release the remaining pressure in the hose. Make sure to set the safety lock on the spray gun when you are not spraying.