March 2, 2021

How to Use a Paint Sprayer

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Written by Jose

A paint sprayer is a machine that makes painting both easy and fast. In other words, it simplifies the painting tasks in two ways. First, by using a paint sprayer you can handle tasks involving large areas that require several gallons of paint. Additionally, a paint sprayer will work twice as faster than a paint roller or a brush. Moreover, a paint sprayer enables flawless laying of paint and delivers a smooth glass finish. Whether you are working on uneven surfaces, walls, woodwork or doors, you can trust a paint sprayer to give you the best quality finish. Just in the same way,you need to be careful when you are operating a spray painter because if you are not careful, there is always the possibility of paint getting on items that are not part of the painting project. Therefore, it is crucial that you are aware of the how to use a paint sprayer and this is one of the reasons we have compiled this guide to help you know how to use the paint sprayer effectively.

hand holding a paint sprayer

Things to Consider

Painting is not an easy task no matter the tool you are using. Putting certain factors right is the only way to make your paint spraying easier and faster than rolling and brushing. The effective way of using a paint sprayer involves proper preparation of the spraying machine. This includes choosing the right paint sprayer, isolating the painting area, preparing the paint, and securing the painter's airway.

The Right Equipment for the Project

Choosing the right machine for the job involves comparing the various models in the market and choosing one that suits your painting needs. This involves getting a machine that works well with your painting materials and has the capacity to address your requirements. Whether you are working with thin coatings like lacquers, stains, and varnish or thick ones like oil-based latex paints, it is important that you have the right machine that handles them. Professional painters prefer an airless spray machine because of their versatility to handle most painting jobs. Automobile painters and woodworkers would prefer an air-assist sprayer because of its ability to give the best finish. Homeowners on their part would prefer a handheld unit to handle the small painting jobs. Depending on your intended painting purpose, you will have to choose among these various options of paint sprayers. A tool like HomeRight Power-Flow sprayer draws paint directly from a can or bucket while another one like Graco TrueCoat Pro sprayer has an attached cup that has tobe filled with paint.

Read More: Does a Paint Sprayer Need an Air Compressor?

woman holding a paint sprayer

The Ideal Paint for the Project

Once you are sure about the right tool to use, you also need to get it right for the supporting tools. This includes the paint material, clean water bucket, and a waste bucket. For the paint material, it is good to investigate the ideal paint you need for your project. If you are doing outdoor activities, then an exterior paint will be the ideal choice. For thinning purposes, you need to know whether you will use water to thin or a special paint thinner. You should also get a viscosity tester so that you can determine the right thinning levels for your paint before being used in a spray machine. For the clean bucket water, it should contain the water that will be used to clean the paint sprayer. Remember to keep the clean during the painting process because it makes no sense to clean the machine with drained water mixed with paint. Then there is the waste bucket which receives the drained paint as well as other dregs of the spraying process.

Prepare your Working Area

The next step is to clear your working area of any tripping objects and hazards. This also involves isolating your painting areas by covering nearby surfaces that don't require painting. Surfaces such as windows, floors, and trims can be masked off or covered using drop cloths. You can also use plastic sheeting and tape to isolate the painting area. Basically, everything that doesn't require painting has to be covered. Paint sprayers usually generate many droplets of paint in the air which can drift and settle on nearby objects like cars, decks, and plants. The paint should also be well stirred and strained to prevent clogging at the tip and in the filters.

Prepare the Paint Sprayer

Clogging is a major problem when it comes to spray-painting. You then have to select the right sizes for your nozzle and tip. This also includes choosing the right pump pressure for your painting tasks. For thin paints like stains and enamels, it is good to choose a smaller nozzle and a lower pressure setting. High pressures and large nozzles will work well for thicker paints like wall paint. Next, you need set up the paint spraying machine.

This includes priming the machine, filling the gun and the hose, adjusting the pressure, and choosing the spraying technique. Before you begin spraying, you need to test-spray on a drywall or a scrap piece of wood to ensure it is working correctly. To be able to do this, you have to hold the sprayer in a way that ensures horizontal exit of the paint.

Spray Painting

You should maintain a consistent distance from the surface of between 6 and 12 inches. As you keep a stiff wrist, move the sprayer in a sweeping motion using your arm. If you are painting a horizontal surface like a ceiling, a tip extension will help you redirect the paint. Depending on whether you are left-handed or right-handed, spray from left to right or right to left by pressing the trigger to start spraying and releasing it to stop. You should apply about 3 feet of paint at a time, then stop before making the next application. Create an overlap of 50 percent between the previous application and the next one to get two thin coats for the surface and eliminate chances of the paint drying into stripes.

paint spraying a fence

During the painting process, ensure you put on coveralls, hat, gloves, respirator and eye protection to prevent paint from affecting your hair, skin, and clothes. This also includes keeping it away from your eyes and lungs. Ensure you continue testing and adjusting the machine until you get the desired pattern. For instance, if you are getting too narrow patterns then increase the amount of applied paint. If on the other hand, you are getting too wide patterns, you can increase the number of passes to get a better coverage. As you continue practicing, check for the evenness of the paint and if need be adjust the viscosity, nozzle, and pump pressure before using the paint sprayer on the required painting surface. In painting, start with the corners and any surface protrusions before winding up with large flat areas. Corners should be covered using vertical strokes and should be done quickly to avoid overloading them. Each completed area has to be reviewed to ensure there are no missed areas or light spots.

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