You are here
How to Use a Paint Sprayer
Paint sprayers are particularly useful for painting over large areas or areas where there is a lot of angles and surface faces like in closets and under roof eves. Spraying is much faster than brushing or rolling and although some paint will probably be wasted by overspray, the time and effort saved will more than compensate for any minor additional paint cost you might have.
Once the equipment adjusted and your spray technique down, you can produce a paint coating with good uniformity in thickness and appearance. Surface areas that are difficult to reach with a brush or roller can easily be covered by the paint sprayer.
All coats can be applied satisfactorily by the spray except for primer coats. Spraying should be done only on a clean surface because the paint may not adhere well if any layer of dust is present. Preparation of the paint is of critical importance when a sprayer is to be used. Stir or strain the paint to remove any lumps, and thin it carefully according to the paint sprayer specifications. If the paint is lumpy or too thick, it may clog the spray valve; if it is too thin, the paint may sag or run after it’s been applied.
Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the paint label for the type of amount of thinner to be used. Before you begin, ask your paint dealer to show you exactly how the sprayer works, and to give you a few pointers and how to use it to your best advantage in the type of painting you will be doing. For best results, adjust the width of the spray fan to the size of the surface to be coated. A narrow fan is best for spraying small or narrow surfaces; a wider fan should be used to spray walls.
Before spraying, test the thickness of the paint, the size of the fan, and the motion of the spray gun on a scrap piece of wood board before painting your actual surface. Spraying paint too thickly can cause rippling of the wet film or lead to blistering later. Hold the nozzle about eight inches from the surface to be painted. Start the stroke or motion of the hand holding the sprayer while the spray is pointed slightly beyond the surface to be painted. This assures a smooth, even flow when you reach the surface to be coated. Move the sprayer parallel to the surface, moving with an even stroke back and forth across the area.
Spray corners and edges first. Always use a mask or respirator to avoid inhaling the vapors and it might be a good idea to cover your head and hair with a cap or other protective gear to help avoid getting overspray on it. Be sure to cover everything close to the work area with drop cloths, tarps, or newspapers. The "overspray” from a paint sprayer could extend several feet from the actual work area.
The sprayer should be cleaned promptly after the job is completed, before the paint dries in the tubes, hoses and valves. After using oil-base or alkyd paints, clean the sprayer with the same solvent used to thin the paint. After using latex paint, clean the sprayer with detergent and water. Fill the sprayer tank with the cleaning liquid and spray it clean. If the sprayer tip becomes clogged, clean it with a small piece of broom straw. Never use a wire or a nail to clear clogged air holes in the sprayer tip as this my damage the spray orfice.