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Spray Painting Do's and Don'ts

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Spray painting offers many advantages over brush and roller painting. In just minutes, you can spray intricate objects like metal fencing, shutters, and wrought iron lawn furniture far more evenly than you could with hours of painting by brush, roller, or pad.

For large paint jobs, there are two types of spray guns: an airless sprayer and an air-powered sprayer. An airless sprayer pumps liquid paint through a spray-gun tip at very high pressure to form a dense, directed mist of paint to coat a surface. An air-powered sprayer uses a compressor to pressurize air intake and atomize paint while projecting it onto a surface.

Spray Painting Techniques

  1. Use paint in a well-ventilated area and wear a respirator mask. When outdoors, shield shrubbery and move your car out of range. When indoors, mask window panes with newspaper and masking tape. Cover the floor and furniture with drop cloths. or sheets. Spray paint when the temperature is between 50 – 90 F. Do not spray paint when humidity exceeds 85%. If outdoors while it is windy or there is dust in the air, do not spray paint to keep dust from settling on wet paint.
  2. Surface preparation is key, so the most important step is a clean, dry surface. Normal detergent or turpentine usually suffices.
  3. For wood, smoothen down with medium to fine grain sandpaper. Wipe dust off with a tack cloth, then spray with primer.
  4. For metal, remove rust with sandpaper, a wire brush, or chemical rust remover. Remove oil with a denatured alcohol or degreaser. Prime surface to protect from corrosion.
  5. For plastic, ceramic, or glass, lightly sand with fine grain sandpaper to roughen surface and let paint adhere. Wipe clean.
  6. Always use a primer on wood or metal, or when altering surface color.
  7. Hold sprayer 10 - 14 inches away from the surface. Use continuous, even side-to-side movements. Stopping will cause paint to build up in one spot and run. Have good lighting to see missing spots and have each paint layer overlap the previous layer.
  8. When finished spray painting, hold sprayer upside down and hold the nozzle down until no paint comes out. This clears paint from the nozzle so the sprayer can be used in future.

Airless Paint Sprayer Safety Tips

  1. Do not point spray gun at yourself or other people.
  2. Keep children and pets away.
  3. Unplug airless equipment before clearing a spray tip or before disassembly and maintenance operations.
  4. Whether plugged in or not, do not leave an airless sprayer resting unattended.

If the paint job merits it and your budget allows it, spray painting is an excellent option that evenly coats elaborate surfaces and lets you paint thousands of square feet in record time.

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