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How to Use a Paint Sprayer

A paint sprayer can deliver a quality finish in half the time of a traditional roller or brush. To ensure the best results, there are a few dos and don'ts you need to learn before getting started.

Should I Use a Paint Sprayer?

Paint sprayers can help you quickly get the results you're looking for, but there are times you're better off using the traditional brush or roller.

Use a Paint Sprayer

  • If you're painting a large space, such as a large room, a fence or exterior siding.
  • On furniture. A sprayer can get into the hard-to-reach spots and produce more even coverage.
  • When you're working in an empty room or house.
  • If you're painting the walls, ceiling and trim.

Don't Use a Paint Sprayer

  • On small jobs or if there isn't a suitable spray area.
  • If you're worried about the amount of paint you have. Sprayers use more paint than rollers and brushes.
  • If you dislike prep work. Everything needs to be covered.
  • If you hate cleaning up. Taking apart and cleaning a paint sprayer can be time-consuming.

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Good to Know

To learn more about the different types of sprayers and when you should use them, read our Paint Sprayer Buying Guide.

Prep

When using a sprayer, preparation is essential:

Check the Temperature
The ideal temperature for spray painting is between 45-75 degrees. If it's too cold, the spray gun is more apt to clog. If it's too hot, the paint will dry too quickly and it won't bond.

Wear Protective Gear
To deal with paint and fumes, wear protective clothing, goggles and a face mask or respirator. Make sure that the area is well-ventilated.

Use Drop Cloths & Sheeting
Sprayers make a big mess. Make sure that you have all areas that you're not painting -- such as floors, windows and trim -- covered with plastic sheeting or drop cloths.

Move Furniture and Rugs
Move all furniture and rugs out of the room. If you're short on space, move everything to the middle and cover with plastic sheeting. This will ensure your belongings don't have paint splatters and the sprayer hose won't get hung up on a table or chair leg.

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Shop Protective Gear

Using a Paint Sprayer

paint sprayer and accessories

Follow these general instructions for a smooth and even paint job:

Good to Know

Keep in mind that each sprayer is different. The volume and the angle (from a narrow to wide spray) can vary. If you have questions about your sprayer and the surface that you're painting, talk to a Lowe's associate.

Caution

Most homeowners use airless sprayers to handle their paint jobs. Be especially careful with an airless sprayer -- it works under very high pressure. If your skin makes contact with the tip, it can inject paint and dangerous toxins under the skin. Seek medical treatment immediately.

Instructions

Step 1

Start by stirring the paint well and then use a strainer to remove any debris. If the gun gets clogged, it can cause the paint to splatter.

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Step 2

Do a test run with a piece of plywood or cardboard and practice moving the gun in long, straight strokes. As you're painting, the distance from the spray gun to the surface should always be the same. Move your whole body -- instead of just your arm -- as you're painting.

Step 3

Once you feel confident in your technique, it's time to move to your surface. As you spray, work slowly and in one-foot-width spaces. Paint sprayers dispense a lot of paint and if you try to rush the job, the coats will be uneven. As you paint, overlap between spaces so that lines or light patches don't occur.

 

 

Step 4

Once you get to the corners, spray vertically and quicker than usual to avoid overloading the area.

Step 5

After doing a few sections, step back and check your work. If there are light or missed spots, fill them in using a brush or roller. In some cases, backbrushing may be needed to provide a more even finish.

Step 6

Thoroughly clean your sprayer every time you use it. Some sprayers come with a flush feature that lets you connect it to your garden hose for easy cleanup. Each sprayer is different, so follow the directions for your particular model.