April 26, 2018 by
Paint Spraying Advice and Tips For All Conditions
If you take pride in your garden, then doing a good job of painting is probably quite important to you. Fences, trellises, decking, benches – it all needs a new coat of paint every now and again. It’s natural to start looking at paint sprayers while you’re thinking about the task at hand. The benefits of a paint sprayer are almost too many to mention; they give you an even coat of paint, they get the job done quickly, they cut down on wastage, and they’re usually pretty inexpensive.
However, if you’ve never used a paint sprayer before, there are a few things you should know. While there is a little more to it than simply blobbing a paintbrush into a tin of paint, there’s nothing to be afraid of when it comes to paint sprayers. We’ve put together a beginner’s guide to paint sprayers that will answer all your sprayer prayers, so if you’re thinking of starting a DIY project, read on to learn how to get the most out of your paint sprayer.
Practice Makes Perfect
There’s no way around it: paint sprayers make you feel pretty satisfied. Gently squeezing the trigger and watching the paint evenly coat whatever you’re pointing it at is a great feeling, but it’s important not to get too carried away when you get your new toy! Spend some time practicing before you let yourself loose on the garden fence. Spray up some junk wood or cardboard to practice covering surfaces in paint, without missing any spots or having to go back over spots, which can lead to runs and paint drips. Even Da Vinci didn’t get the Mona Lisa right on the first try, so remember that before you start work on your masterpiece!
Spray the paint on in long, straight, sweeping strokes. Practice the motion a few times before you actually squeeze the trigger to line up your aim. Also, when you actually do go to pull the trigger, always make sure you’re moving before you start spraying! The paint comes out fast, so if you keep the paint sprayer still and only start your stroke after you squeeze the trigger, you’ll be left with a blotchy and uneven coat. Always, always start your stroke before you spray!
Keep It Straight
This is kind of related to our last point, but it’s so important we’ve given it its own section. As you move your sprayer back and forth across your target surface, keep it parallel to the surface you’re spraying! It’s so easy to slip into an arc motion as that’s the way our arms naturally move but doing so means the paint spray will hit the target surface from all different angles. Imagine you’re a robot, visualise some train tracks, do whatever you have to do to keep the nozzle of your paint sprayer perfectly parallel to your target surface!
Take the Corners Quickly
Do the corners, or any tricky nooks and crannies, first. Speed up your motion slightly as you get close to the corners. Doing so will prevent thick layers of paint from blobbing onto the edge of your target surface. After that, you can fill in the middle with regular, broad, sweeping strokes.
Gently Does It
It’s better to put on a coat of paint that’s too light, rather than too heavy. You can always go back over it and top it up later. You can’t un-paint a coat that’s too heavy though, so if you’re not sure how thick to make your coat of paint, always err on the side of caution and be gentle! In fact, using several thin coats of paint could actually save you time in the long run. A thick coat takes longer to dry and is more prone to running. Doing a quick, thin coat, having a break and coming back to go over it again is a good plan and results in a smoother, glossier surface. Plus, it gives you an excuse to put the kettle on, so this approach gets two thumbs up from us!
Protect Nearby Surfaces
This might seem obvious, especially if you’re using the paint sprayer indoors, but make sure you’ve covered up anything you don’t want to paint! Use a few layers of old newspapers to protect your floor and masking tape to mask off any bits of your surface that you don’t want to paint (like a skirting board, for example). Don’t be shy about using masking tape – it’s better to use too much rather than too little! Paint sprayers atomise the paint into quite a wide spray which can be hard to predict if you’re not used to using them. While you’re getting the hang of things, it’s safe to go a little overboard in protecting other surfaces.
Don’t Play It Cool
This is a sciencey bit, but it’s also incredibly important. The weather plays a big part in whether you should use your paint sprayer or not. Now, you probably know spray painting when the Great British rainclouds are overhead is a bad idea, but that’s not the only weather you should be looking out for! If the temperature is too cold – around 8ºC or below- it’s not a good idea to paint at all. Most regular paint likes to thicken up in cold weather, meaning it can clog up your spray gun. Also, if the surface you’re painting on is too cold as well, the paint won’t bond to it properly, meaning you end up with ugly lumps of paint all over your surface, runs and drips. Spray painting outside in cold weather is generally a bad idea, but if you’re spray painting your walls and ceiling indoors you should be ok. However…
Don’t Feel the Heat
…spray painting in hot conditions is a bad idea too! If you’re considering cranking up the heating indoors to get some painting done, think again! In temperatures higher than 23ºC, your paint spray can start to dry out before it reaches its intended surface. Naturally, this leads to problems when the paint tries to bond to the surface. It results in a rough, gritty texture that’s prone to flaking off. This creates problems in the summer, which is annoyingly when most people are thinking about painting their garden fence or furniture! On hot days, it’s best to wait until late afternoon to head out for a painting session.
Remember, spray paint is like Goldilocks: it can’t be too hot, and it can’t be too cold. It has to be just right!
Spraying in Humid Conditions
Another thing to keep tabs on is the humidity in the air while you’re spraying. Around 40-50% humidity provides the ideal conditions for paint spraying, but don’t worry too much if the conditions are a little outside that range. If the conditions are really humid though, your paint will take much longer to dry, which will increase the risk of drips or blemishes appearing on the surface of your coat. Also, be aware that if the humidity is too low, you might have problems bonding the paint to your surface properly, which can result in flaking.
If you’re going to be painting indoors or in a garage, consider looking at a way to control humidity, like a humidifier, dehumidifier or an air cooler. If you know you’re going to be doing a lot of painting, this will be a wise investment!
Keep It Clean
So, you’ve read this far, you’ve mastered the motion to stroke that paint on perfectly, you haven’t spilled a drop, the weather is perfect for paint spraying, you’ve got the humidity just how you like it, and you’ve sprayed your garden fence perfectly. You’re onto the last panel and you’re feeling good, so you start your stroke and squeeze the trigger on your paint sprayer… but nothing happens. You keep squeezing, and the paint suddenly spurts out in an unpredictable pattern, leaving blobs of paint everywhere and ruining hours’ worth of hard work! It’s a nightmare, but it’s one that’s all too real for many DIY enthusiasts out there. You can perfect every step of your paint spraying method, but if you don’t keep your sprayer clean after every single use, you’ll soon run into problems.
Even in perfect conditions, some tiny particles of paint can congeal inside the nozzle and pipe of your sprayer, leading to an uneven spray, random spurts of high pressure paint, and even total blockage and damage of your paint sprayer if you let the problem worsen. Make sure to keep the tip of your nozzle clean with a rag after every use. It’s also a good idea look into sprayers such as the Mylek Rapid+, which comes with a free cleaning pin for removing dried and congealed blobs of paint out of your sprayer.
Painting can be a great therapeutic exercise. Be proud of your work and enjoy the satisfying feeling of turning your garden or home into a lively, colourful sanctuary! Follow the steps above and you’ll find painting can relieve stress, not add to it!
If you have any questions about this article, or you want more personal advice on paint spraying, drop a comment below, give our experts a call or use the live chat function on HSDonline.co.uk and we’ll be happy to help.