A paint sprayer can save you an enormous amount of time when you’ve got something that needs a fresh coat of paint. Nothing comes for free in this world, however, and in the world of using a spray gun for paint; you’ll need to have some extra paint on hand to get the job done. How much extra paint does a spray gun use?
The answer to that question depends on the type of spray gun that you’re planning to use. Before you get started, however, it is important to make sure you cover everything in your home, tape off your windows, and remove anything that you don’t want to get ruined. Even with your best efforts to reduce paint splatter, a spray gun will always leave atomized paint in the air.
High Volume Low Pressure (HVLP) spray guns are fairly comparable to brushes and rollers in the amount of paint that they use. This is because the flow result is very predictable and you’re usually within 10-12 inches of the surface being painted, thereby reducing the amount of paint pollution that you put into the air.
With this type of spray gun, you should plan to have about 20% more paint on-hand than you think you’ll need to make sure you have enough to get the job done.
If you’re using a high pressure spray gun with an air compressor, then you’ll find that you’ll atomize a lot of paint into the air. A standard ratio for using this type of spray gun is about 1.5 cans of paint to 1 can of paint for a roller, but depending on how much PSI you use, your ratio could be 2:1 or even 3:1 on a windy day outside.
You can avoid some of this paint waste by using a gravity-style paint gun, which accepts the high pressure rate, but this means an added cost to your tool investment. This type of spray gun tends to have a premium price point and can cost up to 4x more than your basic paint sprayer.
Airless paint sprayers are great for work that needs to take place above your head – such as with a ceiling. The one issue that you’ll face with this type of sprayer is that up to 40% of the paint that you’re spraying from the gun is going to end up somewhere else besides the surface you’re painting. Poor spray techniques can increase this ratio to 50/50.
You will also need to make sure your spray gun tips are in good working order. You can multiply your paint use by 2-3x just because you’ve got a blow tip or one that has been overused. Remember that backrolling may also be necessary to even out the coat of paint that has been sprayed onto the surface. Keep these tips and ratios in mind before you get started and you’ll be able to save time on your project even if you are using a little extra paint.
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