What Type of Spray Gun is Right for Your Project?

Using a paint spray gun vs. traditional rollers or brushes for most painting projects saves time, requires less effort, and helps you achieve a smooth and consistent finish. There are several types of spray guns on the market, so it’s important that you choose the right one for the job at hand. At Spray Finishes, we’re spray painting experts and wanted to explain the differences between the various types of spray guns so you can make the right choice for your next project.

Airless Sprayers

Airless sprayers pump paint from a container through a hose directly to a spray gun, without using any compressed air. They are considered to be the fastest type of spray gun and can accommodate a variety of paint products from thick latex paints to thin stains, which makes them ideal for large jobs like exterior house painting or the interior of a new home or commercial property. Perhaps the best thing about these sprayers is that they require little set up and cleaning time and produce a professional-looking result on almost any surface.

Cup Sprayers

Cup sprayers are a smaller, handheld type of airless sprayer. Their compact size makes them ideal for fences, decks, and smaller DIY projects. They’re also great for touch ups on larger projects or to keep colors fresh between larger paint jobs. If you’re on a limited budget, then you’ll be glad to know that cup sprayers are the least expensive type of spray gun.

Compressed Air Sprayers

These sprayers use compressed air to apply paint to a surface, producing a smooth and even finish even across uneven surfaces like furniture and cabinets. However, compressed air sprayers are messy and emit more overspray than other spray guns so be sure to use drop cloths and painter’s tape to protect surfaces. Compressed air sprayers are inexpensive, but you’ll be buying more paint than you would with other types of spray guns.

HVLP Sprayers

HVLP stands for High Volume of air at a Low pneumatic Pressure. A typical HVLP spray gun contains an integrated turbine which blows warm air and the liquid paint into a nozzle, where a low-pressure air stream meets it to create a mist-like spray pattern. These sprayers provide the highest level of transfer efficiency, which means more paint reaches the spraying surface, resulting in less overspray and less wasted paint. HVLP sprayers are great for painting a single room, smaller house exteriors, decks, fences, and ceilings.

HVLP sprayers are also the preferred choice for painting metal. When used by experienced paint contractors like Spray Finishes, HVLP spray guns are an effective way of covering all kinds of metal surfaces such as metal window frames, outdoor artwork, and store fronts. One word of caution. Thick latex paints might not work well with HVLP sprayers so be sure to thin out your paint before spraying.

Spray Painting Tips

No matter which type of spray gun you choose, there are some basic tips you should follow to get the best results:

  1. Hold the spray gun 12 to 16 inches from the surface you’re painting. Holding it too close to the surface can create a thick, gloppy coat of paint, while holding it too far away can create overspray and a thin or uneven coat of paint.
  2. Test the sprayer on a large piece of cardboard or other scrap material before you begin.
  3. Regularly wipe the tip of your paint sprayer to prevent paint from dying and disrupting the spray pattern.
  4. Clean the unit thoroughly following manufacturer’s instructions once your project is completed.
  5. Do not store paint in your paint sprayer for an extended period of time.
  6. Use drop cloths, tape off areas you want to protect, and take all necessary safety precautions.

With so many types of spray guns available, you’re bound to find one that will work for your next project. If you’d rather have a professional do the job, then contact Spray Finishes, a division of Stone Services. We’ve been in the electrostatic spray painting business since 1938. We specialize in on-site painting and also have a 10,000 square foot shop for any large off-site jobs. Spray Finishes’ friendly and knowledgeable staff is ready to serve you at any of their five tristate area locations, including New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Long Island, and Westchester.

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