Tips for Using a Paint Gun

Brushes and rollers can often get the job done, but a paint sprayer is the ultimate tool for painting like a pro. Unlike brush strokes, a spray gun produces a constant, smooth, and faultless finish. Not only that, but it also cuts down on the time to complete a task.

However, before pulling out your paint sprayer (or running to the store to buy a new one) there are some things you should consider. Knowing these few key things will ensure that you pick the right spray gun for your DIY painting project.

Benefits of a spray gun

Spray guns make your painting job easier and faster. Because you’re using air pressure to create a fine mist of paint, they’re economical too.

Here are a few reasons you should choose a spray gun for your next home improvement project.


A trained eye can discern where one brush stroke or roller line finishes and another begins while using a brush or roller. However, this never happens with a correctly operated spray gun. It creates a smooth, uniform look that no other painting tool can match, and it looks fantastic.


Painting with an air gun instead of a paint roller or brush saves time. If done correctly, what would take hours can be completed in minutes.   

A paint sprayer also allows you to paint in difficult-to-reach areas like corners with ease. Brushes and rollers, however, don’t make reaching these areas easy or fast.

In the Long Run, It Saves You Money

Rollers and brushes are obviously less expensive than paint sprayers, but not in the long run. 

Even the best brushes and rollers eventually wear out and need to be replaced. A decent paint sprayer can last for years and years. 

While the upfront cost of a paint sprayer can be significant, over time you’ll come out ahead in terms of both money and time.

Types of Spray Painters

Low Volume Low Pressure (LVLP)

These types of spray guns are great for small jobs. They only need about 10 psi to work, so you can create a professional finish without spending a fortune on expensive equipment.

It’s worth noting, though, that LVLP paint sprayers have a hard time with thick paint. As a result, if you need to use high-viscosity paint, choose a spray gun with more power.


It pumps paint at a high pressure (up to 3,000 psi) through a hose and out of a small hole at the tip of the spray nozzle. The tip uniformly splits up the paint into tiny droplets in a fan-shaped spray pattern.

These sprayers are noted for their efficiency and speed. If you want to paint anything like your garage door, this is a great alternative. It also performs admirably on larger tasks.

This is a great option, however be cautious if you get an airless type because a beginner can easily over-spray. Also, trying to paint a small area with this type of air gun would be a mistake.

High Volume Low Pressure (HVLP)

To atomize your paint into a soft, low-velocity pattern, HVLP spray guns use a high volume of air (between 15-26 cfm) at low pressure (about 10 psi or less).

These air guns reduce waste, and some even come with hot air, which speeds up the drying process. They’re also faster at distributing paint.

Granted, they clog more frequently than other types, but they do their job well overall.

Compressed Air/Pneumatic

In recent years, compressed air paint guns have been replaced largely by LVLP models. They’re easy to use and nothing to set up, however the technology is old and they tend to clog easily.

Gravity Feed

Gravity feed spray guns get their name because the paint feed reservoir is above the sprayer and helps to distribute pressure. They perform best when painting a car, and they produce an excellent finish.

Overall, they’re simple to clean up after and quite precise, although they’re not suitable for high-volume tasks.

Tips on using

1. Thin your paint

Whether you roll, brush, or spray your paint, it’s still paint. Special paint may be required depending on the spray gun you’re using. Some paint guns, for example, cannot handle thick paint while others can.

The type of paint gun you use will have a big impact on the paint you’ll need to finish the job properly and efficiently.

You’ll almost certainly need to thin out your paint before you begin, regardless of which spray painter you have. This will get the paint to the right consistency.

2. Heat

Avoid any sources of heat when using your paint gun. Extinguish all fires and turn off any surrounding stoves or electric tools and appliances.

3. Ventilate

Even if you’re working outside, take pauses to ensure you’re not inhaling paint fumes. Breathing in paint fumes can make you dizzy and lightheaded and also harm your health.

4. Touching Paint

Avoid touching the paint and when spraying, always use gloves. Wash your hands well once you’ve finished.

5. Electrical

It happens more often than you might think. Someone gets a little too enthusiastic when spray painting a wall or two, and before you know it, they’ve painted right over an electrical outlet or even electrical wire. 

Do yourself a favor and tape over all outlets before spraying.

6. Avoid over-spray

Spraying something you didn’t mean to paint is the last thing you want to do. Take care. With spray painting, over-spray is one of the most prevalent issues that even professionals face.

Put little or medium-sized items in a fairly large box that you don’t mind having spoiled. 

Put down a disposable tarp and do it outside on your grass if the object you’re painting is too large. Any over-spray will drop on the tarp rather than your lawn if you’re careful and use the correct paint sprayer.

Put down plenty of huge tarps and use sticky tape to cover any nearby areas you don’t want to get paint on for larger projects. Cover adjoining siding and windows, for example, if you’re painting your garage.

Remember that the distance between your spray gun and the surface you’re spraying is critical. Before pulling the trigger, make sure you read the instructions for your model.

7. Clean and prepare the surface

Make sure your work surface is clean and smooth before you begin. Use sandpaper to remove troublesome spots if needed. Remove any grease as well. 

To make certain that no airborne debris might damage your paint job, consider closing a window or assessing the area beforehand.

8. Pay attention to humidity

Humidity also affects spray painting. High humidity in the air, believe it or not, might cause your spray painter to discharge some droplets before reaching the desired surface. 

While this may go unnoticed and isn’t the end of the world, it might detract from the overall quality and efficiency of your job.

9. Don’t Swing a Spray Gun

For best results, avoid swinging the spray gun around. Use left to right or down to up motions when spraying instead, for better results.

Aim your nozzle on one section of the surface and steadily move the gun in a straight and consistent motion, holding it at the right angle and distance from the surface of your project.

10. Coverage and runs

Avoid runs by starting with a light coat. Let it dry completely before spraying another coat. For the first pass, move in a vertical direction, then use a horizontal motion for the next coat. Switch directions with each new coat of paint to ensure thorough coverage.

11. Overlap each coat by half

Adding another coat of paint to create the sense of depth and thickness is known as overlapping. The pros recommend overlapping by 50% since it ensures regularity and gives your surface a professional appearance. Try it for yourself and see what you think.

12. Cleaning your paint sprayer

Finally, for your paint gun to remain in good condition, it’s important to clean it thoroughly.

Follow the instructions in the manual that came with the spray painter for maintaining and cleaning it. 

Only use neutral pH cleaning fluids on waterborne paints. Use a solvent cleaning fluid for solvent-based paints. It’s best to use disposable cups for this.

Rinse the air distribution mechanism completely after cleaning your spray painter with the appropriate fluid. After that, thoroughly dry the area. You should do this frequently to prevent corrosion, rust, and residue from contaminating the painting process.

Never use a brush comprising metal wires to clean your spray gun manually. This can easily damage it.

To clean your paint sprayer well, disassemble the nozzle set first. Remove the paint needle and the cap. The fluid tip should then be unscrewed. Take care not to damage anything. Clean the fluid out of the material passage now. After that, use a blow dryer to dry it.

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