Airless sprayers atomize the paint by forcing it through the tip of the sprayer, creating a flat fan of paint. Save time when painting textured or multiplaned surfaces difficult to paint evenly with a brush or roller by using an airless sprayer instead. When used correctly, airless sprayers can help you paint surfaces like stucco, shingles and latticework thoroughly and evenly.
Difficulty: Moderately Challenging
Things You’ll Need:
• Drop cloths
• Protective clothing
• Protective eyewear
• Airless sprayer
Use drop cloths, old sheets, plastic or tarps to protect a wide area around whatever you wish to paint, securing them with tape when possible. Because the paint is sprayed, it may land on surrounding surfaces.
Wear gloves, goggles, a long-sleeved shirt and pants to protect yourself. The paint is coming out of the sprayer so quickly that it can be injected under your skin if you’re not careful. Consider wearing a hood as well.
If your airless spray comes with interchangeable tips, choose the correct tip size for the type of paint you’re using . Each tip is numbered; consult the manufacturer’s information to choose the tip that’s right for your project. Generally, lacquer, shellac, stain and water sealer require .009 – .013 tips; enamel requires .013 – .015 tips; oil-based and interior latex paint requires .013 – .017 tips; and exterior latex paint requires .015 – .019 tips.
Fill the sprayer’s cup with paint. Depending on your painting project, you may want to thin your paint first to help you achieve a smooth finish. Consider using naphtha if using oil-based paint and latex paint thinner if using water-based paint. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding how much paint and/or thinner to use in the cup.
Practice spraying the paint on a disposable object or surface until you are able to use the least amount of pressure on the trigger necessary to achieve even coverage.
Position the airless sprayer about 12 inches away from the surface you wish to paint and, with a steady hand, spray in a straight line at a speed of about three inches per second. Use your arm, not your wrist, to keep the airless sprayer straight. At the end of a strip, release the sprayer’s trigger and re-engage it as you go back in the other direction, overlapping the first strip by roughly one inch. Begin moving your arm in a steady, three-inches-per-second fashion before pulling the trigger; this will help you apply the paint evenly.
Take a break if needed. Always set the safety lock when not painting. Keep in mind that the paint in the sprayer will start to harden after 15 minutes. If you must take a longer break or if you have finished your painting project, turn off and unplug the sprayer and clean it.
Remove the sprayer’s tip and soak it in an appropriate solvent: water if you used a water-based paint and thinner if you used an oil-based paint. Then use the same type of solvent to rinse out the sprayer’s cup. Run the solvent through the sprayer’s lines until all paint is removed and the solvent comes out of the sprayer clean