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Big interior painting job - need advice on whether to buy sprayer

Between now and Christmas I will be painting the interior of my home (OK, it might take me longer than Christmas). This includes original old plaster walls and ceilings, drywall ceilings, original fir trim and wood doors, brick fireplace, and inexpensive kitchen cabinets (made of some kind of composite, not solid wood). I might paint old tongue-and-groove pine paneling later. I'm going to start with the kitchen cabinets and the kitchen walls.

I assume that brushes and small rollers are best for the trim, but given the level of effort for the rest of the house, would it be wise to invest in a decent paint sprayer?

Any recommendations and tips for a sprayer, and where to use it, and when brushes and rollers are better? I've download lots of articles on the Internet, including how to paint cabinets, but want to hear from people that have used sprayers. I know how to do and have done general prep before.

Thanks in advance everyone.

MLB Construction
Re: Big interior painting job - need advice on whether to buy sprayer

as i'm sure you know, 75% of a paint job is the prep work, 25% is slapping paint on the walls.

my opinion.....i would advise against using a sprayer inside a house that you're living in. you would basically have to remove all the furniture and everything else from the room, cover the floors, tape off the windows and lighting fixtures and then after you spray, you'll have to go over some, most or all of the surfaces with a roller. you can spray a whole room in 10 minutes but there's alot that goes along with it and i don't think it's worth the time for prep and the mess you could make.

general rule of thumb for any given room

1 ceiling
2 trim
3 walls
4 anything else such as cabinets or book cases

if you want to cut a little time you can use an 18" roller instead of a 9" but that's still not going to make a very big difference if you're just going room to room. it's an unusual sight to see painters spray inside a house unless it's new construction and they can run from room to room easily.

Re: Big interior painting job - need advice on whether to buy sprayer

MLB gave you what no painter is going to give you: useful information about your painting job.
Stick to rollers and brushes. Don't get a sprayer.
Another question: why will it take you months to paint the house inside?

Re: Big interior painting job - need advice on whether to buy sprayer

Thanks so much MLB for the good advice. I'll stick to brushes and rollers.

Should I wash all the surfaces first? For example, there's soot on the wall over the fireplace. Or will quality paint cover it?

P. S. I know I have to scrub and sand the kitchen cabinets.

dji, the job will take time for a range of reasons. High ceilings, lots of prep (patching holes and cracks, taping, cutting in), an unpredictable work schedule, other responsibilities, and I'm doing the work alone.

A. Spruce
Re: Big interior painting job - need advice on whether to buy sprayer

Generally I agree with my cohorts here, and to a large extent I do in this instance as well, however, I've got some differing opinion on it as well.

Generally, spraying is a no-no in an occupied space, and a fairly poor way of applying paint to an interior wall anyway, however, certain aspects are better/easier to spray. If you have acoustic ceiling texture, it is actually better to spray it from multiple angles than it is to roll it. Rolling "gobs" on the paint to get it into all the nooks and crannies, where spraying will get most places pretty well with a light touch. If this applies to you, I will go into more details on how to do it. I personally prefer sprayed doors over brush or roller, as the coat is more even and without texture created by the applicator. I also think that cabinets look better sprayed, but again, personal preference. If you decide to spray anything, be aware that you're going to blast as much paint into the air as onto the surface of intent. All that mist in the air is going to settle out into every nook and cranny it can find, which means removing all furnishings and tarping thoroughly is in order.

What works extremely well on interior walls is a power roller, basically, a pump feeds the roller paint, there is no dipping into a pan. You will cover the area far more evenly, completely, and quickly than doing it by hand. I've had a number of customers who have purchased the Wagner sprayer/power roller set up and loved the way it worked. I wouldn't use one as a pro, but they're adequate for a one time use, occasional use that the average homeowner has.

Aside from these instances, you're better off with hand tools and honing your skills of brush stroke and cutting in. Again, once you decide how to proceed, we can offer tips and techniques to help you along.

MLB Construction
Re: Big interior painting job - need advice on whether to buy sprayer

i do agree with spruce with one little exception. sprayed cabinets and doors do come out better with one exception. and 95% of the time that exception is.... it's best left to the pro's. spraying, especially something like cabinetry, is almost an art like plastering. anyone can do it but not too many can make the final result look like it came from a factory. if i was painting my house i would have no problem doing the ceilings, walls and trim. i would probably have a pro come in and do my kitchen cabinets for me. it's a touchy job.

to answer your second question. all surfaces should be cleaned....no dust, dirt, grime, etc. anything with a coat of poly on it like trim work or cabinetry should be sanded and cleaned with a tack rag or damp cloth. the goal is to get your new paint job to stick and not bubble up and peel off.

Re: Big interior painting job - need advice on whether to buy sprayer

All great advice here and I'll add -

Spraying a good primer in an enclosed space without great ventilation is a VERY bad idea. You'll be choking, eyes watering, and wondering what possessed you to do such a thing. Your wife will be less than pleased.

Another factor;

When spraying you'd want to spray all the primer at once, followed by all the ceilings... You'll be adding many many gallons of water to the interior of your home in a few hours. Unless you can ventilate that water vapor it will take days for the paint to dry. You might get humidity staining and a mottled look to the finish.

Stick with the brushes and rollers. Paint one room at a time. You'll be moving a lot of furniture.

I own and use a Titan 640 airless sprayer along with some very large fans.

Re: Big interior painting job - need advice on whether to buy sprayer

If you do spray within the house, you will want to kill the furnace or central air while spraying. You don't want the mist and fumes drawn all over the house. When I occasionally sprayed in an occupied house, I tried to isolate the room as much as possible. I would tape off the heating registers and place a small window fan in the window exhausting outward to create a negative pressure in the room, preventing spray dust from migrating to the rest of the house.

You might compromise and set up a spray area in the garage to spray all the interior doors and cabinet doors, leaving the other woodwork to finish with the brush.

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