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choosing a paint sprayer

I'm getting ready to paint my house this summer, and would like to purchase a sprayer. I don't know anything about sprayers, and the information is a little overwhelming. I have a compressor, but I don't know if that is necessary, or if sprayers are independent units.
Also, what is your recommendation on the brand/quality/gloss level for exterior paint?
If my I'm repainting the same color do I need to do any priming?

A. Spruce
Re: choosing a paint sprayer

I would recommend renting over purchasing because the quality of most DIY sprayers is pretty poor.

For paint, I recommend sticking with name brand dealers such as Kelly Moore, Sherwin Williams, etc. Stay away from the box store brands as you’re paying top dollar for less that good quality paint.

You may or may not need to prime, depending on the condition and type of paint used originally and what you intend to use now. You will want to prep the surface before applying your new coatings, which generally consists of washing, repair of damaged areas, cracks, caulking around windows and trim, etc. If after this the surface is chalky or you have bare wood, then priming would be recommended, otherwise not a necessity. I would also recommend that you spend some time researching painting techniques, operating an airless paint sprayer, and general paint prep procedures for exterior work.

Re: choosing a paint sprayer

What Spruce said plus;

1- Definately rent an airless sprayer with the extension wand.

2- Wear a full body moon suit including head cover. Yes it will be hot but think how much water weight you'll lose.

3- Prep work, prep work, prep work. Its critical to a good finished product. Prep work takes much more time than painting. I know using the sprayer is cool and exciting, but get ALL the prep work done first.

4- Pay attention to the wind when you spray. Think about your neighbors house, car, and general attitude.

5- Practice with the sprayer first. If in doubt, apply less. Most DIYers apply too much and uneven coats. Watch a bunch of videos on youtube first.

6- Use high gloss paint. The higher the gloss level, the tighter the paint surface = the longer the paint job lasts. Don't worry about your house looking all shiny, as in a few weeks it will look duller, providing you leave your house outside.

7- Did I mention the prep work?

Re: choosing a paint sprayer

You didn't mention the type of exterior you have (wood, siding, stucco, etc.) and how many stories you have.

For a one time exterior paint job, renting a spayer, if you prefer to use one, does make more sense than buying, like Spruce explained, simply because a very good and reliable machine costs hundreds of dollars and needs a lot of cleaning and maintenance. Then sitting idle in the garage it deteriorates and depreciates fast.

And as far as the work itself, follow Spruce's and Houston's steps. Houston is right about stressing the prep work. It's 90% of the job.

But let me add this: for a one time job, and for being unfamiliar with sprayers, why not use a brush and a roller with a rough nap?

That's what I would prefer to do. It might take a little longer and maybe more paint, but you will have more control, no fumes to deal with, no over spray, less cleaning, less accidents.

I average 4-5 exterior paint jobs a year, and I don't own a sprayer, I don't want to rent one either, because chances are that the rented sprayer will be in poor condition.

Just new best quality brushes and naps for each job. No cleaning, no mess. My "investment" is minimal. The results are great.

A. Spruce
Re: choosing a paint sprayer
dj1 wrote:

I don't want to rent one either, because chances are that the rented sprayer will be in poor condition.

I've never run into a bad sprayer, but then I also only rent from reputable dealers not the "I'z gotz ekwipment" barn down the street. I have run into a few dirty airless sprayers, though, and that's a bit of an irritant. The way to prevent this is to learn from my mistake and make them fire up the airless while you're still at the shop. If it's clean, you're good to go. you can also see how the spray pattern on the tip is and whether they need to give you a new tip too. Again, reputable dealers usually stay on top of their equipment.

Re: choosing a paint sprayer

I own my own sprayer. While it sets idle most of the time, when you need it,its worth every penny.

A. Spruce
Re: choosing a paint sprayer
HoustonRemodeler wrote:

I own my own sprayer. While it sets idle most of the time, when you need it,its worth every penny.

I second this as well, but for a DIY'r who will use it once or twice in a lifetime, rentals are the best bet. Doing it by had as kj suggests is also an option, but not one I personally would recommend or do myself. Who wants to be stuck painting something any longer than they have to? ;):D

Re: choosing a paint sprayer

Spruce -

Maybe you're lucky to have a tool and equipment rental store that keeps everything in tip top condition. But I'm not.

One time I rented a Bobcat. On the first day - flat tire. Waited 3 hours for them to come and replace the wheel. On the second day - another flat tire. No luck. I opted for the human backhoes - three amigos, and we finished the job in no time.

Another time, I rented a tiller. We fired it up at the rental place - worked OK. Took it to the job site - it quit after 30 minutes. No luck. I opted for the human backhoe again, and one amigo did finish the job in no time.

My time lost is my loss.

A. Spruce
Re: choosing a paint sprayer

Sounds like you are stuck with the "I'z gotz ekwipment" barn. I've got those around here too, but I opt for the name brand dealers who are now national, such as US Rents, National Rents, etc. I've rented from the "equipment barn" too, and they usually have bought the old, worn out stuff from the big boys and try to eek out a few more rentals out of them before they scrap them. On occasion when nothing else was available I've used the equipment barn myself, and you're right, usually nothing but trouble from their poorly maintained, worn out junk.

Re: choosing a paint sprayer

Quite frankly, for a homeowner who has never used an airless sprayer before and will not use the machine more than once every few years, I would not invest the time or money in buying/renting a sprayer or learning how to use it efficiently. For a decent Graco or Titan sprayer which can support
the .017 tip neccesary to spray heavy bodied paints without thinning, the cost begins around $400. A similar rental machine will run around $70 per day.

Further when one considers the time neccessary to mask off all those areas against overspray. the net savings in time in not all that great. Also, in my opinion, spraying without back brushing is inferior to old fashioned rolling and brushing. Do you seriously think the sprayer gets such areas as the under lip of clapboard siding or bridge over minor flaws where the brush would force paint into the inperfection?

I guess it is a somewhat regional thing. Back in Chicago, airless' were seldom seen being used on existing housing. Here in Portland, Oregon, no one seems to know what a brush is for! One possible reason is that eaves are never boxed in here, but left open, a rarity in Chicago. These areas are tedious to brush.

I am not against spraying under the proper the circumstances. I owned Graco airless equipment, but used it seldom. I used my HVLP often for fine woodwork and cabinetry.

As to paint: If you consult Consumers Reports, you will find that the major national brands do not rate all that well, but at least they're expensive! :)

Here in Portland, I elected to roll and brush my Hardie Plank sided ranch house. It did take several hours to go around 180 feet of open eaves and another several hours to roll and brush the siding. The eaves are white and the siding is a strong tan color. Here again, for a novice, it would be difficult to spray two colors without getting overspray on the other color.

I am not sure there is a right or wrong to this question as to spraying, but there are factors upon which it is prudent to ponder.

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