Don’t Be Afraid to Spray
The basic setup, operation, and maintenance of this versatile, labor-saving tool is a lot easier than you think.
Synopsis: In this article, professional painter Philip Hansell of Hansell Painting in Durham, N.C., walks readers through the steps of using an airless sprayer. He discusses how to choose the right sprayer model and to maintain it so that it lasts a long time. A sidebar on airless sprayer tips discusses how to choose the right tip and how to know when it’s time to replace one. A second sidebar discusses the pros and cons of the consumer-grade airless sprayers that are available through online retailers and at home centers. Photos illustrate the processes of using the sprayer and cleaning it after you’re done.
During the more than 20 years I’ve been a painter, I’ve used an airless sprayer to apply thousands of gallons of paints and coatings of all types. Compared to brushing and rolling, spraying saves time on both interior and exterior projects, lays down a perfect coat of paint, and has helped my company build a reputation for high-quality work.
For a novice, using an airless sprayer conjures thoughts of a huge mess, unreasonably long cleanup, and a poor finish, but using a sprayer efficiently and with minimal mess is not that hard. It just takes somebody more experienced to walk you through the process of how to set up, operate, and maintain an airless sprayer to produce a smooth finish. With these lessons in mind, there is no reason to keep from spraying on your next painting project.
Although my crew and I also have HVLP (high-volume, low-pressure) and air-assisted sprayers, we mostly use airless sprayers because of their speed, the wide range of coatings they can apply, and their reliability. Airless sprayers pressurize the paint with a pump that forces it through the hose until it’s atomized by the spray tip…