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How To Use a Paint Sprayer Indoors

A man using a paint sprayer indoors to paint a wall

Table of Contents

Paintbrushes and rollers are the traditional go-to when we consider starting a new home improvement task, whether it be cabinets, floors, doors, bathrooms, or baseboards.

However, these traditional methods can be very tiring and cause your arms to ache and, in some instances, strain your back.

Thankfully, paint sprayers were introduced to make our lives a little easier. Are you ready to kick it up a notch by using a paint sprayer indoors?

Or, if you are confident with using a paint sprayer indoors, check out our special guide on the best times to paint indoors.

A paint sprayer vs. other painting options

As with any tool, we must consider the advantages and disadvantages before attempting to use a paint sprayer indoors. Take a look at the quick view table below, which highlights the key facts:

AdvantagesDisadvantages
✅It allows fast and even application of paint, particularly over large surfaces❌When using a paint sprayer indoors, strict safety precautions must be taken
✅Allows you to access areas such as crevices where other conventional painting methods cannot reach easily❌Requires thorough work area preparation as the fine mist of paint can settle on any surface in the room, so everything needs to be covered.
✅Provides a smooth finish and doesn’t leave any blemishes such as paintbrush strokes or uneven coats 
✅It is easy to assemble and use; add the paint, adjust the nozzle, and spray away 

 Picking the Best Paint Sprayer Indoors

A man spray paint an interior door

Before you consider using a paint sprayer indoors, it’s important to know the best type of paint sprayer to use is? There are two advisable options for indoor painting, depending on the user’s preference.

High volume, low pressure (HLVP) paint sprayers:

They are reasonably priced and straightforward enough to be used by a first-time DIY painter with little training.

The high volume refers to the paint, whereas the low pressure refers to the air.

They have a separate air compressor for power and built-in cups to hold paint while working.

A cup reservoir is attached to the bottom of the gun that holds the paint. Because of its low pressure, it is excellent for detailed patterns.

As it has low pressure, it allows you to spend more time working on the details without worrying about overspray.

Cup gun sprayers are equipped with their compressors, which have a reservoir that holds approximately one quart of liquid paint.

Depending on your performing task, you may need to refill the reservoir more than once. 

Airless paint sprayers:

These consist of a pressurized pump and a piston that siphons paint through a fluid line and directs it to the spray gun. This allows it to be used with various viscosity formulas.

You can work directly from the paint can, reducing the need to fill the reservoir while painting frequently.

🔥Hot Tip: You can cover a large area quickly with an airless sprayer, but more overspray is produced.

Therefore, they are powered electrically, omitting the need for a separate air compressor.

Cart-style airless sprayers have longer hoses, which allow you to paint around the room without moving the paint sprayer. They are large and bulky and require more storage space.

How to Successfully Use a Paint Sprayer Indoors:

A man hold a paint sprayer

HLVP sprayers do their best when held perpendicular to the paint surface. It might not work well when angled up or down.

Hold the gun at a distance of about 6 to 8 inches from the wall when using an HLVP sprayer. Hold the gun at a distance of about 12 inches when using an airless sprayer.

The farther away you stand, the thinner your coat is, and the thicker your coat is, the closer you go. Too close, and you’ll produce overlapping paint, causing paint runs; too far, you’ll have thin, uneven layers.

💡Key Insight: Read the instructions on the paint sprayer manual and the paint cans to understand what you’re doing.

Thinning paint

An HLVP sprayer has a small orifice at the gun’s tip. Therefore, thinned paint is necessary to prevent the thick paint from clogging the gun.

Thinning the paint to get the right thickness is a trial-and-error process till you get the correct viscosity. Paint that is thinned out too much produces heavy overspray.

Most airless sprayers can pump paint without thinning to give a smooth finish without an orange peel. However, thinning is advisable.

Paint runs

These are drip marks on a surface caused by excess paint on a previously painted surface.

The paint will not adhere to the surface, and the paint molecules will collect and form drip marks.

Because an HLVP sprayer uses low pressure of about ten psi, it can apply a smaller amount of paint to a single point, saving time.

On the other hand, airless sprayers spray at a higher pressure than conventional sprayers- about 2000 psi.

As a result, more paint is applied to a single point for a more extended period.

Consequently, it is very easy to get paint runs if you often overlap one paint area with an airless sprayer.

The Orange Peel Effect:

If, when using a paint sprayer indoors, you don’t use the correct techniques or do not set up your equipment correctly, that’s when problems can occur.

This is a painting defect where the paint surface develops an uneven surface resembling an orange. It is caused by the application of an improper painting technique.

Incorrectly setting up your sprayer gun or spraying at a steep angle could cause orange peel. It could also be caused by the quick evaporation of the paint thinner or by applying too much paint.

Take your time to prepare for painting and while painting to achieve a good finish. Sometimes the orange surface texture can be desired and might be applied for a unique paint finish.

Using a Spray Shelter or a Paint Turntable

Spray Shelter:

Also known as an overspray shield, it allows you to use a paint sprayer indoors without getting paint everywhere. This is used primarily when painting smaller items such as furniture.

It also protects dust from landing on your painted surface while drying. If you are painting a small surface, this could come in handy.

Paint Turntable:

A paint turntable can be used hand in hand with an overspray shield to minimize the paint mess. It is used when painting smaller projects.

The item is placed on the paint turntable and painted without moving the paint sprayer. This is possible by rotating the table as you spray the paint.

How to Use a Paint Sprayer Indoors: Getting Started

The basics are covered; it is time to get practical. Any DIY enthusiast can successfully use a paint sprayer indoors with the proper steps.

Prepare the room for painting.

As you are using a paint sprayer indoors, it’s essential to prepare your work area thoroughly.
Remove any items from the room to avoid getting the mist of paint on them. You might not see this immediately, but you’ll notice them on your items as you go on with painting.

Use rosin paper or drop cloths to cover the room’s floor and hold them in place with painter’s tape. Drape them over unmovable items such as heavy furniture.

Use painter’s tape to mask off any power outlets and light switches. You can also use it to distinguish between the immediate surfaces and the painting area to keep paint from bleeding into them.

Cover windows, doors, and ceiling fans with plastic bags taping them in place. You can also cover flat surfaces like windows with newspaper.

Using a paint sprayer indoors requires in-depth safety precautions due to fumes from the paint. Open any windows for aeration and to reduce the paint mist. Place the old fan at an angle that blows out the air from the room through the window.

Paint- adjust your nozzle.

When using a paint sprayer indoors, you can employ a few painting techniques depending on the area or item you plan to paint.

Simply adjusting your paint sprayer’s gun nozzle can create different finishes.

It is possible to create vertical patterns using horizontal positions and horizontal patterns using vertical positions. On the other hand, a diagonal position produces a more angled design or rounded shape.

Overspray prevention can also be achieved by adjusting the nozzle. Orange peel can be caused by a large amount of paint sprayed from the nozzle.

Keep a damp cloth with you.

You will need to wipe the tip of the spray gun at regular intervals to remove any excess paint accumulated at the gun’s tip.

This helps prevent the sprayer from becoming clogged due to dried paint at the tip.

If no paint comes out, no matter how hard you squeeze, it is likely that the paint has dried out or that the tip has become clogged.

This can be avoided by wiping the surface with a damp cloth.

Drying

Allow the surface to dry completely, as directed on the paint can label, before removing all drop cloths or rosin paper.

Allow a few days for the room or item to dry completely before using it. However, do not leave the paint in the sprayer afterward!

Clean the paint sprayer

Since HLVP sprayers do not have removable tips, cleaning them is time-consuming. Using the proper method will keep your sprayer in good working order for your next project.

Airless sprayers are easier to clean because the solvent can be sprayed out through the nozzle to remove any remaining paint residue. Because of the high pressure, this is made simple.

FAQs

What kind of paint can you use with a paint sprayer?

Oil-based paints and stains can be applied with HLVP sprayers, but thicker paints such as varnish and latex paint must be thinned before application.

Thicker paints can be applied with airless sprayers.

What is paint overspray?

Specifically, this is paint that has been ejected from the spray gun and has gone to areas where you did not intend it to go.

If the overspray is not controlled, it can land on walls, floors, and other items. To reduce overspray, you can adjust the nozzle and spray distance.

How long does it take to prepare a room for spray painting?

To use a paint sprayer indoors, it takes less than an hour to prepare a room using tape and drape products, but the time required varies depending on the size of the space. Use the proper techniques to achieve faster coverage as you prepare to paint.

Start with the ceiling line, the walls, the windows and doors, and finally, the floor. Leave it out if you’re painting a wall, but tape off areas where paint might bleed.

Why are my paint strokes uneven?

The loading of the spray gun can cause uneven strokes.

Moving the spray gun before releasing the trigger is what this is all about.

A thin layer of paint remains on the surface when you finish painting. This can also be caused by spraying in an arc, which results in the middle layer being significantly thicker than the edges.
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